My picks from ScienceDaily

Fighting Australian Crayfish Do Not Forget The Face Of Foes:

The fighting Australian yabby, a type of crayfish, smaller than a lobster but similar in appearance, does not forget the face of its foes says new research from University of Melbourne zoologists. The two year study involving over 100 pairs of yabbies revealed that the species Cherax destructor is capable of facial recognition of individuals, particularly its opponents.

Why Juniper Trees Can Live On Less Water:

An ability to avoid the plant equivalent of vapor lock and a favorable evolutionary history may explain the unusual drought resistance of junipers, some varieties of which are now spreading rapidly in water-starved regions of the western United States, a Duke University study has found.

New Theory For Dogfish And Skate Population Outburst, Off New England Shore, US:

New research by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory questions the long-held belief that a lack of predators and competitors was the primary cause for the increase of skates and dogfish observed in Southern New England's George's Bank following overfishing of commercially important species in the 1980's.

Evidence Of 'Rain-making' Bacteria Discovered In Atmosphere And Snow:

Brent Christner, LSU professor of biological sciences, in partnership with colleagues in Montana and France, recently found evidence that rain-making bacteria are widely distributed in the atmosphere. These biological particles could factor heavily into the precipitation cycle, affecting climate, agricultural productivity and even global warming. Christner and his colleagues published their results on Feb 29 in the journal Science.

Building Brains: Mammalian-like Neurogenesis In Fruit Flies:

The nerve cells in the brain of Drosophila are generated by neural stem cell-like progenitor cells called neuroblasts. In the currently accepted model of neurogenesis, these neuroblast divide asymmetrically both to self renew and to produce a smaller progenitor cell. This smaller cell then divides only once into two daughter cells, which receive cell fate determinants, causing them to exit the cell cycle and differentiate into postmitotic neural cells.

Enormous Jurassic Sea Predator, Pliosaur, Discovered In Norway:

Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway has announced the discovery of one of the largest dinosaur-era marine reptiles ever found - an enormous sea predator known as a pliosaur estimated to be almost 15 meters (50 feet) feet long.

Chimps May Have A 'Language-ready' Brain:

An area of the brain involved in the planning and production of spoken and signed language in humans plays a similar role in chimpanzee communication, researchers report.

What Caused Westward Expansion In The United States?:

Western Expansion during the nineteenth century was an important determinant of geographic distribution and economic activity in the United States today. However, while explanations abound for why the migration occurred-- from the low price of land to a pioneering spirit -- little empirical work has been done to determine which specific market forces were the most important drivers.

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