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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: A Birdsong Blast From the Past
3 August 2010 7:01 pm
Living a town away is the same as being stuck decades in the past, at least according to white-crowned sparrows. Researchers played four recordings to a group of male birds in Tioga Pass, California: current songs from local white-crowned males, 30-year-old songs from local males, current songs from males that live about 50 km away, and current songs from males that live 600 km away. Current local songs elicited the most aggressive response—the males dive-bombed the speakers that played the tunes—while the birds were fairly unfazed by the far, far away songs. But the males had a very similar reaction to both the 30-year-old songs and the 50 km–away songs: They waved their wings and approached the speakers, but not as closely or fiercely. The findings, reported online tomorrow in Biology Letters, could give clues to which acoustic features—such as tempo and frequency—mark a song as threatening, and how those subtle changes affect mate competition and choice over time.
See more ScienceShots.