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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: Sea Turtles Smell Nearby Shores
1 November 2013 12:45 pm
A loggerhead sea turtle’s nose knows land. Sea turtles can migrate across the ocean and back, but while Earth’s magnetic field plays a role in their navigation, researchers have wondered what other tools turtles use to find safe harbor, particularly at smaller scales. Loggerheads’ (Caretta caretta, pictured) olfactory systems can sense airborne odors, including food—could they sniff out nearby shores as well? To find out, researchers piped the scent of either distilled water or mud from North Carolina’s Sage Bay into the air above a juvenile loggerhead at swim in an arena. Researchers report in this month’s issue of Marine Biology that when the scent of mud was in the air, the 10 turtles spent more time swimming with their heads above the water’s surface, compared with when distilled water was the only perfume. (An additional series of tests checked turtles’ responses to fragrances including jasmine, lemon, and cinnamon against the mud—mud was still what drew turtles to the surface, suggesting that they weren’t merely responding to any new scent.) Researchers say these turtles’ ability to smell land, shown for the first time in this study, could help the reptiles find the shore, draw them to food along the shoreline, or both.