Wild Things: Yawning Chimps, Humpback Whales and More...
Leaping beetles, Pacific salmon, prehistoric mammals and other news updates in wildlife research
- By Arcynta Ali Childs, T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Laura Helmuth and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, June 2011
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) group swimming upstream between forested banks during spawning run. (Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott / Minden Pictures)
Name: Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus).
Life: Is born in a stream or lake, then swims to and roams the ocean.
Death: Returns to fresh water to spawn and die.
After Life: Salmon have long been recognized as a major food source for animals and aquatic plants in the fish’s spawning grounds. But researchers at Simon Fraser University have found that nutrients from dead fish influence the number and types of plants that grow more than 100 feet into the forest. The researchers say conservation plans should take into account not only the number of fish needed for a strong population at sea, but also the number that die inland.
"Ingroup-Outgroup Bias in Contagious Yawning by Chimpanzees Supports Link to Empathy," Matthew W. Campbell and Frans B. M. de Waal, PLoS ONE, April 2011
"Dental Occlusion in a 260-Million-Year-Old Therapsid with Saber Canines from the Permian of Brazil," Juan Carlos Cisneros et al., Science, March 25, 2011
"Wind-Powered Wheel Locomotion, Initiated by Leaping Somersaults, in Larvae of the Southeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Cicindela dorsalis media)," Alan Harvey and Sarah Zukoff, PLoS ONE, March 23, 2011
"Impacts of Salmon on Riparian Plant Diversity," Morgan D. Hocking and John D. Reynolds, Science, March 25, 2011
"Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale," Ellen C. Garland et al., Current Biology, April 14, 2011