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Living world news archive: April-June 2010

Orang-utan language identified
(Jun 18, 2010)

Orang-utans communicate intelligently using gestures, researchers have found. British scientists who spent nine months observing the great apes in three European zoos identified 40 frequently used body language signals. These were employed repeatedly to send messages such as "I want to play", "give it to me", "go away", "follow me", or "stop doing that".

Read more. Source: The Independent

humpback whale
Humpback whales form friendships that last years
(Jun 7, 2010)

Humpback whales form lasting bonds, the first baleen whales known to do so. Individual female humpbacks reunite each summer to feed and swim alongside one another in the Gulf of St Lawrence, off Canada, scientists have found. Toothed whales, such as sperm whales, associate with one another, but larger baleen whales, which filter their food, have been thought less social.

Read more. Source: BBC

Deepwater travellers: A) deepwater slipskin and B) gonate squid
Deep sea fish 'mystery migration' across Pacific Ocean
(Jun 4, 2010)

Deep sea fish species found in the north Pacific Ocean have mysteriously been caught in the southwest Atlantic, on the other side of the world. It is unclear how the animals, a giant rattail grenadier, pelagic eelpout and deep sea squid, traveled so far. Their discovery 15,000km from their usual home raises the possibility that deep sea currents can transport animals from one polar region to another.

Read more. Source: BBC

colossal squid
Monster colossal squid is slow not fearsome predator
(May 7, 2010)

The world's largest invertebrate is not a fast and voracious predator as previously thought, say scientists. The colossal squid, a creature once linked to maritime myth and feared as a sea monster, is really a slow drifting animal that ambushes unwitting prey. That conclusion was reached by studying the physiology and feeding habits of other deep sea species and scaling up to the colossal squid's huge size.

Read more. Source: BBC

Chimps 'feel death like humans'
(Apr 27, 2010)

Chimpanzees deal with death in much the same way as humans, studies suggest. Scientists in Scotland filmed a group of chimps grooming and caressing an elderly female who died, and remaining subdued for several days afterwards. Other researchers saw females carrying around the bodies of their dead children. Both studies are reported in the journal Current Biology.

Read more. Source: BBC

Tool-using crow
Clever New Caledonian crows can use three tools
(Apr 21, 2010)

New Caledonian crows have given scientists yet another display of their tool-using prowess. Scientists from New Zealand's University of Auckland have found that the birds are able to use three tools in succession to reach some food. The crows, which use tools in the wild, have also shown other problem-solving behavior, but this find suggests they are more innovative than was thought.

Read more. Source: BBC

Census offers glimpse of oceans' smallest lifeforms
(Apr 19, 2010)

An unprecedented number of tiny, ocean dwelling organisms have been catalogued by researchers involved in a global survey of the world's oceans. One of the highlights was the discovery of a vast "microbial mat", covering an area equivalent to the size of Greece. Microbes are estimated to constitute up to 90% of all marine biomass.

Read more. Source: BBC

One of the new species discovered by Roberto Danovaro's team
First oxygen-free animals found
(Apr 8, 2010)

Scientists have found the first animals that can survive and reproduce entirely without oxygen, deep on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. The team, led by Roberto Danovaro from Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy, found three new species from the Loricifera group. He told BBC World Service they were about a millimeter in size and looked like jellyfish in a protective shell.

Read more. Source: BBC

Varanus bitatawa
Giant lizard species discovered in the Philippines
(Apr 7, 2010)

A new species of giant lizard has been discovered in the Philippines. The 2m-long reptile is a monitor lizard, the group to which the world's longest and largest lizards belong. The monitor, described as spectacular by the scientists who found it, lives in forests covering the Sierra Madre mountains in the north of the country.

Read more. Source: BBC


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