Tag Archives: bees

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles

Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. 

This decline matters because of the enormous benefits invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans, slugs and worms bring to our day-to-day lives, including pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health. (more…)

Read More

An efficient nectar mop: Bats use blood to reshape tongue for feeding

Brown University scientists have found that a species of bat uses blood flow to reshape its tongue while feeding. The quick dynamic action makes the tongue an effective “mop” for nectar and could even inspire new industrial designs. Findings are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Nectar-feeding bats and busy janitors have at least two things in common: They want to wipe up as much liquid as they can as fast as they can, and they have specific equipment for the job. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes the previously undiscovered technology employed by the bat Glossophaga soricina: a tongue tip that uses blood flow to erect scores of little hair-like structures exactly at the right time to slurp up extra nectar from within a flower. (more…)

Read More

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

*High-mountain wildflower season reduced, affecting pollinators like bees, hummingbirds*

It’s summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color.

But for how long?

Once, wildflower season in montane meadow ecosystems extended throughout the summer months. But now scientists have found a fall-off in wildflowers at mid-season. (more…)

Read More

Evolution of Human ‘Super-Brain’ Tied To Development of Bipedalism, Tool-Making

Scientists seeking to understand the origin of the human mind may want to look to honeybees — not ancestral apes — for at least some of the answers, according to a University of Colorado Boulder archaeologist.

CU-Boulder Research Associate John Hoffecker said there is abundant fossil and archaeological evidence for the evolution of the human mind, including its unique power to create a potentially infinite variety of thoughts expressed in the form of sentences, art and technologies. He attributes the evolving power of the mind to the formation of what he calls the “super-brain,” or collective mind, an event that took place in Africa no later than 75,000 years ago. (more…)

Read More

What “Pine” Cones Reveal About the Evolution of Flowers

*Research genetically traces flowers to a single common ancestor*

From southern Africa’s pineapple lily to Western Australia’s swamp bottlebrush, flowering plants are everywhere.  Also called angiosperms, they make up 90 percent of all land-based, plant life.

New research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new insights into their genetic origin, an evolutionary innovation that quickly gave rise to many diverse flowering plants more than 130 million years ago. Moreover, a flower with genetic programming similar to a water lily may have started it all. (more…)

Read More

Crocodiles 168 Times More Dangerous Than Sharks

The fears connected with shark attacks are stronger in the world today than those related to much more dangerous predators – crocodiles. However, crocodiles pose a greater threat to humans than sharks do.

A crocodile snatched Hendrik Coetzee, a South African guide, 35, from his kayak while he led an American expedition into the heart of Congo last week. Two American tourists could only watch the scene in horror as the guide was killed and eaten by the predator. They paddled to safety unharmed. Coetzee’s body has not been recovered.

Stories about croc attacks are just as terrible as they are hopeless. Experts say that it is possible to stay to fight off a shark, but it is much more difficult or even impossible to rescue themselves from an attacking croc. (more…)

Read More