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Life sciences/Organismal biology/Animals/Vertebrates/Mammals

Arthropods, which include insects, arachnids and crustaceans, are the most diverse group of terrestrial species on the planet. And that might be why researchers have had such a difficult time estimating their numbers, especially in tropical forests where so many arthropod species are known to thrive.

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Scientists working on the transmission of the H5N1 avian influenza strain have voluntarily agreed to halt research for 60 days to allow time for international discussion on its benefits and potential harms.

In a letter published today by Science and Nature, the researchers acknowledge that they and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks. They propose an international forum for the scientific community to discuss these issues.

Paper wasps can recognize each others’ faces, researchers report. This ability is separate from the wasps’ more general capacity to distinguish shapes and patterns, and it seems to be a specialized skill that evolves independently in various lineages of social animals, including humans.

Movies like the 'Lion King' have given hyenas a bad reputation of lawless scavengers. But these unique hunters actually live in complex social groups.

Scientists have discovered the cremated skeleton of a Paleoindian child in the remains of an 11,500-year-old house in central Alaska. The findings reveal a slice of domestic life that has been missing from the record of the region’s early people, who were among the first to colonize the Americas.

The discovery, by Ben Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and colleagues, appears in the 25 February issue of the journal Science.

Increasing numbers of birds, mammals and amphibians have moved closer to extinction in the last several decades—but not as far as they would have if no conservation measures had been enacted, researchers report in ScienceExpress this week.

Tanzania and Zambia are petitioning to downgrade the conservation status of elephants and allow the sale of tons of stockpiled ivory, but researchers are warning that such a ruling could endanger the mammoth mammals by encouraging more illegal poaching.