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7 July 2017

How plants grow like human brains [Phys]

Plants and brains are more alike than you might think: Salk scientists discovered that the mathematical rules governing how plants grow are similar to how brain cells sprout connections. The new work, published in Current Biology on July 6, 2017, and based on data from 3D laser scanning of plants, suggests there may be universal rules of logic governing branching growth across many biological systems.

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6 July 2017

La difficile estimation de l’âge des baleines à bosse [Sciences & Avenir - Animaux]

Des chercheurs ont développé une technique pour estimer l’âge des baleines à bosse en se basant sur la modification de l’ADN au cours du temps. De notre envoyée spéciale à La Réunion.

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5 July 2017

Teaching threatened species to be wary of predators [Phys]

A study of burrowing bettongs in the Australian desert has shown for the first time that exposing threatened native animals to small numbers of predators in the wild teaches them how to avoid their enemies.

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5 July 2017

DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa [Phys]

Ancient mitochondrial DNA from the femur of an archaic European hominin is helping to resolve the complicated relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals. The genetic data recovered by the research team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen, provides a timeline for a proposed hominin migration out of Africa that occurred after the ancestors of Neanderthals arrived in Europe by a lineage more closely related to modern humans. These hominins interbred with Neanderthals already present in Europe, leaving their mark on the Neanderthals’ mitochondrial DNA. The study, published today in Nature Communications, pushes back the possible date of this event to between 470,000 and 220,000 years ago.

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4 July 2017

Cuckoos mimic the sound of musk hogs to avoid being eaten [New Scientist]

Bird or beast? A cuckoo seems to have learned how to mimic the sounds made by the pig-like peccaries it lives alongside, perhaps to ward off predators.

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