Why mole rats are more flexible than we previously thought

30 Aug 2016

One of the most interesting facts about mole rats – that, as with ants and termites, individuals specialise in particular tasks throughout their lives – turns out to be wrong. Instead, a new study led by the University of Cambridge shows that individuals perform different roles at different ages and that age rather than caste membership accounts for contrasts in their behaviour.

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How humans and wild birds collaborate to get precious resources of honey and wax

22 Jul 2016

By following honeyguides, a species of bird, people in Africa are able to locate bees’ nests to harvest honey.  Research now reveals that humans use special calls to solicit the help of honeyguides and that honeyguides actively recruit appropriate human partners. This relationship is a rare example of cooperation between humans and free-living animals.

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Genetic switch that turned moths black also colours butterflies

02 Jun 2016

Heliconius butterflies have evolved bright yellow colours to deter predators, while peppered moths famously turned black to hide from birds. A new study reveals that the same gene causes both, raising fascinating questions about how evolution by natural selection occurs in these species.

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Genes discovered that enable birds to produce the colour red

20 May 2016

Latest research suggests a new mechanism for how sexual displays of red beaks and plumage might be ‘honest signals’ of mate quality, as genes that convert yellow dietary pigments into red share cofactors with enzymes that aid detoxification – hinting that redness is a genetic sign of the ability to better metabolise harmful substances.

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