This is the latest study in the growing field of research on animal vocalisations. Deciphering animal communication is an important aspect of tracing the evolution of language in humans.
At the end of every month, Janaki Lenin will quickly review interesting recent research on living things.
Two biologists witnessed a critical period when the fish larvae forsake their nomadic open-water existence for life in the undersea garden of corals, in Lakshadweep.
A tristate junction in south India seems to have been exporting tens of thousands of star tortoises every year. Are populations being wiped out?
To solve water problems in a cold desert, Wangchuk came up with a path-breaking idea: freeze millions of litres of water in the form of ‘ice stupas’.
Every autumn in Spiti, shepherds pay villages a fee and have their flock graze in their pastures. This centuries-old tradition is now under threat from climate change.
Humming males are like beacons to egg-heavy females. But for some reason, some males don’t hum.
While the lobster young seem to successfully ward off jellyfish defences, how do they digest their toxic prey?
The tricks moray eels use to hunt may mean that they can have a bigger impact on their ecosystems than any other predator of similar size.
What do monkey gestures say about human language? Some argue the origin of human language lies in vocal calls while others nod towards gestures.
“I was sent to prison for 23 days for sedition in 2010. Even then I wasn’t thrashed like this. I had a lot of faith in the police. That’s gone completely now.”
On two occasions, mother humpbacks with calves joined other humpbacks to chase away killer whales from sea lions. They even put their calves at risk.
Are primates capable of grieving? Do they know what death is?
Indigenous people in Africa communicate with a species of bird called the great honeyguide by making specific calls in their quest for beehives.
But what exactly are mantis shrimps using their ridiculously elaborate eyes for?
The long history of capuchins’ usage of stone hammers poses more questions about how tool use originated and spread in the New World.
Migrating birds burn up reserves even though they feed at regular pitstops during their flight over oceans. So what energy-saving trick do great frigatebirds use?
Biologists have long debated whether giraffes extended their necks first and then evolved the heart adaptations to counter the difficulties posed by the long necks.
No normal tiger approaches a fallen man, drags and guards a corpse defiantly and eats it, and kills victims with a bite to the neck.
How does a plant digest its prey? What molecular processes aid digestion? A group of German scientists worked to solve the mysteries of the Venus flytrap.
None of self-mutilation, cannibalism, bondage and genital plugging among the spiders surprised the researchers as much as the males performing oral sex as well.
The bullhorn acacia trees of Mexico and whistling thorn trees of east Africa provide housing for ants in their fat, hollow thorns. Any disturbance brings out hordes of the biting insects
They survived the cataclysmic event that killed the dinosaurs. What nifty adaptations did these ancient mammals have? Australian scientists say it may be their ability to curl up and go into torpor.
Could a 56-ton Moby Dick ram and sink Ahab’s Pequod that would have weighed nearly 240 tons? Using computer simulations, a study says sperm whales have the ability to ram ships without suffering serious harm.
Scientists found that blue tits, collared flycatchers and pied flycatchers can notice flickers as fast as 140 Hz. How would a speeding Usain Bolt look for them?
If the behaviour of our closest relatives can change so dramatically, what are the implications of the parasite’s hold over humans?
Until researchers come up with an experiment that rules out some variables, the jury on whether animals can have abstract thoughts is still out, and definitely not settled against their favour.
For a long time, scientists thought consolation was a uniquely human trait. This barrier separating humans from animals is being battered down by species after species.
Ants may not have dodged death, but remaining spry as spring in the evening of one’s life is enviable.
Some of the causes being explored by the scientists are the shape of the coastal topography that traps them and the tight social relationships with others in the pod that may predispose them to strand.
Could Spider Man climb up skyscrapers like he does in the comics? Scientists say that normal-sized sticky hands and feet alone won’t help him.
If you thought trust was a unique trait of humanhood, you’d be mistaken. Our close relatives – the chimpanzees – trust too. This recent finding pushes the origin of trust way back to a common ancestor.
Marine animals’ ability to navigate across open seas has long been a mystery. Scientists now have an inkling of how sharks find their way.
When going up trees, snakes use a type of crawling called the concertina that isn’t only fast but also likely saves energy.
Puff adders can give even trained dogs the slip.
During a famine, vole populations can crash. Those with better navigation and memory skills dote on their partners, defend their mates from philandering males, and make successful parents.
What’s remarkable about this study isn’t that birds gave up food to stay with their mates. They recognised their mates were hungry and helped them access food. That’s true pair bonding.
Snakes lost their limbs to become expert burrowers. But they emerged to colonise trees, land, and the seas with that same unique tubular body shape.
Chicks raised by parents of another species could face an identity crisis. If their foster parents and siblings belong to a different species, how do the free-loading chicks know who they are?
The predator’s electric discharge forces them to give themselves up, paralyses its victims’ muscles, and locates them even when they are hidden. The electric eel is every fish’s worst nightmare.