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Living world news archive: January-March 2011

Old World monkeys are better at basic math than previously suspected
Monkeys display basic numeracy
(Mar 30, 2011)

Old World monkeys have better numerical skills than previously thought, researchers have discovered. In a basic numeracy test, long-tailed macaques were able to work out which of two plates contained more raisins. Strangely, they only excelled in this test if they were not allowed to eat the raisins they were shown.

Read more. Source: BBC

loggerhead hatchling
Sea turtles' migration mystery is 'solved'
(Feb 25, 2011)

Until now, how species such as loggerhead sea turtles manage to migrate thousands of miles across oceans with no visual landmarks has been a mystery. Now researchers from the University of North Carolina believe they have found the answer. Loggerhead sea turtles appear to be able to determine their longitude using two sets of magnetic cues.

Read more. Source: BBC

Parrots prefer 'left handedness'
(Feb 3, 2011)

Handedness was once a trait believed to be unique to humans. But it turns out that parrots prefer to use one side of their body more than the other too. A study published in the journal Biological Letters has found that almost all parrots prefer to use either their left eyes and feet, or their right.

Read more. Source: BBC

The bacteria form the basis of a food crop at the spores' new locations
Amoebas show primitive farming behavior as they travel
(Jan 20, 2011)

A species of amoeba – among the simplest life forms on Earth – has been seen "farming" the bacteria it eats. When the bacteria become scarce, the Dictyostelium discoideum slime mould gathers up into a "fruiting body" that disperses spores to a new area. Research described in Nature shows that a third of these spores contain some of the bacteria to grow at the new site.

Read more. Source: BBC

New Caledonian crows
Curious crows use tools to explore dangerous objects
(Jan 15, 2011)

New Caledonian crows use tools to investigate unfamiliar and potentially dangerous objects, according to scientists. New research shows crows cautiously investigating new objects using sticks as an extension of their beaks. New Caledonian crows are known to fashion tools to access food sources such as wood-boring beetle larvae.

Read more. Source: BBC


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