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Bird migration

Image via eBird

The Year in Biomimicry: How Beetles, Mantis Shrimp & More Inspired Innovation

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Image: Katharina Fritsch via Matthew Marks Gallery

Bird Song Yields a New Understanding of Cooperation

Image credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

“Rapidly alternating their singing back and forth, female and male wrens cooperate to sing a duet that sounds as if a single bird sang it. The researchers assumed that the brain of each bird would have a memory of its own part of the duet, and also have a memory of the cues from its partner. They were surprised to find that both brains had a record of the complete duet–a performance that neither bird can do by itself.”
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Algae compound in coral could be mimicked for novel sunscreen

Image: (cc)

Tropical coral could be used to create novel sunscreens for human use, say scientists

Researchers at King’s College London have discovered how coral produces natural sunscreen compounds to protect itself from damaging UV rays, leading scientists to believe these compounds could form the basis of a new type of sunscreen for humans.

Swarms of locusts use social networking to communicate

“The enormous success of social networking sites has vividly illustrated the importance of networking for humans; however for some animals, keeping informed about others of their kind is even more important.

In a study published today  in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics, researchers have shown that swarming, a phenomenon that can be crucial to an animal’s survival, is created by the same kind of social networks that humans adopt.”