It sounds like the plot of the world’s tiniest horror movie: deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a newly discovered species of wasp transforms a “social” spider into a zombie-like drone that abandons its colony to do the wasp’s bidding. That’s the gruesome, real-life discovery by University of British Columbia researchers, who detail the first example

New research has shed light on the origin and extinction of a giant, shaggy Ice Age rhinoceros known as the Siberian unicorn because of its extraordinary single horn. An international team of researchers from Adelaide, Sydney, London, the Netherlands, and Russia, have settled a long-standing debate about the relationship of the Siberian unicorn to living

When a pathogen enters their colony, ants change their behavior to avoid the outbreak of disease. In this way, they protect the queen, brood and young workers from becoming ill. These results, from a study carried out in collaboration between the groups of Sylvia Cremer at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)

During the Triassic period (252-201 million years ago) mammal-like reptiles called therapsids co-existed with ancestors to dinosaurs, crocodiles, mammals, pterosaurs, turtles, frogs, and lizards. One group of therapsids are the dicynodonts. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, together with colleagues in Poland, have discovered fossils from a new genus of gigantic dicynodont. The new species

A group of international researchers has discovered how plant root hair grows straight and long. Many studies of root hair growth have been performed, but the molecular mechanism for the suppression of growth on the sides of root hair had not been clarified until now. Root hair increases the surface area of the root which

These days, mammals can use their forelimbs to swim, jump, fly, climb, dig and just about everything in between, but the question of how all that diversity evolved has remained a vexing one for scientists. To help answer it, Harvard researchers are turning to one of the most unusual mammals around — echidnas. These sprawling,

Research at the Earlham Institute into one of the ‘genetic orchestra conductors’, microRNAs, sheds light on our selectively guided evolution of domestic pets and farmyard animals such as dogs and cows. What does a cow, a horse, a pig, a rabbit and a dog have in common, and how similar or dissimilar are their genetic

Birds are the surviving descendants of predatory dinosaurs. However, since the likes of Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, some parts of their anatomy have become radically transformed. The skull, for instance, is now toothless, and accommodates much larger eyes and brain. Skulls are like 3-D puzzles made of smaller bones: As the eye socket and brain case

Researchers reporting in Current Biology on November 19 have found that a vast array of regularly spaced, still-inhabited termite mounds in northeastern Brazil—covering an area the size of Great Britain—are up to about 4,000 years old. The mounds, which are easily visible on Google Earth, are not nests. Rather, they are the result of the

In most animal societies, members of one sex dominate those of the other. Is this, as widely believed, an inevitable consequence of a disparity in strength and ferocity between males and females? Not necessarily. A new study on wild spotted hyaenas shows that in this social carnivore, females dominate males because they can rely on

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