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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Why Do Cheetahs Give Up the Hunt?
23 July 2013 7:00 pm
Cheetahs may be the world's fastest land animal, but they give up about 60% of their chases. In 1973, researchers thought they had figured out why. When they put the big cats on a treadmill, the animals stopped running after their body overheated, reaching temperatures of 40.5°C. But scientists wanted to know what happened in a real hunt, so they implanted temperature and movement sensors into six roaming cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus, pictured) in central Namibia and tracked their body temperature and activity for 7 months. (Two were killed by leopards during the study.) A cheetah's body temperature does not significantly rise during the chase, but increases on average 1.3°C after a successful hunt and 0.5°C after an unsuccessful one, researchers report online today in Biology Letters. The team speculates that this temperature spike could be stress-related as the cheetahs keep on the lookout for more dominant predators such as lions and leopards looking to snatch their dinner. Still, no one knows why the quick cats throw in the towel on most of their chases.