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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: More Babies, More Problems
26 February 2014 1:45 pm
Raising offspring is so stressful that it could take years off your life. That’s the conclusion of a new study on Western jackdaws (Corvus monedula), crowlike birds that live in both cities and rural areas across Europe. Over an 8-year period, researchers manipulated the number of young that 186 parent birds across the Netherlands had to raise. They tracked the jackdaws with colored leg bands, ensuring that those who received extra nestlings one year also did so the next year, and those who lost nestlings always raised smaller broods. Over time, both mother and father birds who parented more young—about six or seven birds instead of two or three—had a 34% to 64% drop in remaining life expectancy, the researchers report online this month in Ecology Letters. A 2-year-old parent bird’s average remaining lifespan, for example, dropped from 2.64 years to 1.73 years. In reality, these numbers probably underestimate the total lifespan cost of reproduction, the scientists hypothesize, because the experimental setup didn’t take into consideration the effects of producing and incubating eggs. The results likely hold true for other bird species—the jackdaw’s parenting behaviors are typical for nesting birds. No word yet on whether they apply to humans.