Life as We Know It
Octopuses, Dinosaurs, Pandas and More...
- By Abby Callard, T.A. Frail, Megain Gambino, Abigail Tucker, Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, February 2010
(Mike Wilkes / NPL / Minden Pictures)
Blackcap birds that breed in Central Europe in the summer traditionally fly to Spain for the winter. But in the past 50 years, some have started wintering in Britain, lured by seed and suet in bird feeders. Significantly, the birds tend to mate with others that wintered in the same area. Now researchers from Germany and elsewhere have observed that the two blackcap groups differ in wing shape, beak width and feather color—evidence of evolution in action.
Learn more about the blackcap at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“Female giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chirps advertise the caller’s fertile phase,” Benjamin D. Charlton et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, December 2, 2009.
“Kin recognition: Competition and cooperation in Impatiens (Balsaminaceae), Guillermo P. Murphy and Susan A. Dudley, American Journal of Botany, October 23, 2009.
“A Complete Skeleton of a Late Triassic Saurischian and the Early Evolution of Dinosaurs,” Sterling J. Nesbitt et al., Science, December 11, 2009.
“Contemporary Evolution of Reproductive Isolation and Phenotypic Divergence in Sympatry along a Migratory Divide,” Gregor Rolshausen et al., Current Biology, December 29, 2009.
“Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus,” Julian K. Finn et al., Current Biology, December 15, 2009.
Giant pandas photo gallery at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park Web site.