Improving assessments of an endangered lion population in India

An alternative method for monitoring endangered lions in India could improve estimates of their abundance and help inform conservation policy and management decisions. Keshab Gogoi and colleagues at the Wildlife Institute of India present their findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on February 19, 2020. Conservation practices have enabled Asiatic lions to recover from a population … Read more Improving assessments of an endangered lion population in India

Hidden away: An enigmatic mammalian brain area revealed in reptiles

The state of unified perception characteristic of a conscious state in humans appears to require widespread coordination of the forebrain and thus, the existence of a physical and anatomical substrate for this coordination. The mammalian claustrum, a thin sheet of brain tissue hidden beneath the inner layers of the neocortex, is widely interconnected with the … Read more Hidden away: An enigmatic mammalian brain area revealed in reptiles

Primate venom sheds light on why so many people suffer cat allergies

Research into the toxin of the world’s only venomous primate, the slow loris, is shedding light on the potential origins of the allergic qualities of cats. An international team, led by University of Queensland’s Associate Professor Bryan Fry, has been studying slow lorises at the Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre in Indonesia. The bite of the … Read more Primate venom sheds light on why so many people suffer cat allergies

How and when spines changed in mammalian evolution

From the long necks of giraffes that help them reach treetops to the flexibility of a cheetah’s spine that help it go from zero to sixty in three seconds, mammals not only have the figurative backbone to do amazing things but, more importantly, they have the literal one. But they weren’t always that way. A … Read more How and when spines changed in mammalian evolution

Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife

Conservationists should be wary of assuming that genetic diversity loss in wildlife is always caused by humans, as new research published today by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) reveals that, in the case of a population of southern African lions (Panthera leo), it’s likely caused by ecological rather than human factors. Published … Read more Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife

Female chimps with powerful moms are less likely to leave home

In chimpanzee society, males spend their entire lives in the group where they were born, cooperating to defend their territory, while females tend to move away. But some chimp females seem less willing to cut the apron strings. New findings from researchers at Duke University and North Carolina State University show that female chimpanzees with … Read more Female chimps with powerful moms are less likely to leave home

The birds and the bats: Evolving to fly may have had big effect on gut microbiome

It’s no secret there’s a close relationship between humans and our microbiomes – the communities of microbes that live in and on us. In fact, researchers can usually guess what an animal’s gut microbiome might look like by studying closely related species. Or at least, that’s what they thought. It turns out that while there’s … Read more The birds and the bats: Evolving to fly may have had big effect on gut microbiome

Meerkat mobs do ‘war dance’ to protect territory

Meerkat clans perform a ‘war dance’ to frighten opponents and protect their territory, according to a new UCL and University of Cambridge study. Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, this is the first empirical study to reveal intergroup aggression. The researchers, who monitored hundreds of these intergroup encounters over 11 years, show that meetings … Read more Meerkat mobs do ‘war dance’ to protect territory

Koalas climb like apes but bound on the ground like marsupials

Spread across the globe, from Central and South America to Japan, non-human primates have a toehold that almost spans the tropics, but they never made it to Australia. Christofer Clemente, from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, explains that a marsupial got to grips with life in the trees instead. Equipped with two thumbs … Read more Koalas climb like apes but bound on the ground like marsupials