A new study of TV-watching great tits reveals how they learn through observation. Social interactions within a predator species can have “evolutionary consequences” for potential prey – such as the conspicuous warning colours of insects like ladybirds.
Latest findings support the theory that teeth in the animal kingdom evolved from the jagged scales of ancient fish, the remnants of which can be seen today embedded in the skin of sharks and skate.
Fish embryo study indicates that the last common ancestor of vertebrates was a complex animal complete with gills – overturning prior scientific understanding and complementing recent fossil finds. The work places gill evolution concurrent with shift to self-propulsion in our earliest ancestors.
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.
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.
Over the last fifty years, long-term studies following individual animals over entire lifespans have allowed insight into the evolutionary influence of social behaviour – finally fulfilling the holistic approach to evolution first suggested by Darwin, argues the author of a new milestone work on mammal societies.
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.
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.
Populations of hunter-gatherers weathered Ice Age in apparent isolation in Caucasus mountain region for millennia, later mixing with other ancestral populations, from which emerged the Yamnaya culture that would bring this Caucasus hunter-gatherer lineage to Western Europe.
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.