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How some animals accelerate faster than all others

Posted on 19 Sep 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

The smashing mantis shrimp predatory attacks are so fast, and so brief, that their exact speed went unappreciated by scientists until about 15 years ago. And what does the mantis shrimp do with its astonishingly quick weapons? It uses them to attack an animal virtually synonymous with sluggishness: a snail. Image: Christian Gloor (mostly) underwater photographer

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Tap-dancing songbirds drum with their feet to attract mates

Posted on 19 Sep 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

It is not just about speed. The only songbird known to perform a rapid tap dance during courtship makes more noise with its feet during its routines than at other times. Image: acornjfl

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The strange reason why hagfish tie themselves into knots

Posted on 9 Sep 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Journalism

Hagfish do not actually have bony vertebrae in their backs: they are literally spineless. They have several hearts, and at least twice as much blood in their bodies as other fish. On top of that, they have only half a jaw, yet they can still tear through tough flesh. And they can tie themselves in knots. Image: kinskarije

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Secrets of how primates can live at extreme altitude revealed

Posted on 23 Aug 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Conservation, Evolution, Journalism

It can be lonely at the top. Snub-nosed monkeys live at a higher altitude than any other non-human primate – but they are also among the rarest of all primates. Image: jackhynes

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Well-travelled chimps more likely to pick up tools and innovate

Posted on 19 Jul 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

Spot a tool-using chimpanzee in Uganda’s Budongo Forest, and you could probably say it’s come a long way – in more ways than one. Chimps here are more likely to make use of tools to gather food if they have used up precious energy reserves travelling in the previous week. Image: feverblue

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Monkey stone tools in Brazil pre-date discovery of Americas

Posted on 11 Jul 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Archaeology, Journalism

They are literally a tough nut to crack. To enjoy tasty cashews you first have to figure out a way to remove the shells, which contain a caustic chemical. The bearded capuchin monkeys of Brazil may have been up to the task for centuries – and watching them work could even have taught us how to eat cashew nuts safely. Image: Dick Knight

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