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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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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.
See more ScienceShots.