Life as We Know It
Chewing dinosaurs, climate change, self-sacrificing ants and black bears
- By Amanda Bensen, T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Anika Gupta and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2008
Despite a reproductive head start, urban black bears aren't increasing the overall bear population. (Gunter Marx Photography / Corbis)
Name: The black bear (Ursus americanus).
Good News Bears: Urban-dwelling females, eating a garbage-fortified diet, gain weight faster and have cubs younger than their forest-dwelling counterparts, according to a study in western Nevada led by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Bad News Bears: Urban females die younger.
Worse News Bears: Despite their reproductive head start, urban animals aren't increasing the overall bear population. Any gains are more than offset by urban hazards, especially collisions with cars. Says the lead researcher: "Urban areas are becoming the ultimate bear traps."
"Sauropod Gigantism," P. Martin Sander and Marcus Clauss, Science, October 10, 2008
"Unanticipated consequences of ocean acidification: A noisier ocean at lower pH," Keith C. Hester et al., Geophysical Research Letters, October 1, 2008
"Preemptive Defensive Self-Sacrifice by Ant Workers," Adam Tofilski et al., The American Naturalist, November 2008
"Carnivores, urban landscapes, and longitudinal studies: a case history of black bears," Jon P. Beckmann and Carl W. Lackey, Human-Wildlife Conflicts, Fall 2008
"Primate hunting by bonobos at LuiKotale, Salonga National Park," Marin Surbeck and Gottfried Hohmann, Current Biology, October 14, 2008