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Tiny worm burrows may reveal when first complex animals evolved

Posted on 11 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

A set of tiny burrows could resolve a big puzzle: how complex animals evolved and spread around the world without revealing their presence. Image: Luke Parry/Russell Garwood

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Ankle fossil suggests our ancient ancestors leapt like acrobats

Posted on 9 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

For years, many biologists have argued that the common ancestor of all primates was a small animal that scampered along thin tree branches. Now a fossil discovered in France suggests the first primate might actually have been a bizarre monkey-like animal capable of acrobatic leaping. Image: Shinagawa

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It took these monkeys just 13 years to learn how to crack nuts

Posted on 4 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Archaeology, Journalism

The macaques of southern Thailand have started a new tradition. For at least a century, they have used simple stone tools to smash open shellfish on the seashore. Now the monkeys have begun using stones to crack open oil palm nuts further inland. Image: mcoughlin

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It’s not just human toddlers that are fussy eaters

Posted on 3 Apr 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Food is often in short supply, so why would a toddler or young animal refuse to eat when it is available? A full explanation is still some way away, but biologists have developed several ideas that can help to explain why. Image: Muffet

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Being friendly puts monkeys at risk in times of revolution

Posted on 5 Feb 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

Being too friendly can be costly. When a new alpha male takes over, female capuchin monkeys are more likely to lose their offspring to infanticide if they have an extensive network of social contacts than if they don’t. Image: inottawa

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Parasite turns wasp into zombie then drills through its head

Posted on 25 Jan 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

The crypt gall wasp (Bassettia pallida) is a master manipulator. It parasitises the sand live oak tree, encouraging it to form hollow galls – or “crypts” – in its woody stems. Young wasps develop inside the crypts through the second half of the year, chewing their way out to emerge as adults the following spring. Image: hoan luong

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