16 Stories

When These Dogs Sneeze, They're Casting a Vote

Scientists spot the pattern in African wild dogs

(Newser) - It started with a simple enough question, "Why are these dogs sneezing so much?" But the subsequent research has led to a fascinating theory: The dogs, specifically African wild dogs in Botswana, use their sneezes to vote on pack activity, reports Atlas Obscura . "The sneeze acts as some... More »

Which Animal Is the 'Superpredator'? We Are

The rate at which humans kill animals is not sustainable, study finds

(Newser) - For tens of thousands of years, where humans go, animals are driven to extinction. We are the superpredator, killing animals—and adults ones at that—at a much higher rate than other predators. And it's not sustainable. So say researchers at the University of Victoria in the journal Science... More »

In Cats vs. Dogs, History Answers

Cats are responsible for the extinction of 40 early canine species

(Newser) - It's official: Cats are better than dogs. Better predators, that is. So say researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences after looking at more than 2,000 fossils of prehistoric cats and dogs in North America. It turns out that when cats arrived on the continent... More »

Note to Pythons: Maybe Pass on the Giant Porcupines

South African snake's snack turns out to be a fatal idea

(Newser) - Anyone traumatized by the 2005 report of the exploding python might have imagined this wasn't the best idea ever conceived by a predator: A cyclist in South Africa's Lake Eland Game Preserve earlier this month came upon a nearly 13-foot python who looked about as stuffed as your... More »

Californians Can't Win Cash for Killing Coyotes Anymore

Fish and Game Commision nixes predator-killing contests

(Newser) - Dogfighting and cockfighting are illegal in the US , but until Wednesday, coyotes could be shot dead for a belt buckle in California. Animal activists are celebrating the ruling by the California Fish and Game Commission against wildlife-killing contests that offer prizes, said to be the first such ban in... More »

6th-Grader's Fish Project Blows Away Scientists

She says experts were making a silly assumption

(Newser) - Sometimes it takes a kid to truly think outside the box. Such is the case of 12-year-old science fair entrant Lauren Arrington, who decided to investigate lionfish, which the Florida native had observed up close while snorkeling and fishing in the ocean. "Scientists were doing plenty of tests on... More »

Sneaky Seahorse Creates Own No-Wake Zone

Ingenious snout makes it one of the deep's most lethal hunters, relatively speaking

(Newser) - The seahorse is one of the lousiest, slowest swimmers in the ocean, and yet it manages to catch one of the fastest-swimming creatures of the deep with an astonishing success rate of 90%, reports the BBC . What gives? Thank that ingenious snout. Researchers discovered that it's shaped in such... More »

Kids' Gator Pal Goes Missing

Florida cops warn against feeding 'alpha predators'

(Newser) - A 10-foot alligator is on the loose in North Miami Beach, which sounds bad enough—but it turns out local kids have been feeding the beast meat. They named the storm-drain resident Patrick and treated him to hot dogs and ham, which is a seriously bad idea, a police sergeant... More »

Monster Squid Turns Out to Be Lazy Blob

Legendary predator just waits for prey to swim by

(Newser) - Ferocious sea creature? Fuggeddaboutit. It may be longer than a school bus and have razor-sharp hooks, but the colossal squid is no monster, reports LiveScience . New research suggests that just the opposite is true: "Everyone thought it was an aggressive predator," one scientist says. "Our findings show... More »

Obama Mulls Sending Drones Farther Into Pakistan

Strikes in city of Quetta would risk more civilian casualties

(Newser) - The Obama administration is considering using Predator drones for the first time to strike beyond the tribal area inside Pakistan. While many are uncomfortable with the idea of unmanned aircraft firing missiles into the city of Quetta—a Taliban hotbed of 850,000 people—in a US-allied nation, some American... More »

'Ballerina-Like' T. Rex Cousin Discovered

Size, light skeleton and delicate teeth suggest different prey from larger relative

(Newser) - A smaller, more agile cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex has been identified. The skull and a nearly complete skeleton of Alioramus altai was discovered in Mongolia in 2001, and has features that distinguish it from its more lumbering cousin. Unlike its “big bad boy” relatives, a study author tells... More »

Fla. Python Hunt More Wild Goose Chase

(Newser) - The “Great Florida Python Hunt” is on, but the prey population is likely smaller—and less dangerous—than advertised, Paul Quinlan writes in the Palm Beach Post. Proponents have said there could be 100-150,000 Burmese pythons in the Everglades, a figure the media has seized upon. But the... More »

North America's Tiniest Dino Found

Chicken-sized predator roamed Canada 75M years ago

(Newser) - Scientists have identified the remains of the smallest dinosaur species ever found in North America, reports National Geographic. Hesperonychus elizabethae was a Cretaceous-era carnivore no bigger than a chicken, according to researchers. Scientists believe the existence of the Velociraptor cousin helps confirm that dinosaurs, not mammals, filled the role of... More »

Polar Bears May Have Yet Another Worry: Sharks

Bone is found in the stomach of a Greenland shark

(Newser) - As if polar bears in the North Pole didn't have enough to worry about these days: Scientists have found the bone of a young bear in the stomach of a Greenland shark, Reuters reports. The unprecedented discovery prompts a "million dollar question," says one researcher: Do the bears... More »

Midwest Fights Weeds With Bugs

Biological control takes a food-chain approach to invasive plants

(Newser) - Officials in the Midwest are returning to a tried-and-true technique to fight invasive plants, the Chicago Tribune reports. Biological control uses natural enemies to rein in pests, and importing a tiny brown beetle in the 1990s brought under control a fast-spreading European weed, known as loosestrife, that was terrorizing agriculture.... More »

Tiger Numbers Plummet in India

More than half vanish in 5 years

(Newser) - At least half of India's Bengal tiger population has vanished in the last five years, according to the latest alarming census of the endangered predators. A Project Tiger conservationist blamed "poaching, and loss of quality habitat and prey," reports AFP. A 2002 survey estimated there were 3,700... More »

16 Stories