Why do some species evolve to miniaturize?

The island rule hypothesizes that species shrink or supersize to fill insular niches not available to them on the mainland.

Credit: Frank Glaw
  • Brookesia nana, the nano-chameleon, may be the smallest vertebrate ever discovered.
  • The "island rule" states that when new species migrate to islands, they may shrink or grow as they evolve to fill new ecological niches.
  • It remains unclear whether the island rule can explain the nano-chameleon or nature's other extreme miniaturizations.
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Scientists confirm quantum response to magnetism in cells

University of Tokyo scientists observe predicted quantum biochemical effects on cells.

Credit: Dan-Cristian Pădureț/Unsplash
  • Scientists suspect quantum effects are behind animals' ability to perform geomagnetic navigation.
  • Geomagnetic navigation is believed to be light-based.
  • Researchers watch as magnet-induced quantum changes affect cells' luminescence.
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    Isolated island group is now one of the world's largest animal sanctuaries

    One of the world's most isolated island groups has just been made one of the world's largest ocean reserves.

    Credit: RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
    • The small island group of Tristan da Cunha has created one of the world's largest ocean sanctuaries.
    • Neither fishing nor extractive activities will be allowed in the area, which is three times the size of the United Kingdom.
    • Animals protected by this zone include penguins, sharks, and many seabirds.
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    Crows are self-aware just like us, says new study

    Crows have their own version of the human cerebral cortex.

    Credit: Amarnath Tade/ Unsplash
  • Crows and the rest of the corvid family keep turning out to be smarter and smarter.
  • New research observes them thinking about what they've just seen and associating it with an appropriate response.
  • A corvid's pallium is packed with more neurons than a great ape's.
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    Woodpecker wars are intense and even draw a crowd

    Acorn woodpecker battles over prized territory are serious business.

    Credit: Steve Byland/Shutterstock
    • Acorn woodpeckers are highly socialized birds who are, let's say, unusual.
    • Small teams of acorn woodpeckers battle for days over coveted territory.
    • Up to 30 spectators attend the battles, leaving their own territories unattended to do so.
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