Princeton University research suggests that idle conversation could be a social-bonding tool passed down from primates. The researchers found that ringtailed lemurs (above) use vocalizations far more selectively than previously thought, primarily exchanging calls with individuals with which they have close relationships. The findings could have implications for how scientists understand the evolution of primate

A panda in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve, snacks on bamboo. Efforts to conserve panda habitat have benefited both other animals and plants, but also has benefited humans by bolstering forests to sequester greenhouse gases, and retain water and soil. Credit: Sue Nichols, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University Loving pandas isn’t just

This female mountain lion, known as F52, was collared in the Santa Ana range. She later died near a busy highway of unknown causes. Mountain lions in the Santa Ana range are effectively cut off from those on the other side of I-15, which strongly contributes to their genetic decay. If a dangerously inbred puma

Artist’s impression of how Victorian palaeontologists thought the Megalosaurus looked (R) is compared with how we now understand it to have looked (L). Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick Pioneering technology has shed fresh light on the world’s first scientifically-described dinosaur fossil — over 200 years after it was first discovered — thanks to research by

Wolves and dogs are sensitive to inequity. Credit: Robert Bayer Not only dogs but also wolves react to inequity — similar to humans or primates. This has been confirmed in a new study by comparative psychologists of the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Wolves and dogs refused to cooperate in

Younger capuchin monkeys turn to older animals to learn how to open Panama fruit. But even experienced monkeys will pick up a new technique that is more efficient. Credit: Photo by Brendan Barrett, UC Davis Wild capuchin monkeys readily learn skills from each other — but that social learning is driven home by the payoff

A new study reconfigures the elephant family tree, placing the giant extinct elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus closer to the African forest elephant, Loxodonta cyclotis, than to the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, which was once thought to be its closest living relative. Credit: Graphic by Asier Larramendi Eskorza and Julie McMahon New research reveals that a species

No experience with human speech is necessary for budgerigars to perceive the difference between ‘d’ and ‘t’, according to a study published May 31, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mary Flaherty from The State University of New York, Buffalo, USA, and colleagues. Credit: Mary Flaherty; CCAL No experience with human speech is

The Mojave Desert is home to a population of desert tortoises negatively affected by invasive grasses and an upper respiratory disease. ASU life sciences researchers and their collaborators have decoded the animal’s genome. This information should help guide how this threatened species is managed and may improve its chances of long-term survival. Credit: Sandra Leander/ASU

Detail from an embryo of the scalidophoran Markuelia from the Middle Cambrian of Australia. Credit: Philip Donoghue – University of Bristol The origin of animals was one of the most important events in the history of Earth. Beautifully preserved fossil embryos suggest that our oldest ancestors might have existed a little more than half a

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