Wildlife

Raid uncovers truth behind Thailand's Tiger Temple
June 7, 2016 07:32 AM - Simon Evans, Anglia Ruskin University, The Ecologist

Thailand's 'tiger temple' was a front for the commercial exploitation of tiger bones, skins and other parts for the lucrative international trade, writes Simon Evans. It made no contribution to conservation and the animals were subject to extreme cruelty. But while the temple's closure is good news, there are hundreds of similar tiger farms across the region that are no better - or even worse.

Good news for the Giant Panda!
June 6, 2016 07:45 AM - Steve Williams , Care2

Due to a breeding boom over the past few years, giant pandas are making a strong recovery. Some experts argue that the species should be removed from the critically endangered list — but is it too soon?

This comes as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature undertakes an official reassessment of the panda’s status. The Swiss-based organization uses a seven-point scale to gauge the risk facing animal populations.

 

Where and when were dogs first domesticated?
June 3, 2016 10:31 AM - Oxford University

Supported by funding from the European Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council, a large international team of scientists compared genetic data with existing archaeological evidence and show that man’s best friend may have emerged independently from two separate (possibly now extinct) wolf populations that lived on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent. This means that dogs may have been domesticated not once, as widely believed, but twice.

A major international research project on dog domestication, led by the University of Oxford, has reconstructed the evolutionary history of dogs by first sequencing the genome (at Trinity College Dublin) of a 4,800-year old medium-sized dog from bone excavated at the Neolithic Passage Tomb of Newgrange, Ireland. The team (including French researchers based in Lyon and at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris) also obtained mitochondrial DNA from 59 ancient dogs living between 14,000 to 3,000 years ago and then compared them with the genetic signatures of more than 2,500 previously studied modern dogs.

 

What Are Nile Crocodiles Doing in Florida?
May 30, 2016 01:03 PM - By: Laura Goldman, Care2

At up to 20 feet long and weighing a ton and a half, with the strongest bite in the animal kingdom, Nile crocodiles can pretty much devour anything they want to — including humans.

As you can guess from their name, these carnivorous crocs are native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they subsist on small hippos, zebras and other animals they catch and, in some cases, swallow whole.

Antarctic fossils show creatures wiped out by asteroid
May 27, 2016 06:03 AM - British Antarctic Survey

A study of more than 6,000 marine fossils from the Antarctic shows that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago was sudden and just as deadly to life in the Polar Regions.

Previously, scientists had thought that creatures living in the southernmost regions of the planet would have been in a less perilous position during the mass extinction event than those elsewhere on Earth.

Squid populations on the rise
May 24, 2016 07:09 AM - University of Adelaide

Unlike the declining populations of many fish species, the number of cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squid) has increased in the world's oceans over the past 60 years, a University of Adelaide study has found.

The international team, led by researchers from the University's Environment Institute, compiled a global database of cephalopod catch rates to investigate long-term trends in abundance, published in Cell Press journal Current Biology.

How do trees sleep?
May 18, 2016 07:17 AM - Vienna University of Technology via EurekAlert!

Most living organisms adapt their behavior to the rhythm of day and night. Plants are no exception: flowers open in the morning, some tree leaves close during the night. Researchers have been studying the day and night cycle in plants for a long time: Linnaeus observed that flowers in a dark cellar continued to open and close, and Darwin recorded the overnight movement of plant leaves and stalks and called it "sleep". But even to this day, such studies have only been done with small plants grown in pots, and nobody knew whether trees sleep as well. Now, a team of researchers from Austria, Finland and Hungary measured the sleep movement of fully grown trees using a time series of laser scanning point clouds consisting of millions of points each.

Ocean bacteria are programmed to alter climate gases
May 17, 2016 07:29 AM - Oregon State University via EurekAlert!

SAR11, the most abundant plankton in the world's oceans, are pumping out massive amounts of two sulfur gases that play important roles in the Earth's atmosphere, researchers announced today in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Happy 'Love a Tree Day'!
May 16, 2016 07:19 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

What’s not to love about trees? May 16 marks National Love a Tree Day, which gives everyone a chance to get out and appreciate the

You probably know about the largest living tree: situated in the Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park, the General Sherman tree, a giant sequoia, is the largest living organism, by volume, on our planet. It is 2,100 years old, weighs an estimated 2.7 million pounds, stands 275 feet tall and is 100 feet wide at its trunk. Pretty impressive!

But you don’t have to travel to California to appreciate trees – in fact, they are everywhere!

You are what you eat
May 12, 2016 07:31 AM - Indiana University Bloomington

Biologists at Indiana University have significantly advanced understanding of the genetic pathways that control the appearance of different physical traits in the same species depending on nutritional conditions experienced during development.

In many animals, nutrition -- not genetic differences -- controls the appearance of certain physical traits. Ants and bees, for example, grow into workers or queens based upon the food eaten as larvae.

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