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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Songbirds Stay Cool for Their Kids
18 October 2011 7:01 pm
Call it the bird version of yoga. Red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra), small, yellow-breasted songbirds hailing from the western United States, keep mellow for the sake of their offspring. During chilly months when the living gets tough, reproductively active crossbills tend to have fewer stress hormones—or corticosterones—churning through their veins than their nonrambunctious counterparts, researchers report online today in Biology Letters. This absence makes sense: Stress hormones can give critters a survival edge by, for instance, helping birds and other animals tap their sugar stores. But this stress response is also inherently selfish. Birds with too much corticosterone often abandon their nests, leaving offspring to the elements. Crossbills may thus dampen the flow of stress hormones to ensure that their chicks survive, risking their own health in the process. If only they could learn the warrior pose.
See more ScienceShots.