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Hundreds Of Fossilized Songbirds Identified In Peruvian Tar Seeps

Researchers have puzzled together hundreds of songbird fossils excavated from what’s now a Peruvian desert dotted by just a couple species of birds. According to their findings published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, some 15,000 years ago, these tar seeps were grassy, forested areas home to dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and at least 21 species of…

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PhD Student Finds Two Massive Stars With Magnetic Fields In A Binary System

As many as half of all stars in our galaxy come in pairs called binary systems – meaning they are composed of multiple stars orbiting a common center. In a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Matt Shultz – a Canadian Ph.D. student at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada – announces the discovery of a unique stellar object: Two massive stars…

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Small Birds Warring Over Nests Resort To Parasitism

Little yellow birds called great tits are at war with smaller birds called blue tits. Great tits are stealing the nests of blue tits, and to retaliate, blue tits are sneaking their eggs into the nests of great tits, forcing them to raise chicks that aren’t their own. The two tits resort to these tactics…

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Neolithic Skeleton Reveals Ancient Case Of Rickets

The skeleton of a small, pigeon-chested woman with misshapen limbs found on the Scottish island of Tiree has been dated to the Neolithic Era. The discovery marks the earliest known case of rickets in the U.K., and is riddled with “unusual” findings. The work is published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Rickets is a disease in…

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Why The Hell Is This Pig’s Flesh Bright Blue?!

When a couple out on their ranch in Morgan Hill, California, saw a wild pig roaming the brush, they decided to shoot it and take it home for meat. After transporting the pig back home and draining its blood, the pair cut open the pig ready to skin and portion it, only to find this wild hog…

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Why Screen Time Before Bed Is Bad For Children

Sleep is an essential part of our development and wellbeing. It is important for learning and memory, emotions and behaviours, and our health more generally. Yet the total amount of sleep that children and adolescents are getting is continuing to decrease. Why? Although there are potentially many reasons behind this trend, it is emerging that screen…

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How Much Sleep Do We Need?

The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recentWall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need. So, what should the guidelines say? Unfortunately, when it comes to the amount of sleep adults require…

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Toxin Resistance Suggests That Evolution Can Be Predictable

Resistance to toxins produced by certain plants and toads has evolved independently through a similar molecular mechanism across an unprecedented range of animals, from insects to snakes to hedgehogs. The work, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, suggests that there is some predictability to evolution.  Examples of convergent evolution are everywhere: bat,…

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Perfectly Pink Dolphin Looks Like Something From A Fairytale

Pink dolphins are the sort of thing you might find in a fantasy novel, but one seems to have slipped out of the pages and jumped right into Earth’s rivers. Introducing Pinky, the perfectly pink dolphin that has been seen happily frolicking in the waterways of Louisiana, America. She was first spotted in 2007 by Captain Erik Rue, who was sailing…

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How Music Can Help Relieve Chronic Pain

As the 17th-century English playwright William Congreve said: “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” It is known that listening to music can significantly enhance our health and general feelings of well-being. An important and growing area of research concerns how music helps to mitigate pain and its negative effects. Music has been shown to reduce anxiety,…