Animal Life news stories

Australian termites followed similar evolutionary path to humans, study finds
26th February 2017 | theguardian.com | Animal Life

A new paper shows that the ancient ancestors of termites found in northern Australia crossed vast distances over oceans, and then followed an evolutionary path similar to humans, migrating from tree-tops to the ground.

Ant odd couple work together to build and keep a healthy nest
26th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Animal Life

One is a massive black ant, the other is a tiny, only distantly related, brown ant. But together they form a perfect team to build and guard a shared nest.

This insect odd couple is found in the forests of the Lamto Ecological Reserve in Ivory Coast.

These tiny beetles have evolved to ride ants like horses
26th February 2017 arstechnica.com | Animal Life

When army ants stream into the jungles of Costa Rica, they leave death and destruction in their wake. These nomadic group predators eat everything from millipedes to other ants, and they even raid wasps’ nests for eggs and larvae.


Related: Ants use Sun and memories to navigate

Dormouse might be first tree-climbing mammal shown to echolocate
26th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Animal Life

A rare rodent isn’t just blind as a bat: it may navigate like one too. The tree-climbing Vietnamese pygmy dormouse seems to make ultrasonic calls to guide its motion. If that’s confirmed, it would be the first arboreal mammal known to use echolocation.

Apart from bats, dolphins, whales, rats and shrews – which use calls in the audible range – few mammals echolocate as vision is usually more efficient.

A New Age of Discovery Is Happening Right Now in the Remote Forests of Suriname
26th February 2017 | smithsonianmag.com | Animal Life

Today’s explorers and scientists are identifying new species at a rate that would’ve amazed Charles Darwin

It’s sunset on an unnamed mountain, in an unexplored corner of one of the greenest countries on earth. We’ve arrived by helicopter across a rumpled landscape of swamps and hills, and it feels as if we’re the first humans ever to pass the night here.

Lemur facial recognition tool developed
25th February 2017 | bbc.com | Animal Life, Tech

A team of researchers has developed a facial recognition system that can identify individual lemurs in the wild with high levels of accuracy.

The plan is to use the technology to help radically improve the way the endangered species is tracked.

Howler monkeys may owe their color vision to leaf hue
25th February 2017 | sciencenews.org | Animal Life

A taste for reddish young leaves might have pushed howler monkeys toward full-spectrum color vision. The ability to tell red from green could have helped howlers pick out the more nutritious, younger leaves, researchers reported February 19 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That’s a skill their insect-eating close relatives probably didn’t need.

Low-status chimps revealed as trendsetters
25th February 2017 | sciencenews.org | Animal Life

Chimps with little social status influence their comrades’ behavior to a surprising extent, a new study suggests.

In groups of captive chimps, a method for snagging food from a box spread among many individuals who saw a low-ranking female peer demonstrate the technique, say primatologist Stuart Watson of the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, and colleagues.

Study finds that heel-down posture in great apes and humans confers a fighting advantage
25th February 2017 phys.org | Animal Life, Humans

Walking on our heels, a feature that separates great apes, including humans, from other primates, confers advantages in fighting, according to a new University of Utah study


Related: Football headers ‘linked to brain damage’

Your dog can remember more than you think
22nd February 2017 phys.org | Animal Life

Any dog owner will tell you how smart they think their dog is. What we usually think of as smartness in dogs is measured or observed in their external behaviour. Being able to respond to commands, for example, or remember the location of a hidden toy.

Rhesus monkeys pass the self-awareness test by examining their genitals and face in a mirror
22nd February 2017 | wired.co.uk | Animal Life

What do humans, great apes, orcas, bottlenose dolphins, Asian elephants and Eurasian magpies have in common? They can all, unlike all other animals studied, recognise themselves in a mirror. Now, neuroscientists are claiming rhesus monkeys should join that exclusive self-aware club. But, there’s a caveat: the monkeys have to be trained.

Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise
22nd February 2017 | npr.org | Animal Life

If you think there are more dangerous infectious diseases than ever, you’re right. One big reason: pushing animals like this one out of their homes.

Pygmy elephants. Monkeys with noses the size of beer cans. And a deer so small you could cradle it like a baby.

New Way to Fight Superbugs Found in Noxious Weed
22nd February 2017 news.nationalgeographic.com | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

The invasive Brazilian peppertree contains a substance that keeps drug-resistant bacteria from producing their deadly toxins.


Related: New antibiotic from bacteria found on Kenyan ant could help beat MRSA

Exactly how bad is antibiotic resistance right now?
22nd February 2017 | popsci.com | Animal Life

We are starting to see the kind of incurable infection that scientists have warned us about for years. In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that a woman in Nevada had died from an infection resistant to every available antibiotic.

Vicious microbial warfare helps bacteria evolve cooperation
22nd February 2017 | newscientist.com | Animal Life

Cooperation comes more easily when you throw violent death into the mix. This principle seems to be behind how cooperation evolved in bacteria, and it might apply to plants and animals as well.

To digest food, build biofilms and perform other necessities of life, many bacteria have to secrete enzymes and other chemicals into the environment. Nearby cells can then reap the benefits, too.

Woolly mammoth on verge of resurrection, scientists reveal
20th February 2017 | theguardian.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Tech

The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering.

The scientist leading the “de-extinction” effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant.

Could This Tiny Drone Covered in Sticky Goop Do the Work of Bees?
20th February 2017 | smithsonianmag.com | Animal Life, Tech

With the mass bee extinction showing no signs of stopping—we lost 44 percent of all bee colonies last year—efforts to save the bees might need some supplementation.

Eijiro Miyako, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, has crafted what he thinks might be a temporary solution

News stories covering Animal Science, bacterial life, DNA.