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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Who's Your Whale Daddy?
26 June 2012 1:45 pm
Male southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) are known to "get around." Every winter, they abandon their solitary migration habits and make their way to different sites along the Southern Hemisphere, where they mate with several females. But a new study reveals that not all male southern right whales are such lotharios—and that might be a bad thing. Researchers took small skin samples from right whales inhabiting the isolated subantarctic islands of New Zealand. Paternity testing showed that local right males fathered most of the baby whales in the same pack, suggesting that they were returning to the exact same mating grounds, and very few new males were coming in to mate with the females. Though the researchers aren't sure why the males are so loyal to one mating ground, they say that their behavior could endanger this already-threatened population. Without fresh genetic material, the New Zealand population could become inbred and future generations could become unhealthy, the team reports online this month in Molecular Ecology. Sooner, rather than later, these male southern right whales have got to just put themselves out there.
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