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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
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ScienceShot: Bird Brains Show Their Fear of Faces
10 September 2012 3:10 pm
Crows don't forget a face—especially one they're afraid of. Now, images of the birds' brain activity reveal what happens neurologically when they see a familiar face. Researchers from the University of Washington donned identical masks and captured 12 wild American crows. The scientists kept the birds in captivity for a month and fed them while wearing a different, "caretaker" mask. Afterward, the team showed the birds humans wearing the two different masks and monitored the crows' brain activity using positron emission tomography. The "threatening" mask the researchers wore to capture the birds activated brain regions associated with fear, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The caretaker mask worn to feed the birds, on the other hand, activated another set of regions associated with reward and motivation. These results suggest that American crows, like humans, distinguish faces by combining visual information with preexisting memories.
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