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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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Video: Shark Embryos Sense Electric Fields
9 January 2013 5:00 pm
Sharks are one of many marine creatures that can sense electrical fields emanating from other animals, and they use this sixth sense to find prey. Brown-banded bamboo sharks can sense these fields even before they've hatched from their egg cases, researchers report today in PLOS ONE. Scientists hung 11 egg cases containing shark embryos 3 to 4 months old in a water tank in front of a bright light, exposing the developing sharks' silhouettes. Normally, an embryo pulses its gills actively. But when researchers turned on electrodes to produce an electric field near the egg cases, the unhatched sharks froze and stilled their gills for several seconds (see video). The researchers suggest that freezing is a response to the presence of possible predators, such as other sharks. By freezing, the embryo may reduce its heart rate, which in turn may also reduce its own electric field, making it harder for predators to notice it.
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