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Health

Ancient Dog DNA Shows Early Spread Around the Globe

Among the other findings, Dr. Larson said he found it particularly intriguing that once dogs had become domesticated, and even while they were sometimes breeding with wolves, no new wolf DNA entered their genomes.By contrast, pigs, for example, were brought to Europe by farmers from Anatolia. But the genes of those first domesticated pigs have been completely lost, replaced by the genes of wild European boars, even though the pigs stayed domesticated animals.While dogs do interbreed, no new wolf genes survive over the years. One possibility, Dr. Larson said, is that “wolfiness” just doesn’t fit with an animal as close to people as a dog. Pigs can be a little wild but “if you’re a dog and you’ve got a little bit of wolf in you, that’s not a good thing and those things get knocked on the ...

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Science

Ancient Dog DNA Shows Early Spread Around the Globe

Among the other findings, Dr. Larson said he found it particularly intriguing that once dogs had become domesticated, and even while they were sometimes breeding with wolves, no new wolf DNA entered their genomes.By contrast, pigs, for example, were brought to Europe by farmers from Anatolia. But the genes of those first domesticated pigs have been completely lost, replaced by the genes of wild European boars, even though the pigs stayed domesticated animals.While dogs do interbreed, no new wolf genes survive over the years. One possibility, Dr. Larson said, is that “wolfiness” just doesn’t fit with an animal as close to people as a dog. Pigs can be a little wild but “if you’re a dog and you’ve got a little bit of wolf in you, that’s not a good thing and those things get knocked on the ...

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Science

Singing Dogs Re-emerge From Extinction for Another Tune

The New Guinea Singing Dog, a dingo-like animal with a unique howling style, was considered extinct in the wild. But scientists reported Monday that the dogs live on, based on DNA collected by an intrepid and indefatigable field researcher.Their analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the dogs are not simply common village dogs that decided to try their chances in the wild. The findings not only solve a persistent, though obscure puzzle, they may shed light on the complicated and still emerging picture of dog domestication in Asia and Oceania.Claudio Sillero, a conservation biologist at Oxford University and the chair of the canid specialist group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said that the study confirms the close ...

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Science

A Honeybee’s Tongue Is More Swiss Army Knife Than Ladle

For a century, scientists have known how honeybees drink nectar. They lap it up.They don’t lap like cats or dogs, videos of whose mesmerizing drinking habits have been one of the great rewards of high speed video. But they do dip their hairy tongues rapidly in and out of syrupy nectar to draw it up into their mouth. For the last century or so, scientists have been convinced that this is the only way they drink nectar.Scientists have now discovered bees can also suck nectar, which is more efficient when the sugar content is lower and the nectar is less viscous. High-speed video of bees drinking a nectar substitute in a lab shows that not only do honeybees have this unexpected ability, they can go back and forth from one drinking mode to another.Jianing Wu, an engineering and biophysics s...

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World

Can Humans Give Coronavirus to Bats, and Other Wildlife?

Many people worry about bats as a source of viruses, including the one that has caused a worldwide pandemic. But another question is surfacing: Could humans pass the novel coronavirus to wildlife, specifically North American bats?It may seem like the last pandemic worry right now, far down the line after concerns about getting sick and staying employed. But as the spread of the novel coronavirus has made clear, the more careful we are about viruses passing among species, the better off we are.The scientific consensus is that the virus originated in bats in China or neighboring countries. A recent paper tracing the genetic lineage of the novel virus found evidence that it probably evolved in bats into its current form. The researchers also concluded that either this coronavirus or others...

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