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Begging chicks reveal family ties

Posted on 9 Jan 2008 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

It’s one thing to give up food for a starving sibling, quite another for a stranger. The volume at which barn swallow broods beg is usually around 11 decibels. But mixed broods, containing eggs swapped between nests, reached 14 decibels. Image: mikebaird

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Lobster pain may prick diners’ consciences

Posted on 9 Nov 2007 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism, Life

It could be enough to prick the conscience of seafood chefs everywhere. Prawns, lobsters and other invertebrates may feel pain, a controversial finding that could open up the debate on animal welfare. Image: tuppus

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Exxon’s funding of polar bear research questioned

Posted on 28 Oct 2007 in Animal Behaviour, Environment, Journalism

Can scientific respectability be tarred by association? The US House Committee on Science and Technology seems to think so. It is scrutinising ExxonMobil’s motives for funding research by an astrophysicist into the impact of climate change on the polar bear population of western Hudson Bay in Canada. Image: Carol Moshier

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Lap dancers “in heat” are the ones to watch

Posted on 11 Oct 2007 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

Take a bunch of lap dancers, some lustful men and a fistful of dollars, and you have the best evidence yet for the controversial idea that women send out signals which reveal their fertile periods. Image: Robbie Biller

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Spite is a uniquely human emotion

Posted on 16 Jul 2007 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

It used to be easy to separate man from beast. Then we realised animals, too, can experience sophisticated emotions and communicate through language. But there is one thing that is beyond even our closest relatives, chimpanzees – and that is the ability to be spiteful. Image: fwooper

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Zooplankton move in time to the moon’s tune

Posted on 8 Jul 2007 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

How do ocean animals that live below the depth to which moonlight penetrates migrate in phase with the moon? Zooplankton travel up and down the water column despite remaining at or below 800 metres – moonlight penetrates no deeper than 150 metres. Image: lrargerich

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