All pet owners will happily explain to you their dog or cat's character traits -- probably in far more detail than you ever wanted to know. But the idea of animal personality is not one that's been formally studied all that much.
A new study has classed a species of bird into groups of more and less aggressive males. Researchers gauged the response of male collared flycatchers to female birds, to a strange object, and to other males. They found that each type of individual displayed consistent behavior in each of these situations.
Props to whoever noticed bird poop on a smuggler's socks. The smuggler passing through LAX turned out to have 14 birds in his pants when he was busted. Of course the inspectors were onto him already because he'd previously left behind a suitcase full of contraband birds.
Also in today's links: signs of an enhanced MacBook, plus multiple medical miracles.
Previously, it was believed that dancing was unique to humans. Now, two separate studies have shown that parrots have the ability to bob their heads and tap their feet to a number of different beats, proving that humans aren't the only ones with rhythm. One of the birds studied even has a favorite song: "Everybody" by the Backstreet Boys.
Members of the Zosteropidae family are not birds of a feather. White-eyes, sparrow-like songbirds, are the fastest-evolving bird on record. According to a recent genetic analysis of several dozen subspecies by Chris Filardi, a biologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 80 species have emerged in the past two million years. Among vertebrates, only the cichlid fish evolves faster, probably due to abrupt changes in its geographically confined habitat, a common catalyst for speciation. But white-eyes populate three continents, so Filardi suspects that sexual selection and social behavior drives the birds' speedy diversification, which includes changing plumage and songs.
You won’t find geolocator backpacks in the North Face catalog anytime soon, but if you fly south for the winter you may notice one strapped to the back of a migrating songbird. That’s how an inventive group of researchers have been tracking the speed and location of purple martins and wood thrushes flying from Pennsylvania to South America and back. What they’ve have found is truly astonishing.
Paleontologists have excavated a plethora of feathered dinosaurs in China over the past few years have, but none of those dinosaurs had feathers like this. Scientists examining a news specimen of the dinosaur Beipiaosaurus have found imprints of a proto-feather that looks like the missing link between primitive downy feathers and the modern feathers seen on birds.
Birds and power companies adapt to climate change; scientists downgrade its role in hurricane formation
By Jessica ChengPosted 07.25.2008 at 4:58 pm 31 Comments
So it looks like it's not all gloom and doom after all. A few recent studies have managed to find the slim silver lining of climate change. Below, a look at the three small positive outcomes of global warming.
After a flap at Wimbledon, PopSci takes a look at the latest anti-bird weaponry
By Brett ZardaPosted 06.26.2008 at 6:23 pm 3 Comments
The Brits are murdering pigeons. Unable to prevent the pests from pooping on the stuffy spectators and sweater-vested tennis players at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (aka Wimbledon), officials have hired marksmen and instructed them to shoot to kill. Previous attempts to control the pigeons by releasing hawks were unsuccessful. PETA argues that shooting the birds is "cruel and illegal."