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Sparrow songs tune into context

Sparrow songs tune into context

Understanding how swamp sparrows use context in their songs could shed light on the evolution of human language

With a limited arsenal of sounds, we humans can communicate a vast body of thought. Part of how we do this is by using contextual cues to distinguish between very nuanced differences in the sounds we make. This sensitivity to context has long been thought to be a uniquely human aspect of communication. More…

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Engineered by humans, inspired by nature

Engineered by humans, inspired by nature

Biomimicry allows scientists to take a page out of nature’s playbook

Otters get the flu, too

Otters get the flu, too

Research shows that sea otters have gotten sick with H1N1, also known as swine flu

Natural history museums: fact or fiction?

Natural history museums: fact or fiction?

It’s tempting to view natural history dioramas as pure representations of fact — but these displays may be shaped by cultural assumptions and theatrical urges

Alcoholism after gastric bypass: Is it in your mind or gut?

Alcoholism after gastric bypass: Is it in your mind or gut?

Scientists have competing ideas for why gastric bypass patients show higher rates of alcohol abuse post-surgery

Origins of cooperation are still fair game

Origins of cooperation are still fair game

Scientists continue to debate whether experiments can show that our primate ancestors evolved fairness, or if cooperation is uniquely human

The puzzle of morality

The puzzle of morality

A Harvard neuroscientist looks to evolution to explain altruism

Wet beaches drown sea turtles

Wet beaches drown sea turtles

Climate change makes beaches wetter, hurting the survival of sea turtle hatchlings