Animal Life news stories

Million-year-old mammoth genomes shatter record for oldest ancient DNA
18th February 2021 | nature.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

Permafrost-preserved teeth, up to 1.6 million years old, identify a new kind of mammoth in Siberia.

Extinction of North America’s largest animals likely caused by ancient climate change
18th February 2021 | independent.co.uk | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

Earlier studies have suggested that growing numbers of “big-game” hunting humans in the Americas some 14,000 years ago led to large mammals being wiped out.

Image from: Merikanto (Wiki Commons)

Fungus creates fake fragrant flowers to fool bees
17th February 2021 | theguardian.com | Animal Life, Earth

Fungi have been discovered making fake flowers that look and even smell like the real thing, fooling bees and other pollinating insects into visiting them.

Scientists believe they have discovered where asteroid which wiped out dinosaurs came from
17th February 2021 news.sky.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

A “sungrazed” comet may be responsible for the extinction event around 66 million years ago.

A Peculiar Side Effect of Prozac: Fish Swimming in Our Waste Lose Their Individuality
15th February 2021 | sciencealert.com | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

The fish on antidepressants seemed to lose their capability for individuality as a result of their exposure, with variations in behaviour between separate animals diminishing as the dose got stronger.

Life found beneath Antarctic ice sheet ‘shouldn’t be there’
15th February 2021 | newscientist.com | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

The inadvertent discovery of sea life on a boulder beneath an Antarctic ice shelf challenges our understanding of how organisms can live in environments far from sunlight, according to a team of biologists.

Birds can ‘read’ the Earth’s magnetic signature well enough to get back on course
12th February 2021 phys.org | Animal Life, Earth

Birdwatchers get very excited when a ‘rare’ migratory bird makes landfall having been blown off-course and flown beyond its normal range. But these are rare for a reason; most birds that have made the journey before they are able to correct for large displacements and find their final destination.

Ancient Queensland fish ‘close living relative’ to humans, scientists believe
12th February 2021 | abc.net.au | Ancient, Animal Life, Humans

Researchers say the Australian lungfish, native to the Burnett and Mary Rivers, is the closest living fish relative to humans and other land dwellers.

Pigs can be trained to use computer joysticks, say researchers
11th February 2021 | theguardian.com | Animal Life, Humans

They’ve long been thought of as smarter than your average animal, but now researchers claim they have taught pigs to use a joystick, suggesting they are even cleverer than previously thought.

Ancient rivers reveal multiple Sahara Desert greenings
30th January 2021 phys.org | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth, Humans

Large parts of the Sahara Desert were green thousands of years ago, evidenced by prehistoric engravings in the desert of giraffes, crocodiles and a stone-age cave painting of humans swimming.

Ice age Siberian hunters may have domesticated dogs 23,000 years ago
29th January 2021 | sciencemag.org | Ancient, Animal Life, Humans

Sometime toward the end of the last ice age, a group of humans armed with stone-tipped spears stalked their prey in the bitter cold of northeastern Siberia, tracking bison and woolly mammoths across a vast, grassy landscape.

Giant sand worm discovery proves truth is stranger than fiction
22nd January 2021 | eurekalert.org | Ancient, Animal Life, Weird

Simon Fraser University researchers have found evidence that large ambush-predatory worms–some as long as two metres–roamed the ocean floor near Taiwan over 20 million years ago.

Natural wonder: Wing ‘clap’ solves mystery of butterfly flight
21st January 2021 | bbc.co.uk | Animal Life, Humans

The fluttering flight patterns of butterflies have long inspired poets but baffled scientists.

Animal magnetism is real
15th January 2021 cosmosmagazine.com | Animal Life

Franz Mesmer might have been on to something when he described animal magnetism as an invisible force possessed by all living things – at least, that seems to be the case with these snakes.

Dire wolves were real—and even stranger than we thought
14th January 2021 | nationalgeographic.com | Ancient, Animal Life

A study of extinct dire wolf DNA reveals surprises, including that the carnivores, made famous as fictional pets in Game of Thrones, weren’t closely related to wolves.

Image from: Flickr: Dire Wolf Skeleton (Wiki Commons)

45,500-year-old rock painting of pigs in Indonesia is the oldest-known art depicting real, recognisable objects
14th January 2021 | abc.net.au | Ancient, Animal Life, Humans

More than 45,500 years ago, perched on a ledge at the back of an Indonesian cave, an artist was at work.

News stories covering Animal Science, bacterial life, DNA.