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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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The Sawfish's Versatile Hunting Tool
5 March 2012 12:46 pm
Like a crazed sous-chef, the sawfish slices and dices using its long, sharp snout. But that's just one of this unique tool's applications, new research suggests. Scientists have long wondered what largetooth sawfish (Pristis microdon) do with their imposing paddle-shaped snouts ringed with sharp teeth. It turns out the organs are part homing devices and part deadly blades, researchers report online today in Current Biology. The team observed sawfish, predators native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, stalking mullet and other fish in captivity. When swimming in for the kill, the assassins often swiped their saws in the water or just over the sea bottom (see video), even using the weapon to cut unlucky mullet in two. But the sawfish's snout isn't just a carving knife. When the researchers used electrodes to create small electric pulses like the ones made by fish when they contract their muscles, sawfish immediately pointed their saws at the source, hinting that the organs also sense their prey's electric footprints.
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