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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: Tree Gliders Are Energy Wasters
28 July 2011 12:15 am
Gliding from tree to tree may not be as relaxing as it looks. A number of small mammals, including the colugo—a flying lemur (Galeopterus variegates) native to southeast Asia and the Philippines—get around by climbing up trees and then gliding across the canopies an average distance of 30 meters. But these animals could save more energy if they just ran on all fours, according to a study published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology. By attaching small data-logging packs with motion sensors to the backs of four colugos, researchers found that it takes one-and-a-half times more energy for the animals to climb up a tree and glide from point A to B than it does for them to move the same distance through the trees. So why do they do it? Perhaps, the researchers suggest, gliding in mammals evolved for survival reasons: since they feed on canopy leaves, gliding may have protected them if they fell from the branches. It also may have helped them escape from predators, giving a new meaning to the phrase "fight or flight."
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