Photo by Jonathan Cohen.
- It’s the hot new pigment this season. A just-discovered form of chlorophyll allows the algae that produce it to photosynthesize using infrared light. (Wired Science)
- One, two, three … many? Studies of monkeys, babies, and chickens suggest that the ability to count small numbers is innate, and separate from the ability to count larger numbers. (The Thoughtful Animal)
- Can you hear me now? On the Galapagos islands, marine iguanas listen for the alarm calls of mockingbirds to know if a predator is approaching. (The Thoughtful Animal)
- Crocodile tears from the Adaptationist Programme. Crying confers fitness advantages by eliciting empathetic responses. Or something like that. (NPR)
- Long-term forecast: 60% chance of dueling results. Remember all that oil in the Gulf of Mexico that hadn’t magically disappeared? Analysis of DNA microbial DNA sampled in that oil plume just found lots of oil-eating bacteria. (Deep Sea News, Wired Science, NPR; original peer-reviewed article in Science [$a])
- Climate’s changing, with or without you. As temperatures warm throughout the Mojave Desert, Joshua tree, my favorite woody monocot, may disappear from 90% of its present range. (Voltage Gate)
- 10-mm frogs. Discovered living inside pitcher plants. (io9, Wired Science; species description in Zootaxa [PDF])
I start another semester as Teaching Assistant for Mammalogy next week, so here’s David Attenborough discussing mammalian dentition, with reference to an ancient omnivore I’d never heard about up to now.