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Tag: animals

Brazil wildfires killed an estimated 17 million animals

Brazil wildfires killed an estimated 17 million animals

Science
CENAP-ICMBioAmid the bleakness of 2020, scientists in Brazil concluded a particularly grim conservation study - attempting to count the animals killed by huge wildfires in the Pantanal wetlands. They estimate that as many as 17 million vertebrates - including reptiles, birds and primates - died. Wildfires burned between January and November, destroying 30% of the world's largest tropical wetland.This estimate of the loss is published in the journal Scientific Reports. AFPDr Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, head of science at WWF-Brazil explained that there were 22,000 separate fires recorded during that year. This new research highlights, the researchers say, the importance of preventing such disasters in the future. Body countThe Pantanal does burn naturally, but the 2020 wildfires were "apoc...
AP Exclusive: WHO report says animals likely source of COVID

AP Exclusive: WHO report says animals likely source of COVID

Technology
BEIJING -- A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.The findings offer little new insight into how the virus began to spread around the globe and many questions remain unanswered, though that was as expected. But the report did provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers' conclusions. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.The report’s release has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China. A World Hea...
To keep backyard animals safe from cats, offer more meat and play

To keep backyard animals safe from cats, offer more meat and play

Science
Feb. 11 (UPI) -- All grains and no play makes Garfield a hangry boy -- and it turns out, hangry cats are a greater threat to local wildlife. To keep small birds, mammals and reptiles safe from local cats, new research suggests caretakers offer their feline friends a diet rich in meat proteins and plenty of playtime. Advertisement According to the new study, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, play that mimics the act of hunting is especially helpful in quieting the predatory instincts of domestic cats. "While keeping cats indoors is the only sure-fire way to prevent hunting, some owners are worried about the welfare implications of restricting their cat's outdoor access," study co-author Robbie McDonald said in a news release. "Our study shows that -- using entirely non-in...
Bacteria have internal clocks just like animals and plants, scientists say

Bacteria have internal clocks just like animals and plants, scientists say

Science
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Biological clocks aren't exclusive to multicellular organisms -- new research suggests bacteria can tell time, too. Internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, help humans, animals and plants keep time, synching various biological processes with day-night changes, as well as seasonal shifts. Advertisement In humans and other animals, the biological clocks ticking inside cells help govern sleep cycles and dictate a variety of cognitive functions. In plants, circadian rhythms control water retention and photosynthesis. Scientists have previously observed circadian rhythms in photosynthetic bacteria, but never before in free-living, non-photosynthetic bacteria -- until now. As reported Friday in the journal Science Advances, researchers identified active circadian rhythms in Baci...
Fossils purported to be world’s earliest animals revealed as algae

Fossils purported to be world’s earliest animals revealed as algae

Science
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Fossils previously heralded as the earliest evidence of animal life have been revealed to be algae. The reinterpretation, announced Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, will force scientists to reconsider early animal evolution. "It brings the oldest evidence for animals nearly 100 million years closer to the present day," study co-author Lennart van Maldegem said in a news release. Advertisement "We were able to demonstrate that certain molecules from common algae can be altered by geological processes -- leading to molecules which are indistinguishable from those produced by sponge-like animals," said van Maldegem, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University. The new research reverses the trend of fresh discoveries pushing the eme...