Largest quantitative study of howling, and first to use machine learning, defines different howl types and finds that wolves use these types more or less depending on their species, resembling a howling dialect. Researchers say findings could help conservation efforts and shed light on the earliest evolution of our own use of language.
New research shows wild Aegean wall lizards found on Greek islands choose to sit on rocks that better match their individual colouring. This improves camouflage and so reduces the risk of being attacked by birds when they sit out in the open, raising the intriguing question of how the lizards know what colour they are.
Latest research reveals why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls – even larger climbers would require unmanageably large sticky footpads. Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40% of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spider-Man, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives.
Research finds independent genetic switches control different splotches of colour and pattern on Heliconius butterfly wings, and that these switches have been shared between species over millions of years, becoming “jumbled up” to create new and diverse wing displays.
In 2016, Cambridge University Library will celebrate 600 years as one of the world's greatest libraries with a spectacular exhibition of priceless treasures – and a second show throwing light on its more weird and wonderful collections.
Fumiya Iida (Department of Engineering) discusses the "mother" robot he has built with his colleagues, and why reacting to developments in robotics with undue fear could stifle research and creativity.
New digital techniques have allowed researchers to predict structural evolution of the skull in the lineage of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, in an effort to fill in blanks in the fossil record, and provide the first 3D rendering of their last common ancestor. The study suggests populations that led to the lineage split were older than previously thought.
David Norman (Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences) discusses the fossil discoveries that really made a difference to science.
Jacob Dunn (Division of Biological Anthropology) discusses why sperm are the most diverse cells found among animals.
Ever wondered if a fly can ride a bicycle, or whether you could survive only on water? A new website on evolution, created by Cambridge scientists and featuring contributions from luminaries including Sir David Attenborough, has some intriguing answers.