Length of Pregnancy Influenced by Placenta Structure

Some humans  placentas do not form the complex structure seen in animals

The nine-month pregnancy in humans is influenced by the structure of the placenta, according to new research into the evolution of reproduction in mammals which ends a 100-year mystery.

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Sharks and Wolves: Prey Interactions Similar on Land and in Oceans

major predators help control the populations of their prey… (but not people)

There may be many similarities between the importance of large predators in marine and terrestrial environments, researchers concluded in a recent study, which examined the interactions between wolves and elk in the United States, as well as sharks and dugongs in Australia.

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For Bats, All Smooth, Horizontal Surfaces Are Water

trying to drink from a smooth metal plate.

For bats, any smooth, horizontal surface is water. That’s true even if vision, olfaction or touch tells them that the surface is actually a metal, plastic or wooden plate. Bats therefore rely more on their ears than on any other sensory system. This is due to how smooth surfaces reflect the echolocation calls of bats: they act just like mirrors. In nature there are no other extended, smooth surfaces, so these mirror properties prove to be a reliable feature for recognition of water surfaces.

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Wild Cat Found Mimicking Monkey Calls; Predatory Trickery Documented for the First Time in Wild Felids in Americas

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Marguay

In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

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Is an Animal’s Agility Affected by the Position of Its Eyes?

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Researchers sampled the relationship between agility and vision between frontal eyed species, such as cats, to lateral-eyed mammals, such as rabbits, to establish if the positioning of the eyes resulted in limitations to speed and agility.

New research from scientists in Liverpool has revealed the relationship between agility and vision in mammals. The study, published in the Journal of Anatomy, sampled 51 species to compare the relationship between agility and vision between frontal eyed species, such as cats, to lateral-eyed mammals, such as rabbits, to establish if the positioning of the eyes resulted in limitations to speed and agility.

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Are High Speed Elephants Running or Walking?

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Young African Elephant leaving a waterhole in the Savute/Savuti area of Chobe N.P. in Botswana.

Most animals don’t think anything of breaking into a run: they switch effortlessly from walking to a high-speed bouncing run. But what about elephants? Their sheer size makes it impossible for them to bounce up in the air at high speeds. So how are high-speed elephants moving: are they running or walking?

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In Bats and Whales, Convergence in Echolocation Ability Runs Deep

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Dolphin.

Only some bats and toothed whales rely on sophisticated echolocation, in which they emit sonar pulses and process returning echoes, to detect and track down small prey. Now, two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.

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Bat Echolocation: 3-D Imaging Differentiates How Various Bats Generate Biosonar Signals

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The Bat can generate and use Biosonar Signals.

Researchers at The University of Western Ontario (Western) led an international and multi-disciplinary study that sheds new light on the way that bats echolocate. With echolocation, animals emit sounds and then listen to the reflected echoes of those sounds to form images of their surroundings in their brains.

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Understanding Why Leopards Can’t Change Their Spots

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Leopard. The leopard cannot change its spots, nor can the tiger change its stripes, but new research tells us something about how cats end up with their spots and stripes.

The leopard cannot change its spots, nor can the tiger change its stripes, but a new research report published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Genetics tells us something about how cats end up with their spots and stripes. It demonstrates for the first time that at least three different genes are involved in the emergence of stripes, spots, and other markings on domestic cats.

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CSI Sharks: New Forensic Technique Gives Clues About Sharks from Bite Damage

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A tiger shark (Galeocerdo curvier) swims toward the camera as lemon sharks (negaprion brevirostris) eat behind her.

Hit-and-run attacks by sharks can be solved with a new technique that identifies the culprits by the unique chomp they put on their victims, according to a University of Florida researcher and shark expert.

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