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.
David Norman (Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences) discusses how palaeontologists can interpret fossil footprints to find clues as to whether dinosaurs performed dance-like mating rituals.
New research shows beetles that received no care as larvae were less effective at raising a large brood as parents. Males paired with ‘low quality’ females - those that received no care as larvae - paid the price by dying younger, researchers found.
The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, N is for Naked Mole-Rats, which won't win any beauty contests, but can live for 30 years and may be able to help in the development of new therapies for chronic pain.
Juvenile zebra finches that experience high stress levels will ignore how their own parents forage and instead learn such skills from other, unrelated adults. This may help young birds avoid inheriting a poor skillset from parents – the likely natural cause of their stress – and becoming trapped by a “bad start in life”.
The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, E is for Elephant: an animal that takes pride of place in the Parker Library's manuscripts, is frequently in conflict with people in Thailand and parts of Africa, and is the focus of some important conservation projects.
Latest research shows that, within large troops, baboons spend more time grooming those with similar dominance rank and boldness to themselves. Preferring such grooming partners may prevent new skills and knowledge being transmitted around the wider troop, say researchers.
New research on a highly social fish shows that those reared in larger social groups from the earliest stage of life develop increased social skills and a brain shape, or ‘neuroplasticity’, which lingers into the later life of the fish.
The dottyback changes its colour to match surrounding damselfish species, enabling it to counter the defences of its damselfish prey by disguising itself as a harmless part of their community, then swoop in to hunt their young.