Tag Archives: carnivore

Dogs likely originated in Europe more than 18,000 years ago, UCLA biologists report

Wolves likely were domesticated by European hunter–gatherers more than 18,000 years ago and gradually evolved into dogs that became household pets, UCLA life scientists report.

“We found that instead of recent wolves being closest to domestic dogs, ancient European wolves were directly related to them,” said Robert Wayne, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and senior author of the research. “This brings the genetic record into agreement with the archaeological record. Europe is where the oldest dogs are found.” (more…)

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Tigers Take the Night Shift to Coexist with People

EAST LANSING, Mich.­­ – Tigers aren’t known for being accommodating, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the carnivores in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with humans.

The revelation that tigers and people are sharing exactly the same space – the same roads and trails – of Chitwan National Park flies in the face of long-held convictions in conservation circles. It also underscores how successful conservation efforts need sciences that takes into account both nature and humans.

“As our planet becomes more crowded, we need to find creative solutions that consider both human and natural systems,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University. “Sustainability can be achieved if we have a good understanding of the complicated connections between both worlds. We’ve found something very interesting is happening in Nepal that holds promise for both humans and nature to thrive.” (more…)

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Study Proves that One Extinction Leads to Another

When a carnivore becomes extinct, other predatory species could soon follow, according to new research.

Scientists have previously put forward this theory, but a University of Exeter team has now carried out the first experiment to prove it.

Published today (15 August 2012) in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the study shows how the demise of one carnivore species can indirectly cause another to become extinct. The University of Exeter team believes any extinction can create a ripple effect across a food web, with far-reaching consequences for many other animals. (more…)

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Mice Have System to Handle Smell of Fear

Mice appear to have a specialized system for detecting and at least initially processing instinctually important smells such as those that denote predators. The finding raises a question about whether their response to those smells is hardwired.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new study finds that mice have a distinct neural subsystem that links the nose to the brain and is associated with instinctually important smells such as those emitted by predators. That insight, published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, prompts the question whether mice and other mammals have specially hardwired neural circuitry to trigger instinctive behavior in response to certain smells.

In the series of experiments and observations described in the paper, the authors found that nerve cells in the nose that express members of the gene family of trace amine-associated receptors (TAAR) have several key biological differences from the much more common and diverse neurons that express members of the olfactory receptor gene family. Those other nerve cells detect a much broader range of smells, said corresponding author Gilad Barnea, the Robert and Nancy Carney Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University. (more…)

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Nearly One-Tenth of Hemisphere’s Mammals Unlikely to Outrun Climate Change

A safe haven could be out of reach for 9 percent of the Western Hemisphere’s mammals, and as much as 40 percent in certain regions, because the animals just won’t move swiftly enough to outpace climate change.

For the past decade scientists have outlined new areas suitable for mammals likely to be displaced as climate change first makes their current habitat inhospitable, then unlivable. For the first time a new study considers whether mammals will actually be able to move to those new areas before they are overrun by climate change. Carrie Schloss, University of Washington research analyst in environmental and forest sciences, is lead author of the paper out online the week of May 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (more…)

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Larger Female Hyenas Produce More Offspring

EAST LANSING, Mich. — When it comes to producing more offspring, larger female hyenas outdo their smaller counterparts.

A new study by Michigan State University researchers, which appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society, revealed this as well as defined a new way to measure spotted hyenas’ size.

“This is the first study of its kind that provides an estimate of lifetime selection on a large carnivore,” said MSU graduate student Eli Swanson, who published the paper with MSU faculty members Ian Dworkin and Kay Holekamp, all members of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. “In short, we were able to document that larger female hyenas have more cubs over their lifetime than do smaller females as well as develop a novel approach for estimating body size.” (more…)

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What Did T. Rex Eat? Each Other.

T. rex was the only big carnivore in western North America 65 million years ago that was capable of making such large gouges. Image credit: Nicholas Longrich

It turns out that the undisputed king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, didn’t just eat other dinosaurs but also each other. Paleontologists from the United States and Canada have found bite marks on the giants’ bones that were made by other T. rex, according to a new study published online Oct. 15 in the journal PLoS ONE.

While searching through dinosaur fossil collections for another study on dinosaur bones with mammal tooth marks, Yale researcher Nick Longrich discovered a bone with especially large gouges in them. Given the age and location of the fossil, the marks had to be made by T. rex, Longrich said. “They’re the kind of marks that any big carnivore could have made, but T. rex was the only big carnivore in western North America 65 million years ago.” (more…)

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