Whether herbivores increase or decrease plant diversity depends on what’s on the menu

Cows eat grass. It seems simple enough. But just which kind of grass cows and their vegetarian comrades munch on can influence the entire ecosystem. Scientists have long known that herbivores affect the plant diversity...

Scientists study puncture performance of cactus spines

Beware the jumping cholla, Cylindropuntia fulgida. This shrubby, branching cactus will -- if provoked by touching -- anchor its splayed spines in the flesh of the offender. The barbed spines grip so tightly that...

Oldest evidence of dairying on the East Asian Steppe

Although dairy pastoralism once made Mongolian steppe herders successful enough to conquer most of Asia and Europe, the origins of this way of life on the East Asian steppe are still unclear. Now an...

Major corridor of Silk Road already home to high-mountain herders over 4,000 years ago

Using ancient proteins and DNA recovered from tiny pieces of animal bone, archaeologists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (IAET) at...

Hidden costs of disease to greater Yellowstone elk

For decades researchers have known that a bacterial disease in elk, bison and cattle in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem causes periodic abortions in these animals and chronic illness in humans drinking infected cow's milk....

Cuisine of early farmers revealed by analysis of proteins in pottery from Çatalhöyük

Knowledge of the diet of people living in the prehistoric settlement of Çatalhöyük almost 8000 years ago has been completed in astonishing scope and detail by analyzing proteins from their ceramic bowls and jars....

Basking sharks can jump as high and as fast as great whites

A collaborative team of marine biologists has discovered that basking sharks, hundreds of which are found off the shores of Ireland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Scotland, can jump as fast and as...

Leptospirosis strains identified in Uruguay cattle

Leptospirosis infections, caused by Leptospira bacteria, occur in people and animals around the world, but different strains of the bacteria may vary in their ability to cause disease and to jump between species. Now,...

Conservation dairy farming could help Pa. meet Chesapeake target

If the majority of dairy farms in Pennsylvania fully adopt conservation best-management practices, the state may be able to achieve its total maximum daily load water-quality target for the Chesapeake Bay, according to researchers. That...

Big game animals must learn to migrate and pass knowledge across generations

A team of scientists at the University of Wyoming has provided the first empirical evidence that ungulates (hooved mammals) must learn where and when to migrate, and that they maintain their seasonal migrations by...

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