Frequent errors in news reports likely contribute to the animals’ undeserved bad reputation Spiders are pretty remarkable. They live almost everywhere, from rainforests to deserts. Some even spend most of their lives underwater. They are smarter than you think, with some able to make plans and count. Scientists think they might even dream when theyContinue reading “News stories about spiders are unfairly negative – here’s how to tell the truth about spiders”
Category Archives: Amazing Animal Adaptations
Uncovering secrets of the glasswing butterfly’s see-through wings
Most butterflies sport colourful, eye-catching wings. But some species flit about using mostly transparent wings. Researchers have now uncovered the tricks that one of these — the glasswing butterfly (Greta oto) — uses to hide in plain sight.
Researchers viewed the wings of these Central American butterflies under the microscope. There they spied sparse, spindly scales overlaying a see-through wing membrane. That membrane also has antireflective properties. It’s that combo that makes these insects so stealthy.
Do humans really need other species?
Do humans really need other species? Yes! millions of organisms are needed to keep ecosystems in balance and ensure everyone can survive. Most importantly, #research shows other species make us happy! Research shows that people are healthier and more content when they are around other species of plants and animals. They need to experience the sights, sounds, smells, feel and taste of other organisms for mental and physical health. This drive is called “biophilia,” meaning love of living things. #Boycott4Wildlife
Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos
Indonesia manage to conserve two of the world’s five rhinoceros species. Both the Javan rhino Rhinoceros sondaicus and the Sumatran rhino Dicerorhinus sumatrensis still exist today, uniquely only in the country. Extractive industries and large-scale palm oil plantations have transformed the landscape of Sumatra. As a result, the Sumatran rhino’s populations were driven to theContinue reading “Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos”
What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities
Bob Jacobs, Colorado College Conservationists have designated August 12 as World Elephant Day to raise awareness about conserving these majestic animals. Elephants have many engaging features, from their incredibly dexterous trunks to their memory abilities and complex social lives. But there is much less discussion of their brains, even though it stands to reason thatContinue reading “What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities”
Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild
The reintroduction of pangolins has not been easy. But it’s vital to prevent this shy, mysterious creature from being lost forever. Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic. Pangolins are also one of the world’s most threatened species butContinue reading “Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild”
Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse
Most people probably think that the rainforest of central and west Africa, the second largest in the world, has been around for millions of years. However recent research suggests that it is mostly just 2,000 or so years old. The forest reached roughly its modern state following five centuries of regeneration after it was massivelyContinue reading “Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse”
How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?
With only 74 individuals left, the remarkable and beautiful Javan Rhino is on the brink of extinction and can be found on one of the most densely populated islands in the world – Java. Boycotting palm oil is how you can help them. Sunarto, Universitas Indonesia The Javan rhino was once found throughout many partsContinue reading “How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?”
The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit
From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing how and why birds use vocal mimicry to further their own interests, as we discuss in Biological Reviews. Anastasia Dalziell, Cornell UniversityContinue reading “The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit”
A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants
Ask anyone the identity of the world’s most famed turtles, and the answer is likely to be those legendary heroes in a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninjas. Since first appearing in comic book form in 1984, the pizza-eating, nunchuk-wielding characters have shown the world the tougher side of turtles. Louise Pryke, University of Sydney PartContinue reading “A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants”
Bonobo mothers meddle in their sons’ sex lives – making them three times more likely to father children
New research shows that for bonobos, sex really is often a family affair. What’s more, rather than being an embarrassing hindrance, motherly presence greatly benefits bonobo sons during the deed. Ben Garrod, University of East Anglia Along with chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus) are our closest living relatives. Restricted to a 500,000 km² thickly-forestedContinue reading “Bonobo mothers meddle in their sons’ sex lives – making them three times more likely to father children”
Do chimpanzees and orangutans really have midlife crises?
Knowing that chimpanzees and orangutans have personalities, feel emotions and are “almost human” comes as no surprise to most people. However, linking the term “midlife crisis” to chimpanzees and orangutans seems to be somewhat shocking and controversial as we’ve seen from the flurry of interest produced by a paper published this week. Carla Litchfield, UniversityContinue reading “Do chimpanzees and orangutans really have midlife crises?”
Bonobos can inspire us to make our democracies more peaceful
Bonobos, sometimes called the “forgotten ape” due to their recent discovery and small numbers, titillate the democrat’s imagination. Before the 1970s, certain primatologists thought bonobos were strange chimpanzees because females govern in this primate society. Frans de Waal, the primatologist and popular writer, has done much to explain the fascinating lives of these “peace-loving apes”Continue reading “Bonobos can inspire us to make our democracies more peaceful”
Contagious yawns show social ties in humans and bonobos
Penny Orbell, The Conversation Most of us have experienced the overwhelming urge to yawn in response to another person yawning – but we’re not the only species to do this. Research published in PeerJ today shows bonobos – our closest evolutionary cousins – also experience “yawn contagion”, and, as in humans, the effect is influencedContinue reading “Contagious yawns show social ties in humans and bonobos”
How forest elephants move depends on water, humans, and also their personality
African forest elephants roam the dense rainforests of West and Central Africa where they subsist largely on a diet of fruit. They shape forests by dispersing fruit and seeds, browsing, and creating an extensive trail network. John Poulsen, Duke University and Christopher Beirne, University of British Columbia But because it’s difficult to track animals inContinue reading “How forest elephants move depends on water, humans, and also their personality”
The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher: A flurry of feathers
September 3rd is Amazon Rainforest Day and The Nature Nook/Palm Oil Detective would like to celebrate. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is a member of a family of birds called the tyrant flycatchers, which occur throughout North and South America. This is the biggest family of birds in the world, with more than 400 species. AsContinue reading “The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher: A flurry of feathers”
Meet Chimbu, the blue-eyed, bear-eared tree kangaroo
Tree kangaroos are so unusual that when Europeans first encountered them in Australia in 1872, they were sceptical. Who would believe a kangaroo could climb a tree? The Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a threatened species found in forests in the Central Cordillera mountain ranges of Papua New Guinea, from sea level to high in theContinue reading “Meet Chimbu, the blue-eyed, bear-eared tree kangaroo”
Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours
Gisela Kaplan, University of New England Birds can certainly get very angry – and the owner of a galah or corella would be well advised not to get near this bird when the head feathers are raised — but birds can be joyful and playful, can get depressed and, as studies have shown, a neglectfulContinue reading “Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours”
For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills
Carla Litchfield, University of South Australia Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos at sanctuaries don’t have that kind of upbringing. Can they still learn the skills they need to getContinue reading “For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills”
A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species
Jim Radford, Deakin University Our planet is on the precipice of a sixth mass extinction event. But unlike the five previous mass extinctions, this one is man-made: a global biodiversity crisis in which species are disappearing three to 12 times faster than the “normal” rate of extinction. Australia is not immune from this crisis. InContinue reading “A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species”