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February 20, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
You think your dog can sit and stay? You might want to check out the pooches in Budapest, Hungary, that managed to be still for eight-minute stretches in a brain scanner without twitching their tails or moving their bodies more than three millimeters. The 11 border collies and golden retrievers, in fact, equaled or bested their 22 human cohorts in the first-ever comparison of functional magnetic resonance imagery between man and his best friend, said Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest who led the research.
February 8, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
North America's tallest bird, with a population of about 600, has lost three adults to gunfire in recent months, which "senselessly" undercuts plans to breed a thriving population of the radiant white whooping crane, wildlife authorities say. Decades of research and millions of dollars have been spent by government and private organizations to revive the species, whose population shrank to 23 in 1954, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....
February 4, 2014 | By Julie Cart
Twenty years of federal and local efforts to save the Oregon chub, a tiny minnow found only in the Willamette River Basin floodplain, have brought the fish to the verge of being taken off the endangered species list. If the effort is successful, the chub will be the first fish de-listed because its species is considered recovered. Chub thrive in habitats with little water flow and were imperiled by habitat loss and threats from nonnative fish. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and private landowners collaborated to restore habitat and natural water flows.
February 4, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
As if it weren't bad enough to breathe already, a new study has detected traces of more than 1,300 species of microbes in some of Beijing's most polluted air. Most of the microbes detected by scientists were harmless bacteria that are commonly found in soil. But the study found some bacteria and fungi that are known to cause allergies and respiratory diseases. Some of those pathogens were found in higher proportions in air samples collected on the smoggiest days. Chinese researchers conducted the analysis because they were familiar with the health consequences of air pollution and wanted to know if it contained allergens and pathogens that could be adding to the problem.
January 18, 2014 | By Carla Hall
There are so many things wrong about the Dallas Safari Club's ludicrous auction of a permit to hunt a black rhino in order to raise money for conservation of black rhinos. Let's just start with the idea that the club has the temerity to call this effort a “fundraiser,” implying some charitable goal -- when the real goal is to offer a clever way to persuade the Namibians to grant a permit outside their country (which they usually don't do) and get some public relations cover for the safari club.
January 14, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
The booming illegal international wildlife trade forced conservationists to do the unthinkable Tuesday: Brand the golden domes of two of the rarest tortoises on Earth to reduce their black market value by making it easier for authorities to trace them if stolen. "It's heartbreaking that it's come to this, but it's the right thing to do," Paul Gibbons, managing director of the nonprofit Turtle Conservancy's Behler Chelonian Center in Ventura County, said as he gently placed a 30-pound adult female ploughshare tortoise on a small table.
December 23, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
It was a snake that reportedly led to the ban on humans in the Garden of Eden. Now a reptile trade group wants to overturn a national ban on importing four giant snakes or transporting them across state lines. The United States Assn. of Reptile Keepers has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior seeking to overturn the ban on Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas and northern and southern African pythons. The suit calls the ban “injurious.” “This is a powerful day for the Reptile Nation, as we fight to protect your rights to pursue your passion and defend your businesses against unwarranted and unnecessary government intrusion," the group said in a post on its website.
December 18, 2013 | By Monte Morin
A 50,000-year-old toe bone found in a Siberian cave is giving scientists a surprising view of the breeding habits of early humans. In what has been described as a “Lord of the Rings”-type world, researchers say that Homo sapiens , Neanderthals and two other groups of early humans mingled and interbred thousands of years before all species but ours became extinct. The findings were presented Wednesday in the journal Nature by a team of scientists who sequenced the DNA from the Neanderthal toe fossil and compared it to the genomes of 25 present-day humans, as well as the genome of a sister group to Neanderthals called Denisovans.
December 5, 2013 | By Julie Cart
Although they appear to be perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering extending Endangered Species Act protection to 11 tarantula species native to India and Sri Lanka. Sometimes known as parachute spiders, the colorful and fierce-looking arachnids are threatened by the international pet trade, where vividly hued spiders can fetch a few hundred dollars apiece. they are imperiled by shrinking habitats and fragmented ranges. Should the tarantulas gain protected status here, U.S. officials could more easily prohibit their importation and sale.
November 22, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Meet the rex wrecker, a 3-ton competitor to tyrannosaurs who stoked a family rivalry over millions of years in western North America. The fossil find in central Utah, dubbed Siats meekerorum, was from the Allosauroid family, weighed around 3 tons, was as long as a boxcar and roamed what now is the intermountain West of the United States around 98 million years ago, according to a study of the find published online Friday in the journal Nature...
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