My picks from ScienceDaily

Gene Variants May Help To Distribute The Work Of Evolution Between Men And Women:

Scientists from deCODE genetics have discovered two common, single-letter variants in the sequence of the human genome (SNPs) that regulate one of the principle motors of evolution.

Key ‘Impact Hunters’ Catalyze Hunting Among Male Chimpanzees:

While hunting among chimpanzees is a group effort, key males, known as “impact hunters” are highly influential within the group. They are more likely to initiate a hunt, and hunts rarely occur in their absence, according to a new study. The findings shed light on how and why some animals cooperate to hunt for food, and how individual variation among chimpanzees contributes to collective predation.

Globetrotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases:

DNA of the common Black Rat has shed light on the ancient spread of rats, people and diseases around the globe. Studying the mitochondrial DNA of 165 Black Rat specimens from 32 countries around the world, an international team of scientists has identified six distinct lineages in the Black Rat’s family tree, each originating from a different part of Asia.

Baboon Dads Have Surprising Influence On Daughters’ Fitness:

Polygamous baboon fathers get more grandchildren if they spend a little time with their children during their juvenile years, according to research directed by scientists at Duke and Princeton universities.

Gotta Have Heart: Crocodilians Bypass Their Lungs To Improve Digestion:

As perhaps confirmed by their ubiquity on nature cable channels, crocodiles are among nature’s most fearsome predators. When the opportunity arises, crocodilians will gorge, voluntarily consuming meals weighing 23% of their own body weight. This is analogous to a 130 -pound woman eating, at one sitting, a hamburger weighing 30 pounds. But what to do with all of that food? If they do not digest their meal quickly, crocodilians risk death from within, or if they are young, by predators.

Barnacles Go To Great Lengths To Mate:

Compelled to mate, yet firmly attached to the rock, barnacles have evolved the longest penis of any animal for their size – up to 8 times their body length – so they can find and fertilize distant neighbours.

Broiler Chickens Bred For Fast Growth Are Having Difficulty Walking:

The huge increase in growth rates of broiler chickens means more than a quarter of these intensively-reared birds have difficulty walking, according to a comprehensive survey carried out by the University of Bristol. The study identifies a range of management factors that could be altered to reduce leg health problems but warns that implementation of these changes would be likely to reduce growth rate and production.

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