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Owls may have inherited their night-hunting abilities from dinosaurs

Owls may have inherited their night-hunting abilities from dinosaurs

Science
May 6 (UPI) -- New research suggests a small bird-like dinosaur's exacting night vision and owl-like hearing allowed it to track down prey in the black of night. Nocturnal hunting is relatively rare among predators, as it requires specialized sensory abilities -- many of the best night-hunters are birds, including owls, nightjars, nighthawks and more. Advertisement Because modern birds are the closest living relatives of the dinosaurs, scientists have previously surmised that the night-hunting capabilities of owls and other nocturnal birds might be inherited from their theropod ancestors. To investigate the possibility, scientists used detailed CT scans to compare the anatomical features of the eyes and inner ears of nearly 100 living bird and extinct dinosaur species. They shared the re...
Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Science
April 7 (UPI) -- Scientists found rat poison in the systems of 82% of the few hundred dead eagles examined for a multiyear survey between 2014 and 2018. The survey results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, are a reminder of the lurking threats that face even the most well-protected animals. Advertisement "Generally, bald eagle populations have been thriving in the United States. This is great news and a conservation success story," corresponding author Mark Ruder told UPI in an email. "However, as wildlife health researchers, we are always concerned about the health of wildlife, including eagles. We live in a changing world and the human population puts a lot of pressure on our natural resources," said Ruder, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia's College of Vet...
Nearly 50,000 businesses sign up to offer rapid coronavirus testing for their employees

Nearly 50,000 businesses sign up to offer rapid coronavirus testing for their employees

Business
Nearly 50,000 businesses have signed up for the government's free workplace COVID tests, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.The government claims this is a vital step towards restoring normal life after the pandemic. Tests can give a result within 30 minutes - and NHS Test and Trace analysis suggests they have a specificity of at least 99.9%. Mr Hancock said: "We have built a huge asymptomatic testing system from scratch, which is an essential part of our plan to reopen cautiously. "Rapid testing has been rolled out at a vast scale across a range of sectors, and it is fantastic that now over 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer rapid testing to employees."This is a huge step forward in getting businesses back on their feet and helping to keep people safe. ...
Some sea slugs sever their own heads, grow whole new bodies

Some sea slugs sever their own heads, grow whole new bodies

Science
March 8 (UPI) -- For at least two species of sea slug, decapitation is no big deal. After purposefully severing its head, a sacoglossan sea slug can regrow its entire body, heart and all. Scientists observed the phenomenon -- detailed Monday in the journal Current Biology -- while studying the development of the marine invertebrates, from eggs to adult sea slugs. Advertisement In the lab, researchers noticed the head of a sacoglossan sea slug moving around without its body. "We were surprised to see the head moving just after autotomy," lead author Sayaka Mitoh, a doctoral candidate at Nara Women's University in Japan, said in a press release. "We thought that it would die soon without a heart and other important organs, but we were surprised again to find that it regenerated the whole b...
View: How the government can truly make India’s state-run banks efficient just like their private sector peers

View: How the government can truly make India’s state-run banks efficient just like their private sector peers

Finance
Budget 2021 has finally made long-awaited policy pronouncements of a reformist nature in the banking and financial sector. Governments are prone to make announcements that catch headlines, but soon fade away with only half-hearted implementation. One says this with the hindsight of the declaration of divestment of the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) in 2015 and later of Air India. But genuine enthusiasm arises from the fact that after declaring that GoI would privatise public sector banks (PSBs), set up an asset reconstruction company (ARC) and establish a development finance institution (DFI) among others, the administration has started to take steps to implement these. It is encouraging that the finance ministry has already sought timelines from ministries on getting the deci...