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Current Feathers News and Events, Feathers News Articles.
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Siting cell towers needs careful planning
The health impacts of radio-frequency radiation (RFR) are still inconclusive, but the data to date warrants more caution in placing cell towers. An engineering team from Michigan Tech considers the current understanding of health impacts and possible solutions, which indicate a 500-meter (one third of a mile) buffer around schools and hospitals may help reduce risk for vulnerable populations. (2019-12-03)

Whaling and climate change led to 100 years of feast or famine for Antarctic penguins
New research reveals how penguins have dealt with more than a century of human impacts in Antarctica and why some species are winners or losers in this rapidly changing ecosystem. (2019-12-02)

Climate change and human activities threatens picky penguins
Eating a krill-only diet has made one variety of Antarctic penguin especially susceptible to the impacts of climate change, according to new research involving the University of Saskatchewan (USask) which sheds new light on why some penguins are winners and others losers in their rapidly changing ecosystem. (2019-12-02)

Researchers study chickens, ostriches, penguins to learn how flight feathers evolved
If you took a careful look at the feathers on a chicken, you'd find many different forms within the same bird -- even within a single feather. The diversity of feather shapes and functions expands vastly when you consider the feathers of birds ranging from ostriches to penguins to hummingbirds. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Cell on Nov. 27 have taken a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how all those feathers get made. (2019-11-27)

USC researchers show how feathers propel birds through air and history
A comparison of flight feathers shows key functional and structural differences that propelled birds through evolution and across the planet. (2019-11-27)

Puffins stay cool thanks to their large beak
Tufted puffins regulate their body temperature thanks to their large bills, an evolutionary trait that might explain their capacity to fly for long periods in search for food. (2019-11-27)

Optimal archery feather design depends on environmental conditions
When it comes to archery, choosing the right feathers for an arrow is the key to winning. This necessity for precision makes it crucial to understand how environment and design effect arrows in flight. (2019-11-23)

Body language key to zoo animal welfare
Watching the behavior and body language of zoo animals could be the key to understanding and improving their welfare, new research suggests. (2019-11-13)

First evidence of feathered polar dinosaurs found in Australia
A cache of 118 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur and bird feathers has been recovered from an ancient lake deposit that once lay beyond the southern polar circle. (2019-11-12)

Study addresses one of the most challenging problems in educational policy and practice
Language proficiency has an important influence on learners' ability to answer scientific questions a new joint study by Lancaster and Sheffield Universities has found. And this is particularly challenging for children from homes where English is not their first language -now a significant and increasing proportion of classrooms worldwide. (2019-10-31)

Bird bacteria is key to communication and mating
Birds use odor to identify other birds, and researchers at Michigan State University have shown that if the bacteria that produce the odor is altered, it could negatively impact a bird's ability to communicate with other birds or find a mate. (2019-10-29)

Paleontologists discover complete Saurornitholestes langstoni specimen
The discovery of a nearly complete dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes langstoni specimen is providing critical information for the evolution of theropod dinosaurs, according to new research by a University of Alberta paleontologist. (2019-10-17)

Why are there no animals with three legs?
If 'Why?' is the first question in science, 'Why not?' must be a close second. Sometimes it's worth thinking about why something does not exist. Such as a truly three-legged animal. Tracy Thomson, graduate student in the UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, has been pondering the non-existence of tripeds. (2019-10-01)

Collapse of desert bird populations likely due to heat stress from climate change
Last year, UC Berkeley biologists discovered that bird populations in the Mojave Desert had crashed over the past 100 years. The biologists now have evidence that heat stress is a key cause. Simulations with a computerized 'virtual bird' suggest that with higher temperatures, birds need more water to keep cool. Larger insectivores or carnivores should be most affected, and small seedeaters less so if drinking water is available: just as the biologists reported last year. (2019-09-30)

Scientists identify previously unknown 'hybrid zone' between hummingbird species
We usually think of a species as being reproductively isolated -- that is, not mating with other species in the wild. Occasionally, however, closely related species do interbreed. New research documents the existence of a previously undiscovered hybrid zone along the coasts of California and Oregon where two related bird hummingbirds are blurring species boundaries, and researchers hope that studying cases such as this one could improve their understanding of how biodiversity is created and maintained. (2019-09-17)

The genealogy of important broiler ancestor revealed
A new study examines the historical and genetic origins of the White Plymouth Rock chicken, an important contributor to today's meat chickens (broilers). Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, The Livestock Conservancy and Virginia Tech in the USA have used genomics to study breed formation and the roots of modern broilers. (2019-08-27)

These migratory birds will risk their lives for a good nap
As reported in the journal Current Biology on Aug. 19, migrating birds that are low on fat reserves will tuck their heads under their feathers for a deep snooze. They do so despite the fact that this more restful sleeping position slows their reaction to the sound of potential trouble. By comparison, birds in better shape stop and sleep with their head facing forward, untucked, and more alert. (2019-08-19)

How the pufferfish got its wacky spines
Pufferfish are known for their strange and extreme skin ornaments, but how they came to possess the spiky skin structures known as spines has largely remained a mystery. Now, researchers have identified the genes responsible for the evolution and development of pufferfish spines in a study publishing July 25 in the journal iScience. Turns out, the process is pretty similar to how other vertebrates get their hair or feathers. (2019-07-25)

Long live the long-limbed African chicken
For generations, household farmers in the Horn of Africa have selectively chosen chickens with certain traits that make them more appealing. Some choices are driven by the farmers' traditional courtship rituals; others are guided by more mundane concerns, such as taste and disease resistance. The result is the development of a genetically distinct African chicken -- one with longer, meatier legs, according to new research . But that 3,000-year-old local breed type is threatened by the introduction of commercial cluckers. (2019-07-16)

Blue color tones in fossilized prehistoric feathers
Examining fossilized pigments, scientists from the University of Bristol have uncovered new insights into blue color tones in prehistoric birds. (2019-06-25)

Sex, lice and videotape
University of Utah biologists demonstrated real-time adaptation in their lab that triggered reproductive isolation in just four years. They began with a single population of parasitic feather lice, split the population in two and transferred them onto different-sized hosts -- pigeons with small feathers, and pigeons with large feathers. The pigeons preened at the lice and populations adapted quickly by evolving differences in body size. When paired together, males and females that were too different or too similar in size laid zero eggs. (2019-06-10)

Feathers came first, then birds
New research, led by the University of Bristol, suggests that feathers arose 100 million years before birds -- changing how we look at dinosaurs, birds, and pterosaurs, the flying reptiles. (2019-06-03)

New leaf shapes for thale cress
Max Planck researchers equip the plant with pinnate leaves. (2019-05-23)

In a first, researchers identify reddish coloring in an ancient fossil
Researchers have for the first time detected chemical traces of red pigment in an ancient fossil -- an exceptionally well-preserved mouse, not unlike today's field mice, that roamed the fields of what is now the German village of Willershausen around 3 million years ago. (2019-05-21)

Flamingoes, elephants and sharks: How do blind adults learn about animal appearance?
They've never seen animals like hippos and sharks but adults born blind have rich insight into what they look like, a new Johns Hopkins University study found. (2019-05-21)

Gold makes invisible surfaces visible in CT
Zoologists in Cologne and Bonn have developed a new method for displaying previously invisible surface details using computer tomography. The key to success was a method from scanning electron microscopy: coating the sample with gold. (2019-05-08)

New Jurassic non-avian theropod dinosaur sheds light on origin of flight in Dinosauria
A new Jurassic non-avian theropod dinosaur from 163-million-year-old fossil deposits in northeastern China provides new information regarding the incredible richness of evolutionary experimentation that characterized the origin of flight in the Dinosauria. (2019-05-08)

Flies smell through a Gore-Tex system
A research group led by a scientist of the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) has gained important insights into how the nanopores that allow the fruit fly to detect chemicals in the air, and has identified the gene responsible for their development. (2019-04-18)

Petting zoos could potentially transmit highly virulent drug-resistant bacteria to visitors
New research presented at this year's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16) shows that petting zoos can create a diverse reservoir of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria, which could lead to highly virulent drug-resistant pathogens being passed on to visitors. (2019-04-13)

Feather mites may help clean birds' plumage, study shows
Feather mites help to remove bacteria and fungi from the feathers of birds, according to a new study by University of Alberta biologists. In fact, the relationship between these mites and their hosts could be considered mutualism, with bird feathers collecting food for mites to eat and mites providing the birds with healthier plumage. (2019-03-28)

Genetic tagging may help conserve the world's wildlife
Tracking animals using DNA signatures are ideally suited to answer the pressing questions required to conserve the world's wildlife, providing benefits over invasive methods such as ear tags and collars, according to a new study by University of Alberta biologists. (2019-03-26)

Colourful male fish have genes to thank for their enduring looks
Striking colours that are seen only in the males of some species are partly explained by gene behaviour, research into guppy fish suggests. (2019-03-22)

Ancient birds out of the egg running
Using their own laser imaging technology, Dr Michael Pittman from the Department of Earth Sciences at The University of Hong Kong and Thomas G Kaye from the Foundation for Scientific Advancement in the USA determined the lifestyle of a special hatchling bird by revealing the previously unknown feathering preserved in the fossil specimen found in the ~125 million-year-old Early Cretaceous fossil beds of Los Hoyas, Spain. (2019-03-21)

University of Utah biologists experimentally trigger adaptive radiation
Using host-specific parasites isolated on individual pigeon 'islands,' the scientists showed that descendants of a single population of feather lice adapted rapidly in response to preening. They found that preening drives rapid and divergent camouflage in feather lice transferred to different colored rock pigeons. Over four years and 60 generations, the lice evolved heritable color differences that spanned the full color range of the lice genus found on 300 bird species worldwide. (2019-03-05)

Cracking feather formation could lead to cooler birds
Scientists have revealed how bird feathers form in a wave-like motion, creating a regular pattern in the skin. The team led by the University of Edinburgh has identified chemical signals that are switched on and off in the birds' skin as feathers are arranged sequentially. (2019-02-21)

Earliest known seed-eating perching bird discovered in Fossil Lake, Wyoming
The 'perching birds,' or passerines, are the most common birds in the world today -- they include sparrows, robins, and finches. They used to be very rare. Scientists have just discovered some of the earliest relatives of the passerines, including a 52-million-year-old fossil with a thick, curved beak for eating seeds. (2019-02-07)

Poor diet may have caused nosedive in major Atlantic seabird nesting colony
The observed population crash in a colony of sooty terns, tropical seabirds in one of the UK Overseas Territories, is partly due to poor diet, research led by the University of Birmingham has found. (2019-02-03)

Imperceptible movements guide juvenile zebra finch song development
New research from Cornell University shows zebra finches engage in socially guided vocal learning, where they learn their songs by watching their mothers' reactions to their immature songs. (2019-01-31)

Structural colors, without the shimmer
Structural colors, like those found in some butterflies' wings, birds' feathers and beetles' backs, resist fading because they don't absorb light like dyes and pigments. However, the iridescence that enhances their beauty in nature is not always desirable for some applications, such as paints, color displays or printer inks. Now, researchers have developed a new method to produce structural colors that don't change with the angle of viewing. They report their results in ACS Omega. (2019-01-30)

Birds-of-paradise genomes target sexual selection
Researchers provide genome sequences for 5 birds-of-paradise species: 3 without previous genome data and 2 with improved data. Birds-of-paradise are classic examples of extreme sexual selection due to generations of females choosing mates based on 'attractiveness'. The result is unparalleled species radiation with males exhibiting vast differences in behavior and an array of exotic feathers. Analyses identified genes potentially involved in feather characteristics, and the sequences will serve as a rich resource for evolution studies. (2019-01-28)

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