Science online, Darwin 201 edition

Today is, of course, the 201st anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. This not being a big, round number, there are somewhat fewer festivities planned than last year. Over at Ecographica, Johnny’s taken the effort to assemble some new celebratory links. Meanwhile, online science writers continue to explore the “endless forms most beautiful” of the natural world:

Photo by SARhounds.
  • Big-beaked hornbills have short little tongues, so they feed by scooping up food in their beaks, and then tossing it back with a shake of their heads in a “ballistic” feeding maneuver. (NeroDojo)
  • Species at low levels of the food chain seem to be shifting their seasonal habits to compensate for climate change more rapidly than species at higher levels. (Conservation Magazine)
  • A new survey estimates that, in one upstate New York county, 45,000 mammals are road-killed every year. (Conservation Magazine, again)
  • Conservation plans focused on carbon-sequestering regions would probably also preserve a lot of biodiversity – but they’d also miss some critical diversity hotspots. (Conservation Maven)
  • Two variants of a gene involved in muscle development are correlated with the performance of thoroughbred racehorses. (Living the Scientific Life)
  • Two genes have been identified that seem to be associated with stuttering. Curiously, they both code for proteins involved in a cellular process that doesn’t have any obvious connection to speech. (Imagining Geek)