My picks from ScienceDaily

New Zealand's 'Living Dinosaur' -- The Tuatara -- Is Surprisingly The Fastest Evolving Animal:

In a study of New Zealand's "living dinosaur" the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined.

See more....

Computers Show How Bats Classify Plants According To Their Echoes:

Researchers have developed a computer algorithm that can imitate the bat's ability to classify plants using echolocation. The study represents a collaboration between machine learning scientists and biologists studying bat orientation.

Language Feature Unique To Human Brain Identified:

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have identified a language feature unique to the human brain that is shedding light on how human language evolved. The study marks the first use of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a non-invasive imaging technique, to compare human brain structures to those of chimpanzees, our closest living relative.

Unlocking The Psychology Of Snake And Spider Phobias:

University of Queensland researchers have unlocked new evidence that could help them get to the bottom of our most common phobias and their causes. Hundreds of thousands of people count snakes and spiders among their fears, and while scientists have previously assumed we possess an evolutionary predisposition to fear the unpopular animals, researchers at UQ's School of Psychology may have proved otherwise.

More like this

What Gets A Female's Attention, At Least A Songbird's: Male songbirds produce a subtly different tune when they are courting a female than when they are singing on their own. Now, new research offers a window into the effect this has on females, showing they have an ear for detail. The finding…
Folks at UCLA have created a list of evolutionary winners and losers. They've based this list on a species' ability to diversify over time. At the top of the winners list are birds (with 9,000 species) and mammals (with 5,400 species). Compare that speciation with big fat losers like crocodiles and…
Tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus A robotic tuatara has been put to work in Stephens Island, New Zealand, helping researchers to better understand the mating habits of its biological brethren. Tuataras are one of the oldest reptile species on Earth, dating back 200 million years. The researchers are…
Back in February I discovered the remarkable work of Australian biologist Bryan Grieg Fry, who has been tracing the evolution of venom. As I wrote in the New York Times, he searched the genomes of snakes for venom genes. He discovered that even non-venomous snakes produce venom. By drawing an…