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Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs Wiped Out Most Mammals, Too

Only about 7% survived, says study

(Newser) - The asteroid that took out the dinosaurs nearly claimed the planet's mammals, too. Researchers at the UK's Milner Centre for Evolution report in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology that 93% of mammals were wiped out around the same time, far more than originally thought. And those that did... More »

This Is Likely the First Mammal Lost to Climate Change

Mosaic-tailed rat has vanished from Bramble Cay off Australia

(Newser) - Way to go, humanity. For the first time in history, human-induced climate change has been found "solely or primarily" responsible for the extinction of a mammal species, according to a new study . The Bramble Cay melomys , or mosaic-tailed rat, was found by Europeans on a tiny coral cay off... More »

As Big Mammals Die Off, Planet Suffers a Poop Shortage

The flow of phosphorous and other nutrients has declined dramatically

(Newser) - Earth isn't just dealing with the loss of big mammals, such as elephants, whales, and rhinos. It's also faced with a dramatic reduction in their poop, which could have profound effects on the planet's ecosystems, reports Red Orbit . Researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy ... More »

Boys and Girls Have Different Spines—From Birth

The difference allows the female spine to adapt during pregnancy

(Newser) - Boys and girls have subtly different spines, and the difference is present at birth, according to a new study out of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 35 full-term newborn girls and 35 full-term newborn boys, researchers report in the Journal of Pediatrics that vertebral... More »

Why 25% of Mammals Commit Infanticide

It boils down to sex, researchers say

(Newser) - The co-author of a new study estimates that 25% of our planet's mammals practice infanticide—and she thinks she knows why. Elise Huchard and Dieter Lukas studied 260 species; in about 45% of them, babies are killed by male adults. And it all boils down to sex, says Huchard.... More »

Mammals Have Been Around Way Longer Than We Thought

Squirrel-like Jurassic creatures tell story: researchers

(Newser) - A squirrel-like animal in the tree branches above would have been a familiar sight to some dinosaurs, researchers have learned. Newly discovered fossils indicate that mammals have been around since "at least" the late Triassic period, an expert says, though he acknowledges that his claim—which suggests mammals appeared... More »

Study: Mammals Big, Small Pee in About 21 Seconds

Above 6.5 pounds, urination duration doesn't scale with size

(Newser) - Ever wonder why it doesn't take elephants an hour to pee? Well someone did. After studying mammals of all walks of life at Zoo Atlanta, scientists discovered that, aside from those that weigh 6.5 pounds or less, it takes the rest of us mammals on average 21 seconds... More »

Were Dinos Cold-Blooded or Warm-Blooded? Neither

Scientists call for a new class called 'mesothermy'

(Newser) - A new study suggests that dinosaurs aren't either warm-blooded (endothermic) or cold-blooded (ectothermic) but rather a little bit of both, occupying a newly-described intermediate category scientists are calling "mesothermy." The debate on just where dinosaurs fall has raged for years, but in this study scientists looked primarily... More »

Scientists Come Up With 'Law of Urination'

Elephants pee as quickly as rats, study finds

(Newser) - Ever imagined a peeing contest between animals of various shapes and sizes? Probably not, but scientists studying the matter say that mammals big and small empty their bladders at about the same speed, New Scientist reports. More specifically, experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have clocked the... More »

320K Unknown Viruses Lurk in Mammals

Researchers say money spent to ID them would be well spent

(Newser) - An ambitious new study by some of the world's top virus experts estimates that at least 320,000 still-unidentified viruses are lurking out there among mammals—some presumably with the potential to jump from animals to humans, reports Smithsonian . That's the scary-sounding part. The better part is that... More »

Humans Became Monogamous to Stop Infanticide

Study finds the origins of monogamy are not so romantic

(Newser) - Scientists believe they may have discovered the reason most humans, at least in theory, are so wedded to the idea of monogamy, and the answer ain't "true love." As a species, we became predominantly monogamous so other humans wouldn't kill our babies, according to a new... More »

Mammal Moms Can Choose Baby's Sex

They subconsciously produce boys or girls, based on a slew of factors

(Newser) - Call it "sneaky Machiavellian girl power," as the lead researcher does in the Washington Post . His study in PloS One concludes that female mammals have the innate ability to determine the sex of their offspring. It's not a conscious decision—the expectant moms somehow factor in a... More »

Discovered: How Whales Can Hold Their Breath Underwater

And why you can't

(Newser) - How come some mammals—like whales—can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour, while others—like you—can't? British biologists have figured it out. Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that deep sea diving mammals have more electrically charged proteins in their blood. The... More »

Meet the 66M-Year-Old Ancestor of Mammals

Scientists come up with theoretical creature

(Newser) - Say hello to your great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (times a few million or so)—Protungulatum donnae, a rat-sized insect eater believed to have lived 66 million years ago. A new six-year study of the mammalian family tree, looking at DNA and anatomical evidence in greater detail than ever before, has identified Protungulatum donnae... More »

Dinosaurs Were Felled by ... Their Eggs?

Scientists think it doomed them in ecosystem

(Newser) - Why did mammals manage to survive the apocalyptic event that killed off the dinosaurs, while the terrible lizards disappeared from the face of the earth? Thanks to a mathematical model, a group of researchers think they've figured out the culprit: Eggs. Because dinosaurs laid eggs, their young were born... More »

Animals Face Obesity Epidemic, Too

Pets, wild animals, even research animals gaining weight

(Newser) - America is suffering from an obesity epidemic —and not just among the humans. A new study of more than 20,000 animals shows that even family pets, wild critters that live close to humans, and research animals are getting fatter, Scientific American reports. The biostatistician who published the study... More »

Mammals Grew Huge After Dino Die-Off

With less competition for vegetation, they 'exploded' in size

(Newser) - Mammals were a lot smaller before the dinosaurs went extinct—but got really, really, really big once dinos were gone, scientists say. New research published in the journal Science shows that, over the course of 25 million years, the largest mammals increased in size 1,000-fold from the time of... More »

Half Zebra, Half Donkey, All Adorable

Baby 'zedonk' scores off the charts on the cute scale

(Newser) - Zebras and donkeys and zedonks, oh my! A wildlife reserve in Georgia is home to the United States' first known zedonk, the offspring of a female donkey and a male zebra. The preserve’s general manager said, “The animals have been running together for more than 40 years, but... More »

Pandas Freed to Give Birth in the Wild

Experts will monitor captive-born animals in forest

(Newser) - Four pregnant giant pandas are on the loose in a forest near the reserve where the captive-bred animals normally live, and they'll be allowed to give birth and raise their offspring there, the Xinhua News Agency reports. "We hope the mothers can teach their cubs life skills to help... More »

Why Na'vi Have Breasts

Because director James Cameron milks audience lust

(Newser) - OK, they're small, but Na'vi women definitely have them: Breasts. But why? They're extraterrestrials, not mammals, who don't need them to nurse their babies. So why are they there? Simple. "Because this is a movie for human people," director James Cameron explained in an Inside the Actors Studio... More »

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