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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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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