The five colours we don’t learn
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Colour exists on a continuum, and yet human language is surprisingly consistent in how it categorises colours. Scientists tested infants’ ability to distinguish different hues covering the entire colour spectrum. They found that infants distinguish between hues in five categories. .. read more..
Mongoose pups conceal their identity to stay alive
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Infant mongooses rely on adults to escort them as they learn to forage. A new study finds that adult mongooses show no preference for their own offspring when choosing a pup to escort, and the authors suggest they may not be able to tell their own kin apart. .. read more..
My #230 Papers Challenge
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
You might have heard of the #360papers challenge – to read one journal article a day for a whole year – you might be less familiar with the related #230 papers challenge. This makes the more realistic goal of reading one journal article each working day of the year, which is apparentl... .. read more..
Sedentary hunter-gatherers domesticated mice
Monday, May 29, 2017
The advent of farming marks a huge change in human populations – a change in diet, social structure and a switch to a more sedentary lifestyle. As humans started storing grain for lengthy periods of time, the house mouse adapted to thrive in this new ecosystem. Now, a new study shows that it was ... .. read more..
Saturday, May 27, 2017
This is the second month of my brand new, RSS-driven newsletter. What do you think so far? It’s certainly more reliable than my old system… ;) Last month I turned 30, and to mark the milestone I’ve taken some time off. This means I haven’t been able to write as much for th... .. read more..
Thursday, April 27, 2017
I’m trying something a bit different with the newsletter for the rest of the year – an automated RSS-driven newsletter that means you get your news every month, and I can write a short editorial in wordpress rather than faffing about copying across all my posts for you into a bespoke ... .. read more..
Looking sexy makes animals age faster
Monday, April 17, 2017
Telomeres – small sections of protective DNA found at the end of each chromosome – have been repeatedly linked to ageing. But their complex dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in wild populations. Publishing in the journal Ecology and Evolution, researchers in New York studied the lengt... .. read more..
Tibetans evolved to cope with UV
Monday, April 10, 2017
Tibetan populations have evolved at least nine specific genetic variants to help them survive the extreme conditions of the Tibetan Plateau. Living permanently at over 4,000 m above sea level, these populations have been coping for millennia with 40% less oxygen and 30% stronger UV radiation, as ... .. read more..
Geological uplift creates mountain biodiversity hotspots
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Mountains tend to have more species than valleys, and new research provides support for the theory that mountain formation itself might be responsible. Yaowu Ying and Richard Ree from The Field Museum in Chicago compared regional rates of plant colonisation and speciation in the Qinghai-Tibetan p... .. read more..
The first skeletons evolved repeatedly in chalky seas
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The first skeletons evolved multiple times independently because of unusually chalky seas, later becoming essential for survival even when chalk became scarce. Calcium-based skeletons appeared suddenly in the fossil record around 550 million years ago, fundamentally changing the global carbon cyc... .. read more..