Rochelle Jones

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Why Biologists Waste Time Looking For Adaptations That Don't Exist

The standard approach to research in evolution needs an overhaul, according to one leading biologist in a new paper.<p>The problem, according to Eugene V. Koonin, who is Senior Investigator of the Evolutionary Genomics Research Group at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), is that …

Biology

'Cannibalism, sexual predation and fights to the death': recording Britain's national bird

Each winter, the robin – Britain’s national bird, according to a recent poll – gets its moment in the spotlight. But once the Christmas cards featuring redbreasts are in the recycling bin, bird enthusiasts recognise the diminutive robin for what it is: a ferocious beast.<p>“Think cannibalism, sexual …

Birds

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How About a New Theory of Evolution with Less Natural Selection?

In early November, a group of preeminent biologists, doctors, anthropologists, and computer scientists met in London to consider making a major …

Biology

Oil from Deepwater Horizon Found in Terrestrial Birds

Oil from Deepwater Horizon Found in Terrestrial BirdsScientists find first evidence that oil from the spill reached land-based animals.BIRD.jpg Image …

Ecology

Peter Higgs Says He Wouldn't Have Predicted The Higgs Boson in Today's Academic Climate

Times are tough for young researchers.<p>On the eve of receiving his 2013 Nobel Prize, famed physicist Peter Higgs told <i>The Guardian</i> that he wouldn't be …

Frog goes extinct, media yawns

On 26 September, staff with the Atlanta Botanical Garden found a frog dead in his enclosure. The frog had big brown eyes, massive feet with thick webs between the toes, and brownish skin speckled with little yellow dots. His name was Toughie. He was big for a frog and he didn’t like it when humans …

Extinction

Barack Obama: America will take the giant leap to Mars

<b>(CNN) —</b> One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii. This was years before we'd set foot on the moon. Decades before we'd land a rover on Mars. A generation before photos from the International Space Station would show up …

Space Exploration

Animal hybrids may hold clues to Neandertal-human interbreeding

Neandertals are the comeback kids of human evolution. A mere decade ago, the burly, jut-jawed crowd was known as a dead-end species that lost out to …

Hybrid Titmouse Nesting Success

Photo © Keith Williams<p>Photo © Claire Curry<p>Four years ago, we reported on a hybridization study undertaken by Ph.D. candidate Claire Curry. This …

Researchers Develop "Species from Feces" DNA Tool to Identify Bats

Animal poop is an underappreciated resource for studying shy animals, a new study argues. Published today, September 21, in <i>PLOS One</i>, the research by …

It’s back to the future for loons in Massachusetts

In the predawn hours of a night in mid July when you were probably sound asleep, two teams of wildlife biologists met at an undisclosed location …

During drought, dry air can stress plants more than dry soil

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Newly published research by Indiana University scientists finds that low relative humidity in the atmosphere is a significant, …

The Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists Declare Dawn of Human-Influenced Age

Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official …

Melting of Antarctic Ice Sheets Is Making Southern Ocean Less Salty

Melting Antarctic ice sheets are measurably reducing the salinity of the Southern Ocean. The research, published Thursday in Nature, notes that more …

Grizzly Sightings Confirmed in Montana’s Upper Big Hole for First Time in a Century

For the first time in a century, grizzly bear sightings have been confirmed in Montana's Upper Big Hole, one of the state's revered watersheds, …

US takes key step to implement sage grouse conservation plan

DENVER (AP) — Federal land managers issued guidelines Thursday for restricting energy development, livestock grazing and other activities on public land in the West to protect the greater sage grouse, part of a broad effort to save the bird without resorting to listing it as an endangered …

'Gambling' wolves take more risks than dogs

Wolves pursue a high-risk, all-or-nothing strategy when gambling for food, while dogs are more cautious, shows a new study. This difference is likely …

Return of the Ghost Cat

<i>An elusive predator returns to Europe’s mountains, helping restore nature’s balance. A French photographer stalks the Eurasian lynx.</i><p>A hoarse, yelping …

Lack of Milkweed Is Not Harming Monarch Butterfly Populations

Lack of Milkweed Is Not Harming Monarch Butterfly Populations<p>People who attended the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America are …

Insects

Growing call for grouse shooting ban as season opens

<b>More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a ban on grouse shooting as the season starts.</b><p>Critics argue that the sport is directly contributing to a rapid fall in the number of hen harriers, an endangered species of raptors.<p>The birds prey on red grouse chicks as part of their …

Birds

The Blob That Cooked the Pacific

When a deadly patch of warm water shocked the West Coast, some feared it was a preview of our future oceans.<p>The first fin whale appeared in Marmot Bay, where the sea curls a crooked finger around Alaska’s Kodiak Island. A biologist spied the calf drifting on its side, as if at play. Seawater …

Global Warming

The Optimal Route for Visiting Every U.S. National Park

Randy Olson, a researcher at University of Pennsylvania Institute for Biomedical Informatics, has taken his genetic algorithm previously used to find …

Evolution Is Happening Faster Than We Thought

Amsterdam — A FRIEND recently invited me over to see the blackbird that had taken up residence in a potted plant on her balcony.<p>Serenely incubating eggs in the inner city, this bird had little in common with its shy, reclusive ancestors that nested in Europe’s forests. Early in the 19th century, …

American Cities

Wildlife expeditions in Yellowstone: Visiting Wyoming is no mere walk in the park

Print<p>Related<p>It was cold, drizzling and the sky was sadly gray and gloomy. All six of us in the safari van were thinking about getting warm, and …

National Parks

How did things get so bad for hedgehogs? Here's how to save them

What a standout mammal the hedgehog is, a prize among the hirsute with its armory of quills – hollow hairs made of stiff keratin instead of fur – which means that hibernating is the only option to get through the chill of winter. It is an emblem of conservation and, officially, Britain’s most-loved …

Scientists say that the world is losing so many species that we're putting ourselves at risk

In 2010, the UN Environment Programme estimated that 150 to 200 species of plants, insects, birds, and mammals go extinct every 24 hours, which was believed to be nearly as much as 1,000 times the "natural" rate.<p>And now, according to a new study published in Science, we are losing so many species …

Scientists Just Figured Out How This Bird Can Fly For Months Without Landing

The great frigate can stay aloft for 56 days by riding natural updrafts.<p>Plenty of birds fly vast distances on their migratory trips around planet Earth. But the most amazing of all might the frigate bird, which can stay aloft for <i>two months</i> straight without landing or resting. How the heck do they …

Birds

Tiny wings trapped in amber 99 million years ago reveal new secrets of earliest birds

Fossilised amber is like a time capsule, a snapshot into a world millions of years old, and ancient creatures discovered in this amber give us …

Second layer of information in DNA confirmed

Leiden theoretical physicists have proven that DNA mechanics, in addition to genetic information in DNA, determines who we are. Helmut Schiessel and …

Physics