Embryological Manipulation Reveals Chicks Can Have Prehistoric Looks

One of the latest breakthroughs from Yale scientists: the mighty dino-chicken. The Yale team used molecular manipulation to grow chicken embryos with Velociraptor snouts and published their results yesterday in the journal Evolution. The embryos did not hatch.

New Sensitivity Study May Reveal ‘Terror Birds’ Hunted In Packs

News this week revealed a frightening new addition to the fossil record—a “Terror Bird” species known more scientifically as Llallawavis scagliai (aka Scaglia’s Magnificent Bird). But in spite of its massive size and terrifying stance, this top-tier predatory may not have been the most well-adapted hunter that it could be… That is, unless it was hunting in packs.

The Chicks With All of the Tricks—Spatial Strategies & Number Mapping

When it comes to cognition, there are few answers on the origins of many behaviors. Neurobiology and social anthropology help researchers understand the development of speech, the correlation of objects or words with physical entities, and even the emergence of faiths. However, when it comes to something as simple as a number line, which is virtually a universal means of discerning small numbers from larger numbers, researchers are stumped. And looking to nature for the answer, a new study published this week in the journal Science, discovered just how universal these number lines are.
Chicks & Number Lines

Think That Chicks Are Just Plain Cute? Well It Turns Out That They Have a Knack for Numbers Too

While it may take children a couple of years to learn the true values of arithmetic, a new study conducted by ethologist Dr Rosa Rugani, from the University of Padova, reveals that newborn chicks can not only recognize number patterns but also place them in ascending order from left to right. In fact, while the cognitive ability to count may seem like an acquired trait taught to us in school, Rugani’s recent experiments prove that even those with bird brains can display a knack for “number mapping”.
Sandhill Cranes

Unusual Sightings in the Annual Bird Count

The annual Audubon Bird Watch is a 115-year-old tradition that unites bird watchers from all corners of North America, to catalog their sightings. And this year lead to some usual avian leads.

A Holiday Filled With Chirps & Cheer—The Christmas Bird Count

When it comes time to the Christmas season, people innately begin counting the birds: four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and whole lot of other species. But if you’re an ornithologist, then the holiday season also marks an important time for bird-watching. Waking up before sunrise and catching a glimpse of the black-necked stilts or the white-tailed kites may be a part of your daily agenda, but when Dec. 14 rolls around you’re ready for day long adventures to camp out and count the local bird species in the skies.
Researcher Henry Streby holds a golden-winged warbler equipped with a geolocator on its back.

Warblers Flee, As Warnings from Mother Nature Reveal Coming Storms

In the study of ecology, it’s long been known that animals have a sort of sixth sense above and beyond what humans can perceive. Perhaps through the aid of their keen senses of smell or their abnormally acute sense of hearing, animals such as dogs are able to sense the presence of cancers, the onset of seizures, and even changes in the climate. But in a new study led by UC Berkeley ecologist Henry Streby, it’s birds that are sensing a change. Golden-winged warblers to be exact.
Bird Genomes

Genomic Study Reveals Pre-Cambrian Explosion of Bird Species, Who Faired Better than Gentle Dinosaurs

They’re far from the scaled reptilian giants that once walked the Earth, but for decades researchers have sought out an evolutionary connection between our winged bird species of today and the dinosaurs that once took flight in prehistoric times. For the past four years, a team of international researchers have fully developed The Avian Phylogenomics Project, in which they have sequenced genomes of nearly all species of the evolutionary branches including a majority of birds known to man. Now that the research is done, the mapping of 48 bird species genomes has evolved into more than two-dozen articles published in the journal Science, as well as a new understanding of how birds may link to their dinosaur ancestors.
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