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Sex with the Lights On

A new study by UCSB evolutionary biologists Todd Oakley and Emily Ellis demonstrates that for fireflies, octopuses and other animals that choose mates via bioluminescent courtship, sexual selection increases the number of species -- thereby impacting global diversity. Their results appear in the journal Current Biology.

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Lizard Tail Adaptations May Reflect Predators' Color Vision Capabilities

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Juveniles of numerous lizard species have a vividly blue-colored tail that likely serves to deflect predator attacks toward the detachable tail rather than the lizard's body. Now researchers have found that certain differences in blue and UV light reflectance in lizard tails are likely adaptations to predators with different color vision capabilities.

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Fish Out of Water Are More Common Than Thought

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Fish have evolved the ability to live on land many times, challenging the perception that this extreme lifestyle shift was likely to have been a rare occurrence in ancient times, new UNSW Australia research shows.

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Wild Boars and Wart Hogs May Have an Internal Compass

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New research suggests for the first time that wild boars and wart hogs have an internal magnetic compass that helps them orient themselves as they forage for food and inhabit new areas.

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Scorpions Have Similar Tastes in Burrow Architecture

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Israel Science Foundation, Human Frontier Science Program, Jacob Blaustein Center for Scientific Cooperation, and the Society of Experimental Biology

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Powerful Lightning at Sea; How Much Carbon Dioxide Comes From Mine Drainage; Marine Species Adaptation; Scientists Using Sunlight, Water to Make Clean Energy; and More in the Environment News Source

Click here to go directly to the Environment News Source.

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NIH Vision Scientists Test Theory of How Rods in Our Retina Originated

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A new study led by researchers the National Eye Institute suggests how the genesis of rod photoreceptors may have occurred to give rise to nocturnal mammals.

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When It Comes to Evolution, Testes May Play a Key Role, IU Studies Find

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A pair of studies led by Indiana University researchers provide new evidence that when it comes to evolution, the testes may play a key role. The research, led by Kimberly Rosvall, assistant professor in the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology, finds that the testes -- or gonads -- have a greater impact than previously thought in evolution.

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Modern Mussel Shells Much Thinner Than 50 Years Ago

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Shells of California mussels collected from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington in the 1970s are on average 32 percent thicker than modern specimens, according to a new study published by University of Chicago biologists.

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Where Were You Born? Origin Matters for Species Interactions

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An oft-quoted proverb says it takes a village to raise a child, and new research from ecologists at LSU and Rice University suggests that a similar concept may be at work in natural ecosystems. The research, which appears in this week’s Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the early life experiences of individual animals can have wide-reaching impacts on entire species.

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Popcorn-Like Fossils Provide Evidence of Environmental Impacts on Species Numbers

The number of species that can exist on Earth depends on how the environment changes, according to new research led by the University of Southampton.

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New Research Shines Light on Surprising Numbers and Evolutionary Variety of Bioluminescent Ocean Fish

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A study appearing in the journal PLOS ONE this week shows that bioluminescence -- the production of light from a living organism -- is more widespread among marine fishes than previously understood.

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Ice Age Bison Fossils Shed Light on Early Human Migrations in North America

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Study dates the first movements of bison through an ice-free corridor that opened between the ice sheets after the last glacial maximum

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Scientists Craft an Artificial Seawater Concoction

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Microbiologists have concocted an artificial seawater medium that can be used to successfully cultivate abundant marine microorganisms, many of which have not been genetically characterized before.

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Mammals Began Their Takeover Long Before the Death of the Dinosaurs

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New research reports that, contrary to popular belief, mammals began their massive diversification 10 to 20 million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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Inbred Neanderthals Left Humans a Genetic Burden

The Neanderthal genome included harmful mutations that made the hominids around 40% less reproductively fit than modern humans, according to estimates published in the latest issue of the journal GENETICS. Non-African humans inherited some of this genetic burden when they interbred with Neanderthals, though much of it has been lost. The results suggest that these harmful gene variants continue to reduce the fitness of some populations today. The study also has implications for management of endangered species.

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Evolution Painted Onto Butterfly Wings

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Using a reverse paint-by-numbers approach, scientists have located another gene that controls the brilliant patterning of Heliconius butterfly wings. Led by former Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) fellow Nicole Nadeau, the researchers identified variations in the gene that correspond to wing color and pattern variation in three different Heliconius species.

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Slithery New Species

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Researchers discover Silver Boa in the Bahamas Islands.