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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: Fatherhood From Beyond the Grave
4 June 2013 7:01 pm
Men who become dads in their 50s may feel studly, but they've got nothing on the wild guppy. New research shows that the male Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), the ancestor of the common aquarium resident, can become a father long after death. Scientists spiked a guppy-free stretch of stream in Trinidad with 38 male and 38 female fish. Every month, they used butterfly nets and traps baited with dog food to capture the guppies in the study area—which was bounded by waterfalls, ensuring no immigrants or escapees—and then analyzed their DNA. The survey showed that almost 14% of the 540 tallied births took place after dad had died, and that a male guppy could become a father 8 months, roughly 75 years in human terms, after his demise. That allowed half of the fish to sire offspring from beyond the (watery) grave, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The male has the female to thank for this supernatural ability. A female guppy can store her consort's sperm for months in a tiny pocket inside her ovaries, which is lucky, because females live much longer than males. The arrangement benefits both sexes: Females can have babies even if the dating scene is grim, and males can reproduce for longer than their lifespan.
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