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19 April 2017

Gut bacteria affect ageing [MedicalXPress]

It loses its pigments, its motor skills and mental faculties decline, it gets cancer – the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) struggles with the same signs of old age that affect many other living creatures. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne have studied the effect of intestinal microbiota on ageing and lifespan. Their results show that older animals remain active for longer and live longer if they receive the intestinal bacteria of younger members of the species. The results suggest that microorganisms in the gut affect the ageing of an organism.

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18 April 2017

Megafaunal extinctions driven by too much moisture [Phys]

Studies of bones from Ice Age megafaunal animals across Eurasia and the Americas have revealed that major increases in environmental moisture occurred just before many species suddenly became extinct around 11-15,000 years ago. The persistent moisture resulting from melting permafrost and glaciers caused widespread glacial-age grasslands to be rapidly replaced by peatlands and bogs, fragmenting populations of large herbivore grazers.

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18 April 2017

Origins of an enigmatic genus of Asian butterflies carrying mythological names decoded [PenSoft]

A group of rare Asian butterflies which have once inspired an association with Hindu mythological creatures have been quite a chaos for the experts. In fact, their systematics turned out so confusing that in order to decode their taxonomic placement, scientists had to dig up their roots some 43 million years back.

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18 April 2017

The bright lights of big cities help blackbirds thrive [New Scientist]

Light pollution is a problem for many animals, but at least one bird seems to welcome it. European blackbirds choose to nest near street lights, and appear to thrive as a result.

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18 April 2017

You can call her queen bee: the role of epigenetics in honeybee development [The Molecular Ecologist]

Insects have social lifestyles that are often organized in castes. Within the insect community, different individuals specialize, each having a unique role. This efficient method of doling out the workload, ultimately, is believed to be why social insect lifestyles are successful. However, how it’s determined who does what is really pretty cool.

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