Animal Life news stories

Elephants’ ‘body awareness’ adds to increasing evidence of their intelligence
20th April 2017 | | Animal Life

Asian elephants are able to recognise their bodies as obstacles to success in problem-solving, further strengthening evidence of their intelligence and self-awareness, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

Odds that Tasmanian tigers are still alive are 1 in 1.6 trillion
20th April 2017 | | Animal Life

What are the odds that Tasmanian tigers still exist? About 1 in 1.6 trillion.

Mathematical models provide yet another good reason to think the fabled Australian species is long gone, despite occasional claims of sightings.

Key leopard population ‘crashing’, study warns
20th April 2017 | Animal Life

The leopard population in a region of South Africa once thick with the big cats is crashing, and could be wiped out within a few years, scientists warned on Wednesday.

Related: New Maps May Help Chase Down Poachers Before They Strike

What Drove Tsavo Lions to Eat People? Century-Old Mystery Solved
20th April 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

Their names were “The Ghost” and “The Darkness,” and 119 years ago, these two massive, maneless, man-eating lions hunted railway workers in the Tsavo region of Kenya. During a nine-month period in 1898, the lions killed at least 35 people and as many as 135, according to different accounts. And the question of why the lions developed a taste for human flesh remained a subject of much speculation.

Dieting causes epigenetic changes during ageing
19th April 2017 | Animal Life, Humans

Reduced food consumption extends the lifespan of many organisms, including primates. The biology behind how this is achieved, however, is not yet fully understood. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and the Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research CECAD, Cologne, Germany, as well as the Babraham Institute in Cambridge have now found that in mice, dietary restriction triggers epigenetic changes in the DNAGenes, for example, which are important for the lipid metabolism, are switched off. Dietary restriction can thus prevent the consequences of age-related changes in the so-called epigemome.

Do parasitic worms help keep arteries young?
19th April 2017 | | Animal Life, Humans

Among an indigenous group of people in the Amazon region of Bolivia, atherosclerosis is practically nonexistent, whereas it’s a common fact of life for most Americans over 60. It’s a complicated comparison, but parasitic worms seem to be part of the equation, say researchers.

First living example of giant ancient mollusc found in the wild
19th April 2017 | | Animal Life

The first known living sample of a giant, ancient mollusc that previously was known almost exclusively by its shells has been recovered from the Philippines.

Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise
18th April 2017 | | Animal Life

Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics. The study found that a species of North American flycatcher sings shorter songs at a lower range of frequencies in response to traffic noise levels.

Fish heard singing a dawn chorus just like birds
18th April 2017 | Animal Life

It really is better down where it’s wetter. First it was whale calls and now it’s low ‘foghorns’ from vocal fish.

The incredible discovery by scientists working off the deep blue waters of Australia has set imaginations ablaze.

Magnetic Maps Behind one of Nature’s Craziest Migrations
18th April 2017 | Animal Life

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s an enormous patch of seaweed that’s perplexed sailors for centuries: the Sargasso Sea. This strange place is where American and European eels go to breed. Once born, the little eels — called elvers — have to venture toward land.

We all glow together— New study shows that three quarters of deep-sea animals make their own light
18th April 2017 | | Animal Life

Ever since explorer William Beebe descended into the depths in a metal sphere in the 1930s, marine biologists have been astounded by the number and diversity of glowing animals in the ocean. Yet few studies have actually documented the numbers of glowing animals at different depths. In a new study in Scientific Reports, MBARI researchers Séverine Martini and Steve Haddock show that three quarters of the animals in Monterey Bay waters between the surface and 4,000 meters deep can produce their own light.

Ants rescue their injured
15th April 2017 | Animal Life

The African Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) are widespread south of the Sahara and are a specialised termite predator. Two to four times a day, the ants set out to hunt prey. Proceeding in long files, they raid termites at their foraging sites, killing many workers and hauling the prey back to their nest.

Ant agricultural revolution began 30 million years ago in dry, desert-like climate
15th April 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

Millions of years before humans discovered agriculture, ants were farming fungus beneath the surface of the Earth. By tracing their evolutionary history, scientists have learned about a key transition in their agricultural evolution. This transition allowed the ants to achieve higher levels of complexity in farming, rivaling the agricultural practices of humans. Scientists report that this transition likely occurred when farming ants began living in dry climates.

Penguin poo reveals how volcanic eruptions almost killed off the seabirds
15th April 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

Ardley Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, is inhabited by around 5,000 pairs of gentoo penguins. This makes it one of the largest breeding colonies for the penguin species, yet penguins on the island have had a tough time surviving.

The penguin colony was periodically wiped out by three volcanic eruptions

Waste-munching bacteria could make nuclear stores safer
14th April 2017 | | Animal Life, Earth

Let them eat waste. Bacteria could not only thrive on nuclear waste dumped underground, but may immobilise it and make it safer.

Experiments have shown that certain microbes can make use of radionuclides such as uranium and neptunium in place of oxygen. In doing so, they convert them from soluble forms to insoluble forms, making them less mobile.

Scientists Witnessed DNA Protecting Itself From Radiation
14th April 2017 | Animal Life

DNA protects itself from damage naturally, and scientists are hoping to gain insight into how the process works in order to achieve breakthrough treatments for cancer and other diseases that arise from the breakage and mutation of DNA.

Recovering lost Caribbean bats would take 8M years
14th April 2017 | | Animal Life

More than half of mammal species went extinct after human colonization in the Caribbean alone. Can nature restore the numbers of species on islands to levels that existed before human arrival—and, if so—how long would it take for nature to regain this lost mammal diversity?

Related: Endangered ibises benefit from joining egret flocks
Related: Departure of migratory birds from stopover sites is hormone-controlled

News stories covering Animal Science, bacterial life, DNA.