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Animal Behavior

August 26, 2006 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
The noise came from the trees: crack, crack, crack. As the researchers and their village guides crept closer, they saw something that was not supposed to be happening in the Ebo forest in the central African nation of Cameroon: chimpanzees using rocks as hammers to break open tough-shelled nuts. Previous research had found that kind of tool use only in chimps 1,000 miles away, across the wide N'Zo-Sassandra River in Ivory Coast.
August 12, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Sooty shearwaters may not look like much, but when it comes to miles logged, the gray birds put marathoners, cyclists and pretty much everyone else to shame. Shearwaters cover 40,000 miles annually in search of food, the longest migration recorded electronically, according to a report in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers, led by Scott A.
July 15, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Meerkats actively teach their young how to catch and eat their prey, British researchers reported Friday in the journal Science. Animals are known to learn from one another by watching, but the team at the University of Cambridge said they had demonstrated for the first time that the meerkats actually teach. Older meerkats, for instance, will bite the stinger off a live scorpion and give the prey to a youngster to kill and eat.
July 2, 2006 | Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer
Atop a great white pine, Big is venturing out on limbs now, spreading his or her wings in preparation for flight. Little, four days younger, also is branching out and should take to the sky soon. The two bald eagles and their parents are the surprise superstars of a round-the-clock Internet reality show featuring love and adventure, flight and feeding -- and fatal sibling rivalry.
June 24, 2006 | Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer
Four pelicans were being detained in an animal drunk tank Friday on suspicion of public intoxication, authorities said. One of the birds was in guarded condition after allegedly flying under the influence Thursday and crashing through the windshield of a car on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. The driver was rattled but uninjured. The other California brown pelicans were nabbed in backyards or wandering local streets in a daze.
June 17, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may be turning to cannibalism because longer ice-free seasons are making it more difficult to hunt the ringed seals that are its principal food source. A study published in the online version of the journal Polar Biology reviewed three examples of predation from January to April 2004 by polar bears, including the first-ever reported killing of a female in a den shortly after giving birth. Polar bears do kill each other for dominance and breeding rights.
June 6, 2006 | Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer
They're baaaack. In a sequel to last summer's aquatic uprising, a rowdy gang of sea lions has floated into Newport Harbor for "Attack of the Blubbered Beasts, Part 2." This time, however, city officials hope to fight back with an offbeat weapon: an automated water gun that resembles "a demented toucan." Invented by a former radio announcer from Canada, the gadget has been used elsewhere to successfully ward off kangaroos, bears, vultures and moose. But sea lions don't give up easily.
May 6, 2006 | From Bloomberg
A tiny black-and-white songbird that flies from West Africa to the Netherlands to lay its eggs in mid-April is arriving too late for dinner, in what may be one of the subtler consequences of global warming, a new study says. The number of European pied flycatchers has dropped 90% in some areas because the supply of caterpillars is peaking earlier, leaving the birds with no food for their chicks, according to results in this week's issue of the journal Science.
February 3, 2006 | From Reuters
Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who fans claim is never wrong, predicted six more weeks of winter Thursday, matching the forecast of professional meteorologists. "Phil is incapable of error. If he says six more weeks of winter, you can take it to the bank," said Mike Johnston of the Groundhog Club Inner Circle. According to legend, when the rodent emerges from hibernation Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. Otherwise, warmer weather is near.
January 21, 2006 | John Daniszewski, Times Staff Writer
For a city that likes to think it has seen most everything, the spectacle Friday of a whale swimming past Parliament and the Millennium Eye and on up the Thames to the posh precincts around Chelsea, 40 miles from the nearest sea, just about took the pudding.
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