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  • It takes more than two to tango: Microbial communities influence animal sex and reproduction
    on January 17, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    It is an awkward idea, but a couple's ability to have kids may partly depend on who else is present. The reproductive tracts of males and females contain whole communities of micro-organisms. These microbes can have considerable impact on (animal) fertility and reproduction. They may even lead to new species.

  • Self-assembled artificial microtubules developed
    on January 17, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Simple LEGO bricks can be assembled to more complicated structures, which can be further associated into a wide variety of complex architectures, from automobiles, rockets, and ships to gigantic castles and amusement parks. Such an event of multi-step assembly, so-called 'hierarchical self-assembly', also happens in living organisms.

  • In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid -- not volcanoes
    on January 16, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid.

  • Fossil is the oldest-known scorpion
    on January 16, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Scientists studying fossils collected 35 years ago have identified them as the oldest-known scorpion species, a prehistoric animal from about 437 million years ago. The researchers found that the animal likely had the capacity to breathe in both ancient oceans and on land.

  • Scientists unexpectedly witness wolf puppies play fetch
    on January 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    When it comes to playing a game of fetch, many dogs are naturals. But now, researchers report that the remarkable ability to interpret human social communicative cues that enables a dog to go for a ball and then bring it back also exists in wolves.

  • The mysterious, legendary giant squid's genome is revealed
    on January 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Important clues about the anatomy and evolution of the mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are revealed through publication of its full genome sequence.

  • Discovery reveals how remora fishes know when to hitch a ride aboard their hosts
    on January 15, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Researchers have detailed the discovery of a tactile-sensory system stowed within the suction disc of remora, believed to enable the fish to acutely sense contact pressure with host surfaces and gauge ocean forces in order to determine when to initiate their attachment, as well as adjust their hold on hosts while traversing long distances.

  • New feathered dinosaur shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds
    on January 15, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered in China. The one-of-a-kind specimen preserves feathers and bones that provide new information about how dinosaurs grew and how they differed from birds.

  • Biologists make living sperm glow
    on January 15, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    By applying a novel method, biologists have successfully analyzed the metabolism of intact tissues of the fruit fly using a label-free microscopy technique. They used the natural fluorescence of certain metabolic molecules and found that sperm, compared to other tissues, are highly glycolytic.

  • Building materials come alive with help from bacteria
    on January 15, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    New living building materials can grow and multiply -- and may help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from infrastructure in the future.

  • Robotic gripping mechanism mimics how sea anemones catch prey
    on January 14, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Researchers demonstrated a robotic gripping mechanism that mimics how a sea anemone catches its prey. The bionic torus captures and releases objects by crimping its skin. The grasper not only is relatively cheap and easy to produce but also can grab a variety of objects of different sizes, shapes, weights and materials.

  • New parasitoid wasp species discovered in the Amazon -- can manipulate host's behavior
    on January 14, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    A research group studying the diversity of parasitoid insects around the world. Parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera) are one of the most species rich animal taxa on Earth, but their tropical diversity is still poorly known. The group discovered 15 new, sizable species that parasitize spiders in the lowland rainforests of the Amazon and the cloud forests of the Andes.

  • Egg trading between hermaphroditic fish: Why would you give when you can just take?
    on January 14, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    The sex life of hermaphroditic animals is determined by one fundamental question: Who assumes the female role and produces the costly eggs? Hamlets avoid this dilemma by engaging in reciprocal egg trading. Scientists have now used microeconomic models to analyze the circumstances required for this complex system of trading to work.

  • Living robots built using frog cells
    on January 13, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Scientists repurposed living frog cells -- and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. These tiny 'xenobots' can move toward a target and heal themselves after being cut. These novel living machines are neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. They're a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.

  • How nodules stay on top at the bottom of the sea
    on January 13, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Rare metallic elements found in clumps on the deep-ocean floor mysteriously remain uncovered despite the shifting sands and sediment many leagues under the sea. Scientists now think they know why, and it could have important implications for mining these metals while preserving the strange fauna at the bottom of the ocean.

  • Mysteries of grasshopper response to gravity unlocked
    on January 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    How do insects control the effects of gravity when they climb a tree or hang upside-down waiting for prey? They don't have closed circulatory systems that restrict fluid flow to certain parts of the body. Researchers discovered how insects adjust their cardiovascular and respiratory activity in response to gravity. When they change orientation, they respond to gravity just like humans, and they show many of the same physiological responses.

  • High temperatures due to global warming will be dramatic even for tardigrades
    on January 13, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    A research group has just shown that tardigrades are very vulnerable to long-term high temperature exposures. The tiny animals, in their desiccated state, are best known for their extraordinary tolerance to extreme environments.

  • Scientists find oldest-known fossilized digestive tract -- 550 million years
    on January 10, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    An analysis of tubular fossils provides evidence of a 550-million-year-old digestive tract -- one of the oldest known examples of fossilized internal anatomical structures -- and reveals what scientists believe is a possible answer to the question of how these animals are connected.

  • Hummingbirds' rainbow colors come from pancake-shaped structures in their feathers
    on January 10, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Hummingbirds are some of the most brightly-colored things in the entire world. Their iridescent feathers reflect light in a way that other birds can't match, and scientists weren't sure what made hummingbirds special. But a new study shows that while hummingbird feathers have the same basic makeup as other birds', the special shape of their pigment-containing structures enables them to reflect a rainbow of light.

  • African grey parrots spontaneously 'lend a wing'
    on January 9, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    People and other great apes are known for their willingness to help others in need, even strangers. Now, researchers have shown for the first time that some birds -- and specifically African grey parrots -- are similarly helpful.

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