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Odd Creatures: Plants & Animals
October 29, 2020

Top Headlines
 

Ancient Marine Predator Had a Built-in Float

About 240 million years ago, when reptiles ruled the ocean, a small lizard-like predator floated near the bottom of the edges in shallow water, picking off prey with fang-like teeth. A short and flat ...

Giant Lizards Learnt to Fly Over Millions of Years

Most detailed every study into how animals evolve to better suit their environments shows that pterosaurs become more efficient at flying over millions of years before going extinct with the ...

Stay Focused: Algae-Inspired Polymers Light the Way for Enhanced Night Vision

Researchers processed sulfur, and algae and plant compounds, into an elastic lens that maintains substantial variable focus in infrared imaging. This ...

Secret Surfing Life of Remoras Hitchhiking on Blue Whales

A new study of blue whales off the coast of California has given researchers the first ocean recordings of their famous hitchhiking partner -- the remora -- revealing the suckerfish's secret ...
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A Flexible Color-Changing Film Inspired by Chameleon Skin

Chameleons can famously change their colors to camouflage themselves, communicate and regulate their temperature. Scientists have tried to replicate these color-changing properties for stealth ...

How Do Snakes 'See' in the Dark? Researchers Have an Answer

Certain species of snake -- think pit vipers, boa constrictors and pythons, among others -- are able to find and capture prey with uncanny accuracy, even in total darkness. Now scientists have ...

This Beetle Can Survive Getting Run Over by a Car; Engineers Are Figuring out How

Getting run over by a car is not a near-death experience for the diabolical ironclad beetle. How the beetle survives could inspire the development of new materials with the same herculean toughness, ...

When temperatures go below a critical limit, sleeping lizards lose their grip and fall out of trees. But when researchers collected the scaled survivors of a record cold snap, they discovered that a ...

Microbial Diversity Below Seafloor Is as Rich as on Earth's Surface

For the first time, researchers have mapped the biological diversity of marine sediment, one of Earth's largest global biomes. The research team discovered that microbial diversity in the dark, ...

Odors as Navigational Cues for Pigeons

Volatile organic compounds identified that can be used for olfactory navigation by homing ...

Primates Aren't Quite Frogs

Researchers have demonstrated the 'spinal motor module hypothesis' in the primate arm, opening a new pathway for recovery after disease or ...

Those Funky Cheese Smells Allow Microbes to 'Talk' to and Feed Each Other

Researchers found that bacteria essential to ripening cheese can sense and respond to compounds produced by fungi in the rind and released into the air, enhancing the growth of some species of ...

Thin tissue grafts and flexible electronics have a host of applications for wound healing, regenerative medicine and biosensing. A new device inspired by an octopus's sucker rapidly transfers ...

World First Study Shows That Some Microorganisms Can Bend the Rules of Evolution

The dominant thinking in evolution focuses on inheritance between parent and offspring - or 'vertical gene transfer (VGT)'. But now scientists are paying more attention to 'horizontal ...

Scientists Engineer Bacteria-Killing Molecules from Wasp Venom

Scientists have engineered powerful new antimicrobial molecules from toxic proteins found in wasp venom. The team hopes to develop the molecules into new bacteria-killing drugs, an important ...

Moles: Intersexual and Genetically Doped

Female moles not only have ovarian, but also testicular tissue that produces male sex hormones - which lets them diverge from the categorization into two sexes. A team describes which genetic ...

New Species of Aquatic Mice Discovered, Cousins of One of the World's Rarest Mammals

Scientists have discovered two new species of 'stilt mice,' semi-aquatic African rodents with extra-long feet that they stand up on like a kangaroo. The mice wade in streams and dip their ...

The banyan fig tree Ficus microcarpa is famous for its aerial roots, which sprout from branches and eventually reach the soil. The tree also has a unique relationship with a wasp that has coevolved ...

Zoologists Uncover New Example of Rapid Evolution -- Meet the Sulawesi Babblers

Zoologists have discovered that male and female Sulawesi Babblers (Pellorneum celebense, a species of bird) have evolved to attain different sizes on small islands, and in quick-fire time. They ...

Ants Adapt Tool Use to Avoid Drowning

Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning. This is the first time this sophisticated tool use has been ...

Mammals Share Gene Pathways That Allow Zebrafish to Grow New Eyes

Working with fish, birds and mice, researchers report new evidence that some animals' natural capacity to regrow neurons is not missing, but is instead inactivated in ...

Paleontologists Identify New Species of Mosasaur

A new species of an ancient marine reptile evolved to strike terror into the hearts of the normally safe, fast-swimming fish has been identified, shedding light on what it took to survive in highly ...

Feline Friendly? How to Build Rap-Paw With Your Cat

A team of psychologists have discovered a new way for humans to bond with ...

Toothless Dino's Lost Digits Point to Spread of Parrot-Like Species

A newly discovered species of toothless, two-fingered dinosaur has shed light on how a group of parrot-like animals thrived more than 68 million years ...

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