Lifestyle

Unique experiment explores canine ‘numerosity’

Dogs spontaneously process basic numerical quantities, using a distinct part of their brains that corresponds closely to number-responsive neural regions in humans, finds a study at Emory University. Biology Letters published the results, which suggest that a common neural mechanism has been deeply conserved across mammalian evolution. “Our work not only shows that dogs use […]

Lifestyle

Grain traits traced to ‘dark matter’ of rice genome

Domesticated rice has fatter seed grains with higher starch content than its wild rice relatives — the result of many generations of preferential seed sorting and sowing. But even though rice was the first crop to be fully sequenced, scientists have only documented a few of the genetic changes that made rice into a staple […]

Lifestyle

Birds’ seasonal migrations shift earlier as climate changes

In what the authors believe is one of the first studies to examine climate change impact on the timing of bird migration on a continental scale, researchers report that spring migrants were likely to pass certain stops earlier now than they would have 20 years ago. Also, temperature and migration timing were closely aligned, with […]

Lifestyle

The secret to a long life? For worms, a cellular recycling protein is key

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that worms live longer lives if they produce excess levels of a protein, p62, which recognizes toxic cell proteins that are tagged for destruction. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, could help uncover treatments for age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which are often caused […]

Lifestyle

Large atmospheric waves in the jet stream present risk to global food production

In a new study published today in Nature Climate Change, scientists show how specific wave patterns in the jet stream strongly increase the chance of co-occurring heatwaves in major food producing regions of Northern America, Western Europe and Asia. Their research finds that these simultaneous heatwaves significantly reduce crop production across those regions, creating the […]

Lifestyle

Post-menopausal killer whale grandmothers improve the chances of survival for their grand-calves

Post-menopausal killer whale grandmothers improve the chances of survival for their grand-calves, new research has found. The study found that grandmothers who were no longer able to reproduce had the biggest beneficial impact on the survival chances of their grand-offspring. This may be because grandmothers without calves of their own are free to focus time […]

Lifestyle

Some stress in early life extends lifespan, research in roundworms shows

Some stress at a young age could actually lead to a longer life, new research shows. University of Michigan researchers have discovered that oxidative stress experienced early in life increases subsequent stress resistance later in life. Oxidative stress happens when cells produce more oxidants and free radicals than they can deal with. It’s part of […]

Lifestyle

How does language emerge? New study provides insights into the first steps

How did the almost 6000 languages of the world come into being? Researchers from the Leipzig Research Centre for Early Childhood Development at Leipzig University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have tried to simulate the process of developing a new communication system in an experiment — with surprising results: even preschool children […]

Lifestyle

Global levels of biodiversity could be lower than we think, new study warns

Biodiversity across the globe could be in a worse state than previously thought as current biodiversity assessments fail to take into account the long-lasting impact of abrupt land changes, a new study has warned. The study by PhD graduate Dr Martin Jung, Senior Lecturer in Geography Dr Pedram Rowhani and Professor of Conservation Science Jörn […]

Lifestyle

First recording of a blue whale’s heart rate

Encased in a neon orange plastic shell, a collection of electronic sensors bobbed along the surface of the Monterey Bay, waiting to be retrieved by Stanford University researchers. A lunchbox-sized speck in the vast waters, it held cargo of outsized importance: the first-ever recording of a blue whale’s heart rate. This device was fresh off […]