My picks from ScienceDaily


Bird Song Discoveries May Lead To Refinement Of Darwinian Theory:

For Williams College biology professor Heather Williams, the songs birds sing are more than a pleasant part of a spring day. They are a window into how communication works in the natural world. A birdsong is more than just an encapsulated package of information, it is “a behavior frozen in time.” One of her projects is to record and map out the songs of Savannah sparrows that spend the warmer months on a small Canadian island, Kent Island, in the Bay of Fundy. With the help of microphones, binoculars, and a well-documented set of individual birds, her research is beginning to create a richer view of how birdsong moves from neighbor to neighbor and generation to generation in the wild. And it could lead to a refined way of looking at how communication fits into evolutionary theory.

Skin Color Studies On Tadpoles Lead To Cancer Advance:

The humble tadpole could provide the key to developing effective anti-skin cancer drugs, thanks to a groundbreaking discovery by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Fewer Days Of Extreme Cold And More Days Of Extreme Heat In Europe:

Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have selected 262 European observatories which analysed the series of minimum and maximum daily temperatures from 1955 to 1998 to estimate trend variations in extreme temperature events. According to the study, in Europe days of extreme cold are decreasing and days of extreme heat increasing. From 0.5ºC to 1ºC in the average minimum temperature, and from 0.5ºC to 2ºC in the average maximum temperature.

No Such Thing As A ‘Born Leader,’ Study In Fish Finds:

Followers are just as important to good leadership as are the leaders themselves, reveals a new study of stickleback fish published online on January 29th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. By randomly pairing fish of varying degrees of “boldness,” the researchers showed that each member of a pair adopts the role of leader or follower. More importantly, they found, the behavior of each member of the pair is strongly influenced by its partner.

Simple Reasoning Strategies Can Be As Precise As Complex Ones:

We go into a restaurant with the aim of eating healthily. The menu does not tell us much about fats, salt or additives contained in the dishes. So how do we make the best decision? Psychologists Rocío García-Retamero and Jörg Rieskamp have analysed the influence that inferences about missing information can have on the accuracy of our decisions.

Language Performance And Differences In Brain Activity Possibly Affected By Sex:

In a new fMRI study conducted in the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Research Laboratory (Montpellier I University, France) researchers found differences among male and female groups on activation strength linked to verbal fluency (words generation).

Chemists Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Garlic:

A Queen’s-led team has discovered the reason why garlic is so good for us.

Surprising Lion Stronghold Uncovered In War-torn Central Africa:

Times are tough for wildlife living at the frontier between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Armies are reportedly encamped in a national park and wildlife preserve on the Congolese side, while displaced herders and their cattle have settled in an adjoining Ugandan park. And yet, the profusion of prey in the region could potentially support more than 900 individuals of the emblematic African lion, according to new research – but only if immediate conservation steps are taken.

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