A robotic bug’s attempts to fly were no match for gravity – the critter was unable to soar above the ground. The findings shed light on a longstanding debate about the evolutionary origins of flight, as scientists have long debated whether birds first evolved flight as ground dwellers or tree jumpers.
Resilience science has been evolving over the past decade, expanding beyond ecology to reflect systems of thinking in fields such as economics and political science. And, as more and more people move into densely populated cities, using massive amounts of water, energy, and other resources, the need to combine these disciplines to consider the resilience of urban ecosystems and cities is of paramount importance.
Researchers studying Nazca boobies of the Galápagos Islands found high correlations between degree of aggressive behavior among adults and the amount of abuse they endured as nestlings. The findings have implications for those who study human psychology and behavior, as some social scientists argue that abused children are statistically more likely to become abusers later in life.
Read more about how humans are just modified fish, the discovery of a rare seahorse, the relationship between climate change, elk, and aspen, and the the structure of ambrosia beetle colonies in this week’s edition of The Critter Corner.
The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is hosting a free evening program on Wednesday, October 12.
Modern day human evolution is a contentious topic, but an array of recent studies indicate that our species is still evolving.
Animal keepers at the National Zoo’s conservation center recently sent 26 black-footed ferrets to a critter boot camp to help the endangered species learn the necessary skills to survive in the wild.
From an evolutionary perspective, kin are worth assisting in direct relationship to their blood relatedness, or the probability that two individuals share genes. Though it can be difficult at first to think in these mathematically terms, inclusive fitness, parent-offspring conflict and sibling-sibling conflict radically transform our understanding of animal behavior and evolution.
Read more about flies that are sexually aroused by food, tool use among fish, controversial bacteria that may use arsenic in place of phosphorus as the backbone of its DNA, and the nanostructures of ancient bugs in this week’s edition of The Critter Corner.
Endangered pangolins are among the most heavily trafficked wildlife. They are hunted and eaten in many parts of Africa and Asia but are particularly prized in China because their keratin scales are thought to cure a plethora of ailments and enhance sexual prowess. Claims that the protective armor reduces swelling, promotes blood circulation or helps women produce breast-milk are nothing more than nostrums in the scientific community. But, even if they work, conservationists argue that less costly alternatives are available.