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Scientists: We Know Why Sheep Get Sexed Up in Winter

Scientist figure out how melatonin levels affect breeding

(Newser) - "Why do sheep get frisky in winter?" isn't the beginning of a bad joke, but rather the question that jump-started a joint study by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol. The Guardian reports that scientists may now have an answer, one that could... More »

Cows Once as Big as Elephants May Soon Roam Europe

Welcome back the aurochs, or something like it

(Newser) - Standing nearly as tall as an elephant, the aurochs grazed for 250,000 years until its extinction in 1627. But its story may not end there: Scientists say they are close to resurrecting the "supercow," once the largest land mammal in Europe, reports CNN . In search of herbivores... More »

Study Shows Why Giant Pandas Need Tinder

Mutual attraction drastically increases the likelihood of panda babies

(Newser) - The scientist who invents a Tinder for giant pandas may just single-handedly save the endangered species. A study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found that pandas are much more likely to successfully mate when they're attracted to each other. It seems like an obvious conclusion, and that's why... More »

Jaguar Gets Sent Home for Being 'Too Fat' to Mate

Salman has zero interest in lady friend at Delhi Zoo—but lots of interest in food

(Newser) - A jaguar is being sent home to Kerala, India, from a New Delhi breeding program after being accused of having a dad bod without the "dad" part. Salman had been borrowed by the Delhi Zoo to mate with Kalpana, its female jaguar, but there were problems: Salman turned out... More »

Inside the Insanely Tricky Process of Breeding Pandas

Cross your fingers: a panda cub could be on the way

(Newser) - Congratulations are in order for the National Zoo's female giant panda—or so veterinarians hope based on an ultrasound yesterday: Mei Xiang is presumably pregnant. Experts are cautious as the 1.5-inch-long fetus could still be reabsorbed or the panda could miscarry. Research vet Pierre Comizzoli says the ultrasound... More »

Jawbone Lifts Lid on Human-Neanderthal Sex

Shows interbreeding occurred in Europe 37K to 42K years ago

(Newser) - A jawbone found in Romania more than a decade ago provides the first genetic evidence that humans and Neanderthals knocked boots in Europe before the latter disappeared between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago. Scientists who came across the bone of one of the earliest modern humans in Europe... More »

Why Pigs Don't Have Sex Anymore

Artificial insemination is better and faster for farmers

(Newser) - Pity the modern boar: He roams the pen for a sow that's ready to breed and when he's about to, er, take action, a farmer appears with a catheter in his hands. The poor guy has been replaced by artificial insemination. That's because nearly 90% of today'... More »

Drug Lord's Hippos Breeding Out of Control

Pablo Escobar's foreign beasts terrifying fisherman, eating crops

(Newser) - Colombia is facing an overpopulation issue: a famed drug lord's herd of hippos keeps expanding. Pablo Escobar built himself a zoo in the 1980s, smuggling in a host of exotic animals, including one male and three female hippos. Now, 20 years after the drug boss's death, the hippos... More »

'Pardoned' Turkeys Swiftly Die

They're simply not bred to live long

(Newser) - President Obama will "pardon" a pair of turkeys today and send them to live at Mount Vernon, and if that gives you a case of the warm fuzzies, you should know that both "Caramel" and "Popcorn" will probably be dead within the year. Every turkey the president... More »

This Exists: DNA Tests for Cats

Now you can verify your cat's lineage

(Newser) - Do you have a burning desire to know your cat's ancestry? Are you dying to know if she's really a pure Abyssinian or if the guy at the pet store ripped you off? Well, now you can. Lyons Feline Genetics Laboratory at the University of California now offers... More »

Why Dog History Remains a Blur

Those darn Victorians did it

(Newser) - Our ignorance about canine history can be blamed, ironically, on our own love for dogs, LiveScience reports. Scientists recently tried tracing dogs' genetic lines—and culling out details of their early domestication—but lost track in the 19th century, when Victorians established today's standard breeds. The 15,000 years... More »

'Gay' Penguins to Be Split Up at Zoo

Officials want Buddy, Pedro to mate with females

(Newser) - A pair of "gay" penguins will be split up by the Toronto Zoo so that they can have chicks—with females. The so-far inseparable males “will be put in with a specific female so they have the chance to get to know one another, and if they bond,... More »

Last Tortoise of His Kind Needs a Date

Scientists struggle to find mate for 'Lonesome George'

(Newser) - When you’re the only known member of your species, romance is hard to find. Such is the case for Lonesome George, the last Pinta tortoise in the Galapagos. Since George’s discovery in 1971—at a time when his species was believed to be extinct—scientists have searched far... More »

Rare Rhino Is Pregnant

Ratu due to give birth to fourth Sumatran rhino born in captivity

(Newser) - Animal activists fighting to save the threatened Sumatran rhino have reason to celebrate: a female named Ratu is pregnant and due to give birth in Indonesia next year to only the fourth such rhino born in captivity. Sumatran rhinos are the rarest of five existing rhino species, reports CNN , and... More »

Dogs Aren't Human—But They're Close

Their rise raises the question: What rights does a dog have?

(Newser) - When your dog's “soulful eyes” watch you, trying to discern your needs, it’s easy to forget the animal is not your child or your “wing man,” John Homans writes. Dogs have moved off the farm and into our homes, where they eat gourmet diets, relax in... More »

Taiwan Panda Keepers Seek Love Doc's Advice

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, expert counsels

(Newser) - Ahead of breeding season in February, the Taipei Zoo is soliciting expert advice for getting its two giant pandas in the mood. A researcher dispatched from their native China found Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan—presented last year as a symbol of thawing relations between the countries—just a little... More »

Pandas Haven't Bounced Back From China Quake

Sichuan disaster presents lasting difficulties for breeders

(Newser) - China’s efforts to save the giant panda from extinction haven’t recovered from last year’s earthquake in Sichuan province, AFP reports. The temblor swallowed up whole groves of bamboo, causing a food shortage just as breeding centers, whose efforts have caused a recent panda “baby boom,”... More »

Cute Dog Craze Yields Dumber, Weaker Breeds

Shift from function to fashion impairs dog brains: study

(Newser) - Humans' quest for beautiful, quirky "leash candy" is making man's best friend dumber, weaker, and more introverted, reports the Times of London. Bred less and less to be hunters, guard dogs, and herders, current breeds can do little more than look pretty, a Swedish study of dog behavior has... More »

Aha! Zoo Bears Won't Mate Because Both Are Female

Japan park figures out why polar bears don't have much chemistry

(Newser) - A Japanese zoo is learning it might want to check the plumbing more closely the next time it acquires a polar bear cub, CNN reports. Tsuyoshi was brought to the Kushiro Zoo to breed with 11-year-old Kurumi. But when the cub reached reproductive age, he turned out to be she,... More »

Devils Breed Earlier to Stave Off Cancer

Attempt to outlast disease could be evolutionary

(Newser) - Tasmanian devils are reproducing at a younger age to offset a contagious cancer epidemic, the Daily Telegraph reports. The ill-tempered marsupials, suffering from tumors that cut their lifespan in half, are now breeding at age 1 instead of 2 or 3. "We could be seeing evolution occurring before our... More »

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