Meet the hedge fund managers of avian world

Meet the hedge fund managers of avian world

Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, finds that parasitic birds living in more variable and unpredictable habitats tend to hedge their bets by laying eggs in the nests of a greater variety and number of hosts. The study is published Aug. 21 in Nature Communications.
Hot time in the city: Urban lizards evolve heat tolerance

Hot time in the city: Urban lizards evolve heat tolerance

Faced with a gritty landscape of metal fences, concrete walls and asphalt pavement, lizards that moved into cities in Puerto Rico rapidly and repeatedly evolved better tolerance for heat than their forest counterparts, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

New Arts & Sciences research finds that chimpanzees that use a multi-step process and complex tools to gather termites are more likely to share tools with novices. The study helps illuminate chimpanzees’ capacity for prosocial — or helping — behavior, a quality that has been recognized for its potential role in the evolution of human cultural abilities.
Brave new world

Brave new world

Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up — with mixed results. A new model developed by Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.
New maps hint at how electric fish got their big brains

New maps hint at how electric fish got their big brains

Washington University researchers have mapped the regions of the brain in mormyrid fish in extremely high detail. In a study published in the Nov. 15 issue of Current Biology, they report that the part of the brain called the cerebellum is bigger in members of this fish family compared to related fish — and this may be associated with their use of weak electric discharges to locate prey and to communicate with one another.
Replaying the tape of life: Is it possible?

Replaying the tape of life: Is it possible?

A review published in the Nov. 9 issue of Science explores the complexity of evolution’s predictability in extraordinary detail. Jonathan Losos of Arts & Sciences takes on a classic question posed by Stephen Jay Gould in an effort to fully interrogate ideas about contingency’s role in evolution.
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