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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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ScienceShot: Whale Sharks Soak Up the Sun
16 October 2012 7:01 pm
Whale sharks that make lengthy dives into the cold ocean depths to forage tend to spend a lot of time at the surface warming up afterward, a new study suggests. Researchers tagged four whale sharks with devices that recorded water depth and temperature, among other factors, at least once every minute. Typically these immense creatures, the world's largest fish, traveled directly to and from the surface and spent very little time at the deepest portion of their dives. But in about one dive of every six, the animals dove deep—on average, to depths of about 340 meters—and spent about 145 minutes there, presumably foraging. Analyses of data for these lengthy dives reveal that the colder the waters were at maximum depth, the more time the whale sharks spent basking at the surface immediately afterward, the researchers report online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. This hints that the cold-blooded fish are using their postdive respites to regain body heat lost while swimming in the frigid deep. Regaining body heat may help the creatures better digest their recent meals, the researchers note, because the warmer the whale sharks are, the more quickly and efficiently their metabolic activity proceeds.
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