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Grizzly Bears May Thrive Under Warming Conditions – On Science

October 30, 2013

What creature will thrive in climate change?

The latest buzz on robotic planes.

There’s a new dolphin in the family.

And scoping some chicks…coming up today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

While most creatures on earth are going to suffer from the impending doom and gloom of climate change, the grizzly bear may thrive. Biologists from the University of Alberta in Canada monitored over 100 grizzlies for a 10-year period in the Alberta Rocky Mountains. They found warmer temperatures and easier access to food allow the grizzlies to build more body fat which is associated with higher reproductively in female bears. So the team hypothesizes that the rise in temperatures may not be such a bad thing for grizzlies. They said “the fatter the bear, the better!” However, that is still not true of you fellas out there watching.

And scientists have been watching some buzzing bees for putting on the brakes. Scientists in Australia say that the grace and skill with which honeybees land could be applied to a robotic aircraft. Honeybees achieve a perfect touchdown no matter how fast they are going. They found that the use of visual cues for landing is based on how fast the target is expanding. They say this same idea could be used in robotic aircraft with video cameras for eyes instead of having to rely on expensive and cumbersome equipment like sonar, radar and laser beams. The honeybee is giving the dolphin a run for its money in inspiring technology.

Actually, there’s a new dolphin in town. Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and a few other contributors have identified a new species of humpback dolphin off the coast of northern Australia. They studied the skull characteristics and DNA from tissue samples to separate this particular species out from the rest of the family of humpback dolphins, which now is known to include four different species. They are all characterized by a hump just below their dorsal fin. The new species is yet to be named but the team says that this research provides “needed scientific evidence for management decisions aimed at protecting their unique genetic diversity and associated important habitat.”

Looks like the Dream Chaser could take some cues from the honeybee as well. The spaceship didn’t have such a smooth landing this week. The Sierra Nevada Corporation, a contractor working with NASA, tested its Dream Chaser spaceship, which is being built as a space taxi, if you will, to carry up to seven astronauts at a time up to the International Space Station. The space plane aced its flight but crash-landed when a wheel on the left-side landing gear failed to deploy. But don’t worry – no one was hurt in the crash as the Dream Chaser, which looks a lot like a space shuttle with wings, flies autonomously. Teams are now accessing the damage but say all-in-all the flight was a success.

The reason I check a chick out and he does are totally different. New research has shown what we girls knew all along, we check out other girls out. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hooked up college-age men and women to eye tracking devices to determine the nature of our roaming eyes. They found that both men and women were likely to gaze first at sexualized body parts. Researchers say this shows that it’s not just men – women also objectify other women. Researchers say that anecdotal evidence supports eye-tracking results, which show that though women and men both check the ladies out, women do it because they’re comparing themselves to other women.

And that’s all for On Science! See you tomorrow!



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