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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: What the Snow Leopard Ate
29 February 2012 5:00 pm
Snow leopards don't invite scientists along on their solitary hunts. So the usual ways to find out what the endangered Asian cats eat are to ask the local people, find the animals' kill sites, or analyze the little presents they leave behind - i.e. collecting snow leopard poop and examining the bits of hair, bone, and teeth that pass through their guts. But a lot of hairs look alike, and scientists have a hard time figuring out if they're looking at scat from a snow leopard or from another local predator. So a group of researchers tried out a new method in the mountains of southern Mongolia: analyzing DNA in 88 fecal samples. Each sample had remains of only one species of prey, the team reports today in PloS One, and there were only five different prey animals: Siberian ibex, by far the most common; the endangered argali sheep; domestic goat; domestic sheep; and, in one sample, a chukar partridge. Wild animals made up 79% of the prey, which is more than other studies have found—and good news for local livestock owners.
See more ScienceShots.