Languages still a major barrier to global science, new research finds

29 Dec 2016

Over a third of new conservation science documents published annually are in non-English languages, despite assumption of English as scientific ‘lingua franca’. Researchers find examples of important science missed at international level, and practitioners struggling to access new knowledge, as a result of language barriers.

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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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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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Baboons watch neighbours for clues about food, but can end up in queues

20 Apr 2016

Baboons learn about food locations socially through monitoring the behaviour of those around them. While proximity to others is the key to acquiring information, research shows that accessing food depends on the complex hierarchies of a baboon troop, and those lower down the pecking order can end up queuing for leftovers.

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Predators might not be dazzled by stripes

12 Aug 2015

New research using computer games suggests that stripes might not offer the ‘motion dazzle’ protection thought to have evolved in animals such as Zebra and consequently inspired ship camouflage during both World Wars.    

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