Giraffes surprise biologists yet again

A group of juvenile giraffes. Photo: Zoe Muller
New research from the University of Bristol has highlighted how little we know about giraffe behaviour and ecology. It is commonly accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being killed, and there are 'many eyes' to spot any potential predation risk. Now, in the first study of its kind, Bristol PhD student Zoe Muller from the School of Biological Sciences has found that this is not true for giraffes, and that the size of giraffe groups is not influenced by the presence of predators. Zoe Muller said...

280 million-year-old fossil from South Africa reveals origins of chimaeroid fishes

Discovery allows scientists to connect the last major vertebrate group to the tree of life
Discovery allows scientists to connect the last major vertebrate group to the tree of life High-definition CT scans of the fossilized skull of a 280 million-year-old fish reveal the origin of chimaeras, a group of cartilaginous fish related to sharks. Analysis of the brain case of Dwykaselachus oosthuizeni , a shark-like fossil from South Africa, shows telltale structures of the brain, major cranial nerves, nostrils and inner ear belonging to modern-day chimaeras. This discovery, published early online in Nature on Jan. 4, allows scientists to firmly anchor chimaeroids—the last major...

Nature’s Backbone at Risk

The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s vertebrates confirms an extinction crisis with one-fifth of species threatened. However, the situation would be worse were it not for current global conservation efforts, according to a study launched at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.


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