Apes show abilities related to speech
August 14, 2015 07:45 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Koko the gorilla is best known for a lifelong study to teach her a silent form of communication, American Sign Language. But some of the simple sounds she has learned may change the perception that humans are the only primates with the capacity for speech.
In 2010, Marcus Perlman started research work at The Gorilla Foundation in California, where Koko has spent more than 40 years living immersed with humans — interacting for many hours each day with psychologist Penny Patterson and biologist Ron Cohn.
"I went there with the idea of studying Koko's gestures, but as I got into watching videos of her, I saw her performing all these amazing vocal behaviors," says Perlman, now a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology Professor Gary Lupyan.
Greenland ice sheet's winds driving tundra soil erosion
August 13, 2015 08:52 AM - Dartmouth College
Strong winds blowing off the Greenland Ice Sheet are eroding soil and vegetation in the surrounding tundra, making it less productive for caribou and other grazing animals, carbon storage and nutrient cycling, a Dartmouth College study finds.
Happy World Elephant Day!
August 12, 2015 02:00 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2
On Wednesday, August 12, animal lovers around the world will be coming together to celebrate elephants and support a future where they’re respected and protected for the fourth annual World Elephant Day.
Could eating meat speed-up worldwide species extinction?
August 12, 2015 09:03 AM - Virginia Morell, Science/AAAS
Diets rich in beef and other red meat can be bad for a person’s health. And the practice is equally bad for Earth’s biodiversity, according to a team of scientists who have fingered human carnivory—and its impact on land use—as the single biggest threat to much of the world’s flora and fauna. Already a major cause of extinction, our meat habit will take a growing toll as people clear more land for livestock and crops to feed these animals, a study in the current issue of Science of the Total Environment predicts.
Melting glaciers feed Antarctic food chain
August 11, 2015 03:48 PM - American Geophysical Union
Nutrient-rich water from melting Antarctic glaciers nourishes the ocean food chain, creating feeding “hot spots” in large gaps in the sea ice, according to a new study. New research finds that iron stored in the region’s glaciers is being shuttled by melting water to open areas of the ocean, called polynyas, where it stimulates growth of phytoplankton, ocean algae that form the base of the marine food chain.
Range of non-native marine species is explained by time introduced
August 11, 2015 09:04 AM - Beth Gavrilles, University of Georgia
The time since the introduction of a non-native marine species best explains its global range, according to new research by an international team of scientists led by University of Georgia ecologist James E. Byers. The study, published in the open access journal Nature Scientific Reports, also contains a warning: The vast majority of marine invaders have not yet finished spreading.
Fish go deep to beat the heat
August 7, 2015 02:21 PM - James Cook University
A James Cook University study shows fish retreat to deeper water to escape the heat, a finding that throws light on what to expect if predictions of ocean warming come to pass.
Good news for Bobcats in California!
August 7, 2015 07:06 AM - Judy Molland, Care2
In a momentous decision, the California Fish & Game Commission has voted to ban the trapping of bobcats.
Assembly Bill 1213, prohibiting the trapping and killing of bobcats statewide, passed the California legislature in 2013, but for the past two years it has not been fully implemented.
A Care2 petition demanding that California legislators and the Fish and Game Commission be more diligent in protecting the bobcat by fully enforcing the Bobcat Protection Act has garnered over 77,000 signatures. In a huge victory for Care2 members, the members of the Commission voted to implement a total ban on bobcat trapping.
Are insecticides more toxic than we think?
August 6, 2015 12:15 PM -
Insecticides that are sprayed in orchards and fields across North America may be more toxic to spiders than scientists previously believed. A McGill research team reached this conclusion after looking at changes in the behaviour of individual Bronze Jumping Spiders both before and after exposure to Phosmet, a widely used broad spectrum insecticide. It is a finding with far-reaching implications for agricultural production and ecosystem health.
Horses and humans share facial expressions
August 6, 2015 09:08 AM - University of Sussex
Horses share some surprisingly similar facial expressions to humans and chimps, according to new University of Sussex research. Mammal communication researchers have shown that, like humans, horses use muscles underlying various facial features - including their nostrils, lips and eyes - to alter their facial expressions in a variety of social situations.