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Living world news archive: October-December 2010





elephants
African elephant is two species, researchers say
(Dec 23, 2010)


Genetic researchers may have resolved a long-standing dispute by proving there are two species of African elephant. Savannah and forest elephants have been separated for at least three million years, they say, and are as distinct from each other as Asian elephants are from the extinct woolly mammoth. The researchers also made what they say are the first sequences of nuclear DNA from the extinct American mastodon.

Read more. Source: BBC

New Caledonian crow
Clever New Caledonian crows go to parents' tool school
(Oct 29, 2010)


Young New Caledonian crows learn to use tools by going to "tool-school", where they can observe their parents at work. These crows are renowned for their extraordinary intelligence and ability to fashion tools to solve problems. Now a new study has revealed more about how they do it: wild New Caledonian crows live in unusually small family groups, scientists say.

Read more. Source: BBC

dolphin tail-walking
Dolphins learn to 'walk on water'
(Oct 21, 2010)


Wild dolphins in Australia are naturally learning to "walk" on water. At least six dolphins have been seen mastering the technique – furiously paddling their tail fluke, forcing their body out and across the water. The dolphins seem to walk on water for fun, as it has no other obvious benefit, say scientists working for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

Read more. Source: BBC

humpback whale
Humpback whale swims a quarter of the world
(Oct 12, 2010)


In a record-breaking journey, a female humpback whale has traveled across a quarter of the globe, a distance of at least 10,000km. The event, reported in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, is the longest documented movement by a mammal. Its voyage was also twice the distance that the whales typically migrate each season to new breeding grounds.

Read more. Source: BBC

Durrell's vontsira
New carnivorous mammal species found in Madagascar
(Oct 11, 2010)


A new species of carnivorous mammal has been discovered in Madagascar. The mongoose-like creature has been called Durrell's vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) in honour of conservationist Gerald Durrell. Scientists found the creature in the wetlands of Lake Alaotra, the largest lake in Madagascar.

Read more. Source: BBC

Guyana dolphin
Dolphin species attempt 'common language'
(Oct 1, 2010)


When two dolphin species come together, they attempt to find a common language, preliminary research suggests. Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two distantly related species, often come together to socialize in waters off the coast of Costa Rica. Both species make unique sounds, but when they gather, they change the way they communicate, and begin using an intermediate language.

Read more. Source: BBC

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