Nature news roundup August 9 2013

white-tailed deer

  • I have always wondered why a cottontail rabbit or white-tailed deer concerned with escaping from danger would fly a white flag of a tail. A study using human gamers by Dirk Semmann, evolutionary biologist at University of Göttingen, suggests the white tail confuses a predator when its quarry turns sharply. (
  • While Europe’s butterflies are in sharp decline, two Florida species have been declared extinct. (
  • With the discovery of benign fungi species related to the one that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers from the US Forest Service hope this will help find a cure. The disease has killed about six million bats of various species in North America since 2006. (redOrbit)
  • The world’s first test-tube hamburger was served this week in London. Raised from cattle stem cells, it was the result of a five-year science experiment and a cost of over $340,000 CAD. Researchers hope the technology can provide an environmental and ethical alternative to the costs of raising beef. (Reuters)
  • New mothers who live in urban areas run a higher risk of postpartum depression, finds a new study. Scientist Simone Vigod of Women’s College Research Institute hypothesizes her results may reflect social isolation in cities. (Global News)
  • Camping for a week can help reset your circadian rhythm. Exposure to natural light caused participants in a study group to shift their sleeping times up to two hours earlier. Night owls showed the biggest shift toward becoming morning people, according to researcher Kenneth Wright, Jr., at University of Colorado. (LiveScience)
  • Certain pervasive creatures insinuate themselves into our cultural consciousness. You cannot spend much time in an Ontario city without encountering Canada geese and raccoons. It is always intriguing when naturalists from other parts of the world share portraits of species common to them, exotic to us. For example, Duncan Wright introduces us to the restless New Zealand fantail. (10,000 Birds)

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