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Animal Research

SCIENCE
September 17, 2005 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
Female horseshoe bats are family-minded creatures, coupling with the same male bat year after year, scientists have found. To keep their kinship links even tighter, mothers, daughters and grandmothers often pick the same male bat to mate with. The findings, published Thursday in the journal Nature, emerged from a study of a population of greater horseshoe bats in the British countryside.
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SCIENCE
May 7, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Mice genetically engineered to produce above-normal levels of an antioxidant in their mitochondria lived about 20% longer -- an extra 5 months -- researchers from the University of Washington reported this week in the journal Science. The researchers cited the findings as evidence that antioxidants can counteract the effects of aging and disease. Mitochondria are the cell's powerhouses, and the extra antioxidant was only effective there.
NEWS
April 5, 2005 | From Times staff reports
The white shark that drew crowds to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 6 1/2 months set a record for surviving in captivity before being released Thursday. Now officials are starting to reflect on the lessons learned from their ability to keep one of the ocean's biggest and wildest creatures in a tank. "The main reason for their success was the planned methodical approach to getting her here," says Jon Hoech, general curator at the aquarium.
NATIONAL
March 25, 2005 | From Associated Press
Octopuses, known for using camouflage to avoid predators, have been observed apparently trying to sneak away by walking on two arms while pretending to be a bunch of algae. Two kinds of octopus were seen to use different ways of walking along the sea floor, researchers report in today's issue of the journal Science. The movements were discovered by Christine L. Huffard of UC Berkeley, who was studying underwater videotapes of the animals as part of a robotics project.
NEWS
March 8, 2005 | Emmett Berg
Scientists increasingly rely on new fish-tracking devices to help them recover imperiled species and get rid of nuisance ones. Sonic tags, as small as a lipstick tube and less than a gram planted inside a fish, have been fitted in more species in more conditions to collect more information. The devices help pinpoint movements as fish approach dams and other structures. Researchers tracked a fish that a pelican nabbed in Lake Davis near Portola to Pyramid Lake in Nevada.
NEWS
March 1, 2005 | Ashley Powers
Los ANGELES County bighorn sheep numbers plummeted 90% in the last two decades, making it one of the most imperiled herds in the West, but the federal government has cut funds to study the animals. Pinching pennies to balance the budget deficit, San Bernardino National Forest officials cut $650,000 for bighorn research. The agency can fund only about one-third of a study to see if terrain cleared of brush by fires helps sheep escape mountain lions.
SCIENCE
November 20, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two fossilized, pregnant marine reptiles in a museum in Taiwan have provided the first evidence that the creatures gave birth to live offspring rather than laying eggs, Canadian researchers reported this week in Nature. The fossils of two sauropterygians, a large group of marine reptiles that lived from 250 million to 65 million years ago, each contain several embryos. The fossils show the embryos facing the wrong way, suggesting that the females died in childbirth.
WORLD
November 17, 2004 | Richard C. Paddock, Times Staff Writer
For years, Trudy Richards searched the forests of Tasmania for the elusive creature with the head of a wolf, the pouch of a kangaroo and the stripes of a tiger. She put motion-sensor cameras and audio recorders in the forest. She built sand traps to capture a footprint. She trekked through the woods, her camera at the ready. She spent hours on stakeouts -- all in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the ancient thylacine. And then, she says, she finally saw one.
SCIENCE
October 27, 2004 | Alan Zarembo, Times Staff Writer
In an experiment in mice, researchers have found that treatment with an antidepressant early in life increases the appearance of depression and anxiety-like symptoms in adulthood. The researchers gave daily doses of fluoxetine, better known by the brand name Prozac, to mice from four days after birth until their normal weaning age of 3 weeks -- a period that roughly corresponds in humans to a fetus in the third trimester of pregnancy up to early childhood.
SCIENCE
September 18, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The European brown frog is one of the most thoroughly studied in the world, but researchers have found that it has a long-unsuspected reproduction strategy, one driven by the large excess of males in the population. In the higher altitudes of the Pyrenees where the study took place, on the border between France and Spain, male frogs outnumber females four- to tenfold.
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