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University of Vienna, Alice Auersperg, Cornelia Habl, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Goffin cockatoo, NUT, tool-use, cognitive biologists, Parrot

The Key to a Nut

The Goffin's cockatoo is not a specialised tool user in the wild but has shown the capacity to invent and use different types of tools in captivity. Now cognitive biologists from the University of Vienna and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna tested these parrots in a tool use task, requiring the birds to move objects in relation to a surface. The animals had to choose the correct "key" to insert into a "keyhole" in a box, aligning its shape to the shape of a surface cutout inside the box during insertion. The parrots were not only able to select the correct key but also required fewer placement attempts to align simple shapes than primates in a similar study.





Law and Public Policy


Rural Health, Healthcare, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National 4-H Council, Appalachia, Health Disparities, Racial Disparities, Prevention, Health Policy

Closing the Rural Health Gap: Media Update from RWJF and Partners on Rural Health Disparities


Rural counties continue to rank lowest among counties across the U.S., in terms of health outcomes. A group of national organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National 4-H Council are leading the way to close the rural health gap.



Entomology, Wildlife Ecology, Food Webs, Bird Migration, Biological Conservation

Native Trees, Shrubs Provide More Food for Birds


Planting native trees and shrubs in your yard can really help songbirds. Researchers from the University of Delaware and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center studied the Carolina chickadee around Washington, D.C. and found native trees and shrubs support much more 'bird food' than non-natives do.



Amphibians, Birds, fish, Mammals, oVert, Reptiles

3-D Scanning Project of 20,000 Animals Makes Details Available Worldwide


What began as a Twitter joke between two researchers has turned into a four-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to take 3-D digital scans of 20,000 museum vertebrate specimens and make them available to everyone online.



Oil Spill, BP oil spill, Birds, Toxins, Virginia Tech, Fralin Life Science Institute, global change center

Even Small Amounts of Oil Made Birds Near Deepwater Horizon Sick, Virginia Tech Researchers Say


Blood samples taken by first responders showed that individuals exposed to small amounts of oil from the spill suffered from hemolytic anemia—a condition that occurs when toxins enter the blood stream and damage red blood cells that carry oxygen to tissues.



Sdsc, Uc San Diego, CIPRES, NSF, Phylogenetics, xsede, Tree Of Life

Exploring Evolutionary Relationships Through CIPRES


CIPRES, for CyberInfrastructure for Phylogenetic RESearch, is a web-based portal or “gateway” launched at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego that allows researchers to explore evolutionary connections among species using supercomputers provided by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) XSEDE (eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) project.



Brain Size, ancestral phylogeny, Adaptation, Environment

Which Came First: Big Brains or Demanding Environments?

Researchers in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis are challenging the notion that environment drives the evolution of brain size. A new study was released Sept. 25 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.



Birds, Evolution, Mass Extinction, Lab of Ornithology

Dino-Killing Asteroid's Impact on Bird Evolution


Human activities could change the pace of evolution, similar to what occurred 66 million years ago when a giant asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, leaving modern birds as their only descendants. That's one conclusion drawn by the authors of a new study published in Systematic Biology.



invasion biology, invasive animals, bird ecology, Policy & Politics, Complex Adaptive Systems

Monk Parakeets Invade Mexico


In a new paper published in PLOS ONE, researchers describe a recent, rapid, and ongoing invasion of monk parakeets in Mexico, and the regulatory changes that affected the species’ spread.



Conservation, bats, wildlife health

Efforts to Help Bats Survive Deadly Disease Get a Boost


Research efforts aimed at identifying bat species or individual populations that may be able to survive the arrival of deadly White-nose Syndrome (WNS) received a boost this week with the announcement of $100,000 (U.S.) in new funding for cross-border bat science.

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