Wild Things: Feathered dinosaurs, king crabs and spotted hyenas
Traveling snails, brainwashed rats and more updates from the world of wildlife
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Joseph Stromberg, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, November 2011
Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) feeding at kill. (Joe McDonald / DRKPhoto.com)
Heeds: The whoops of intruding hyenas when they are played through loudspeakers in the wild, at least in a study by Michigan State University researchers.
Counts: The number of hyenas on the recording, according to the study, which is the first to show that hyenas can distinguish one intruder’s whoop from another’s.
Calculates: Its odds before approaching the intruders or fleeing. “They’re more cautious when they’re outnumbered and take more risks when they have the numerical advantage,” says Sarah Benson-Amram. Hyenas join lions and chimpanzees as animals that demonstrate the ability to compare their own to their opponents’ numbers.
“A Diverse Assemblage of Late Cretaceous Dinosaur and Bird Feathers from Canadian Amber,” Ryan C. McKellar et al., Science, September 16, 2011
“Flying shells: historical dispersal of marine snails across Central America,” Osamu Miura et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, September 14, 2011
“Numerical assessment and individual call discrimination by wild spotted hyaenas, Crocuta crocuta,” Sarah Benson-Amram et al., Animal Behaviour, October 2011
“A large population of king crabs in Palmer Deep on the west Antarctic Peninsula shelf and potential invasive impacts,” Craig R. Smith et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, September 7, 2011
“Predator Cat Odors Activate Sexual Arousal Pathways in Brains of Toxoplasma gondii Infected Rats,” Patrick K. House et al., PLoS ONE, August 17, 2011