from the magazine
Language of Song: An Interview with Donald Kroodsma
A profile of a scientists who has spent thirty years
recording and studying the songs of birds for clues
to the evolution of vocal learning. By Jennifer Uscher.
July 01, 2002
do bats echolocate and how are they adapted to this
Alain Van Ryckegham, a professor at the School of Natural
Resources at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay,
Ontario, Canada, offers his explanation.
Surfaces Baffle Echolocating Bats
Background objects-leaf litter on the forest floor,
for example- produce their own echoes, which confuse
hunting bats. But research shows that bats have a strategy
for just this kind of tricky circumstance: they turn
down the sonar and wait for the insect to reveal itself.
Bees Think Abstractly
The capacity for abstract thinking does not belong to
humans alone, as studies of other vertebrates, such
as primates, pigeons and dolphins, have shown. Now new
research indicates that invertebrates, too, possess
higher cognitive functions. According to a report in
the current issue of the journal Nature, the humble
honeybee can form "sameness" and "difference" concepts-an
ability that may help them in their daily foraging activities.
Female Elephants Ensure Family Survival
Matronly elephants hold the key to their family's well-being,
according to a study published today in Science. These
females guard the clan's social knowledge, which is
essential for successful breeding.
Ear Research May Improve Hearing Aids
A tiny fly and its extraordinary hearing ability may
hold the key to better hearing aid technology, according
to a study published today in the journal Nature.