Animals

Pardon me: Did a robot just hear fish farts?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 29, 2012   View Article

A torpedo-shaped robot that bobbed up and down along the Florida coast to map sound production by red grouper and toadfish has detected what appears to be the unmistakable sound of herring passing gas.

That is, a robot heard what scientists believe to be fish farts.

Radar is game changer in saving endangered birds

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 20, 2012   View Article

A portable radar system combined with night vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras are helping scientists find and protect a rare bird in the Caribbean, a conservation group explained Monday.

While none of these technologies are new, they are now inexpensive enough to do more than track airplanes and find thugs hiding behind enemy lines.

Rat-like image recognition to replace satellites

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2012   View Article

The images of nearly every major stretch of road taken by Google’s Street View team and the snapshots we capture with our smartphones may soon be all we need to navigate the world, according to an Australian researcher.

That is, we can ditch the expensive satellite and computer technologies that power modern GPS systems and rely on low-resolution pictures instead, Michael Milford, an engineer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, explained.

Can drones fly as well as Luke Skywalker

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 19, 2012   View Article

Next-generation drones may fly like Luke Skywalker zipping through the Endor forest on a speeder bike, suggests new research which focuses on how birds such as northern goshawks determine their maximum speed limit.

These birds race after prey through the forest canopy without smacking into tree trunks.

They avoid this fate by observing a theoretical speed limit, according to scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Robots show randomness in evolution of language

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 4, 2012   View Article

Even if everything about different groups of animals is identical down to the level of their genes and physical surroundings, they can develop unique ways to communicate, according to an experiment done with robots that use flashing lights to “talk.”

The Swiss researchers used the robots to get handle on why there is such diversity in communication systems within and between species, something that is difficult to do in living animals.

Oldest Antarctic Whale Found, Shows Fast Evolution

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 16, 2011   View Article

The oldest known whale to ply the Antarctic has been found, scientists say.

A 24-inch-long (60-centimeter-long) jawbone was recently discovered amid a rich deposit of fossils on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The creature, which may have reached lengths of up to 20 feet (6 meters), had a mouthful of teeth and likely feasted on giant penguins, sharks, and big bony fish, whose remains were also discovered with the jawbone.

New Shark Species Found in Food Market

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 1, 2011   View Article

It’s unlikely anyone’s ever complained, “Waiter, there’s a new species in my soup.” But the situation isn’t as rare as you might think.

A monkey, a lizard, and an “extinct” bird have all been discovered en route to the dinner plate, and now a new shark species joins their ranks, scientists report.

Fish taxonomists found the previously unknown shark at a market in Taiwan—no big surprise, according to study co-author William White.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach