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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: Small Birds Make Epic Voyage
14 February 2012 7:01 pm
Look out, Phileas Fogg. Tiny Arctic birds make the globe-trotting hero of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days seem like a slowpoke. The breeding grounds of the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), which weighs only about 25 grams, stretch along frozen tundra from Eurasia to Eastern Canada and Alaska. To see where they spend their chilly winters, researchers recently studied clues hidden in the hardy animals' feathers and even tagged a few with lightweight trackers. The birds don't just migrate, they fly amazing races, the team reports online today in Biology Letters. Eastern Canadian nesters seem to cross through Greenland and south into Western Africa—an already impressive journey. But their Alaskan kin put them to shame. Come the cold, these intrepid explorers travel over Russia and the Arabian Dessert before plopping down mostly near Kenya , almost at the opposite end of the continent from their fellows. Wheatears complete this 14,500 kilometer journey in nearly 90 days, too, a marathon migration very rare for such little birds.
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