1 Tahrcountry Musings: November 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Aggressive Sexual Pursuit of Males by Female Topi Antelope in Kenya.

Sexual attitude of Topi Antelope( Damaliscus lunatus jimela) in Kenya is a reversal from our usual idea about sexuality. Here aggressive females pursue the males. Lead scientist Dr Jakob Bro-Jorgensen who did the research says “some pushy females were so aggressive in their pursuit of the male that he actually had to physically to attack them to rebuff their advances." Most males refuse the advances of previous partners. This increases the chances of fatherhood with the widest possible number of partners. Each female would mate, on average, with four males, while some reached 12 different partners. These findings are contrary to conventional sexual selection theory. The research was undertaken in the Masai Mara area of Kenya. Full details appear in the journal Current Biology.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Can Cut Down Your CO2 Emission by up to 80%

A study by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute has indicated that carbon emissions from UK homes could be reduced by up to 80% by 2050. Financial incentives for home owners and tighter energy efficiency standards were among the study's recommendations. Cavity wall insulation, double glazing,more efficient boilers and lighting, solar panels and ground source heat pumps are in the scheme of things. One technology that could deliver sizeable saving is micro combined heat and power (CHP). Micro CHP systems generate both heat and electricity locally, and reduce costs and emissions A new legislation that will be tabled shortly will require CO2 to be cut by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fake Snakes to Scare Australian Birds

Plastic snakes are being deployed in an effort to scare away tens of thousands of starlings that have descended on Tamworth in Australia. Pungent droppings of birds have created lot of problems for the authoritities. Pink, orange, green and black plastic snakes, will be tied to branches of trees. This is a desperate attempt by the Tamworth council even though there is no firm scientific basis for the operation.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Queen Bees Control Sex of Young

A new study shows that queen honey bees can choose the sex of their offspring. The young queen goes on a flight spree and stores the sperm she collects from multiple mating for the rest of her life. She uses it up bit by bit as she lays eggs. It has been shown that if the queen adds sperm to an egg, it will produce a female and if she withholds sperm, the egg will produce a male. But the workers control the type of eggs the queen lays. The queen lays eggs in a particular cell only if the cell is big enough to accommodate a male larva, which is bigger than a female one. So depending on the cells they build of each size, the workers can limit how many male offspring the queen produces. Katie Wharton and her team of entomologists at Michigan State University in East Lansing says that in spite of this drawback the queen can still tip the balance of the sex.If you are keen about details please refer to November/December issue of behavioural ecology.

Grooming Reciprocation Among Female Primates: A Meta-Analysis

Among primates, grooming is one of the most common altruistic behaviours. Interesting facts have come put of a recent study regarding grooming.The results of this meta-analysis showed that female primates groom preferentially those group mates that groom them most. T

For more details refer to

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Animal behaviour
  • DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0506
  • Authors
    • Gabriele Schino, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 00197 Roma, Italy
    • Filippo Aureli, Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Extinction Stares In The Face Of Seventy-five Percent of Bear Species

According to recent assessments by the IUCN Bear Specialist Groups which has concluded a meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, on November 10, six out of the world’s eight species of bears are threatened with extinction. Serous concern has been expressed about the world’s smallest species of bear, the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), which has been classed as Vulnerable. It has been estimated that sun bears have declined by at least 30% over the past 30 years. Vulnerable species include Asiatic black bears and sloth bears, both inhabitants of Asia, and Andean bears from the Andes Mountains of South America. The IUCN Bear Specialist Group indicated that Sloth Bears might have disappeared entirely from Bangladesh during the past decade. Brown bears, the most widespread Ursid, are not listed as threatened globally because large numbers still inhabit Russia, Canada, Alaska and some parts of Europe. At 900,000 strong, only the American black bear is secure throughout its range, which encompasses Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago Named New UNEP Deputy Executive Director

Ms Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago has been named as the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The announcement was made by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General. Ms Cropper will succeed Mr Shafqat Kakakhel who in December steps down after nine years of distinguished service.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ancestor Of All Primates.

A new comprehensive genetic analysis shows that flying lemurs known as colugos is our closest nonprimate cousin. This is the result of a two-pronged molecular study by Jan Janecka, a postdoctoral fellow working with evolutionary genomicist William Murphy at Texas A&M University. Both analyses brought flying lemurs closer to primates than they had ever been before. The new study shows that the ancestors of tree shrews split off first, and then the primate and colugo lineages diverged. The new evolutionary study also shows that the pentail tree shrew is the sole survivor of an ancient lineage long separated from other tree shrew species.
For more details refer to

Molecular and Genomic Data Identify the Closest Living Relative of Primates
Jan E. Janecka,Webb Miller,Thomas H. Pringle,Frank Wiens, Annette Zitzmann, Kristofer M. Helgen,Mark S. Springer,William J. Murphy

Science 2 November 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5851, pp. 792 - 794
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147555