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Most comprehensive wiring diagram of the mammalian brain to date
Researchers have published the first comprehensive, large-scale data set on how the brain of a mammal is wired, providing a groundbreaking data resource and fresh insights into how the nervous system processes information. Their landmark paper describes the publicly available Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas and demonstrates the exciting knowledge that can be gleaned from this valuable resource.
Deforestation of sandy soils a greater climate threat
A new study finds that tree removal has far greater consequences for climate change in some soils than in others, a finding that could provide key insights into which ecosystems should be managed with extra care. In a comprehensive analysis of soil collected from 11 distinct U.S. regions, from Hawaii to northern Alaska, researchers found that the extent to which deforestation disturbs underground microbial communities that regulate the loss of carbon into the atmosphere depends almost ...
Monkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier study
The latest results from a 25-year study of diet and aging in monkeys shows a significant reduction in mortality and in age-associated diseases among those with calorie-restricted diets. The study, begun in 1989, is one of two ongoing, long-term U.S. efforts to examine the effects of a reduced-calorie diet on nonhuman primates.
Ancient African cattle first domesticated in Middle East, study reveals
The genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world has been completed by a group of researchers. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the 'Fertile Crescent,' a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.
Foraging bats can warn each other away from their dinners
A new call that some bats use to tell other foraging bats to 'back off' from bugs they've claimed for themselves has been identified by scientists. This sound, called a 'frequency-modulated bout,' warns other bats away from prey. The researchers are first to report this ultrasonic social call produced exclusively by flying, foraging male big brown bats, in a new article.
Students on field course bag new spider species
As a spin-off of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal. The new species Crassignatha danaugirangensis was named after the field center's idyllic setting at the Danau Girang oxbow lake.
Invasive species in waterways on rise due to climate change
One of the most serious threats to global biodiversity and the leisure and tourism industries is set to increase with climate change according to new research. Researchers have found that certain invasive weeds, which have previously been killed off by low winter temperatures, are set to thrive as global temperatures increase.
Crows understand water displacement at the level of a small child: Show causal understanding of a 5- to 7-year-old child
New Caledonian crows may understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5- to 7-year-old child. Understanding causal relationships between actions is a key feature of human cognition. However, the extent to which non-human animals are capable of understanding causal relationships is not well understood. Scientists used the Aesop's fable riddle -- in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out-of reach-reward ...
Natural history must reclaim its place, experts say
Scientists argue that the study of natural history has waned in recent decades in developed countries. Declining course requirements and support for herbaria are among the documented evidence. Yet costly mistakes in policy relating to natural resources, agriculture, and health might have been avoided by paying attention to organisms' natural history, and future policies will be improved if natural history knowledge is used and expanded. New technologies offer ways to increase natural history ...
Male Eurasian jays know that their female partners’ desires can differ from their own
Knowing what another person wants is not a trivial issue, particularly when the other's desires are different from our own. The ability to disengage from our own desire to cater to someone else's wishes is thought to be a unique feature of human cognition. New research challenges this assumption. Despite wanting something different to eat, male Eurasian jays can disengage from their own current desire in order to feed the female what she wants even when her desires are different to his.