Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation

Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation
Most animals — from flies to people — sleep much more when very young. A new report traces this increased sleep to the brain chemical dopamine. Holy cow! Here’s the ‘so-what’: Later on, the sleep-short flies had less interest in mating! More »

The cockroach

The cockroach

An extermination trick that married insecticide with sugar worked for a while — but then suddenly lost its power against roaches. Now science tells us why, as it highlights once again how human actions affect natural selection. More »

Monkey: When in Rome…

Monkey: When in Rome…

If you teach a group of monkeys that blue corn tastes yucky, they switch to pink corn. What happens when a monkey raised to detest pink corn enters the group? You might be surprised! More »

To play, and therefore to mate

To play, and therefore to mate

Are we affecting the character of future generations by the way we choose mates? If choosing attractive mates tends to make the grandchildren more attractive, what about choosing mates who like to laugh or have fun? More »

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

How do homing pigeons find their way on their amazing migrations? Scientists thought iron-bearing nerve cells in the beak can detect Earth’s magnetic field. But those iron granules are in immune cells. How do they do it? More »

Dr. Darwin teaches robot!

Dr. Darwin teaches robot!

A crash course in “sink or swim” teaches computerized robots to adapt to changing circumstances. When taught by “directed evolution,” robots that started without legs learned to walk sooner than robots that started with legs! Can you explain? More »

New math mavens = pigeons?

New math mavens = pigeons?

Can pigeons learn an abstract mathematical rule? Apparently, according to a new study, which asked pigeons to place, five blue dots and eight green squares, in ascending order. Now we know birds and primates can both do this, but where and why did this ability originate? More »

Brain under threat

black and white graphic of frightened eyes

In just a moment, our brains can go from calm, deliberate and focused, to alert, agitated and aroused. New neural networks get activated during the transition. Now a study of the fight-or flight-response fingers a common hormone in triggering the brainwide changes. More »

Cooperation: It’s in the bird’s brain!

Cooperation: It's in the bird's brain!

Plain-tailed wrens in the Andean cloud forest sing a complex, two-part song, where timing is everything. New research shows that both parties keep a memory of the full song in their brain, even though they only sing half of it. More »

Genetics of the body snatchers!

Genetics of the body snatchers!

athogens can change the behavior of their hosts — and now we see that a single viral gene forces a caterpillar to climb a tree before it dies. From that high vantage, the virus can infect more caterpillars. It’s nifty and thrifty, unless you’re a gypsy moth! More »

Amoeba: Secrets of the micro-farm

Amoeba: Secrets of the micro-farm

Found: The smallest farmers in the world! If you’re hungry, and moving to a land without food, the smart money says, “Take some seeds.” And that’s exactly what a common soil amoeba does: It totes along bacteria so it can eat them in its new home. More »

Maggots, leeches, parasitic worms

Maggots, leeches, parasitic worms

Meet three gross “biotherapies”: Leeches suck blood after surgery. Maggots clear dead tissue from wounds. Parasitic worms fight ulcerative colitis. Back to the future, here we go! More »

Treatment defeats phony hormones!

Treatment defeats phony hormones!
When chemicals in the water trigger the endocrine system, male fish can start looking and acting female. What happens once chemicals from plastics, drugs and our own endocrine system are flushed down the toilet? Can we prevent them from entering our streams and harming wildlife? More »

In detail: How learning changes brain

In detail: How learning changes brain
Changes in the junctions between nerve cells determine how well a bird will learn to sing. Regular change in these junctions helps the bird remember the song of its species, which it needs to learn to reproduce that song. Study could explain why older people have such trouble learning a new language. More »

Sustaining symbiosis – new clues

Sustaining symbiosis - new clues

To hide from hungry fish, this animal houses luminous bacteria. But what prevents the bacteria from reproducing and killing the squid? At last, a genetic a balancing mechanism is revealed. More »