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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
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ScienceShot: A Duck Identity Crisis
19 May 2010 11:38 am
When ethologist Konrad Lorenz famously raised a flock of geese in the 1930s, they "imprinted" on him, following him around and treating him like their mother. But for so-called "parasitic" animals, growing up with another species is normal. Redhead ducks, for example, frequently lay their eggs in canvasback duck nests to co-opt the other ducks' energy and food for their own young. So how do they avoid the lifelong confusion that plagued Lorenz's geese? They don't, researchers report online tomorrow in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists swapped ducklings, raising 16 male canvasbacks among redheads and 16 male redheads among canvasbacks, and found that early cross-species imprinting led to courtship chaos for both parasitic and nonparasitic ducks. The canvasback-raised redhead males pursued canvasback females instead of fellow redheads, and redhead-raised canvasbacks (like the male pictured above left) courted redhead females (above right)—and met with hostile rejections. The findings reveal that even parasitic animals aren't safe from the confusion of cross-species imprinting, and leave unanswered the question of how redhead ducks eventually find their way back to their wintering grounds and the company of their own kind.
See more ScienceShots.