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Magpies 'don't steal shiny objects'

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Eggshells act like 'sunblock', study suggests

The eggshells of wild birds may act like "sunblock", scientists have said.
A range of UK birds' eggs showed adaptations in pigment concentration and thickness to allow the right amount of sun to reach the embryos inside.
Researchers examined 75 species' eggs kept in a museum collection.

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A rare giant bird egg is being auctioned at Christie's auction house in London.
It was laid by an Elephant Bird in Madagascar and is thought to have been discovered by archaeologists in the late 19th or early 20th century.

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Diatryma
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Giant Eocene bird was 'gentle herbivore', study finds

Footprints believed to have been made by the giant bird Diatryma indicate that it was a "gentle herbivore" and not a fierce carnivore, scientists say.
A team of researchers from Washington, US, examined tracks uncovered in a landslide in 2009.
Previous investigations have suggested the giant bird was a carnivorous predator or scavenger.
But the absence of raptor-like claws in the footprints supports the theory that Diatryma was not a meat-eater.

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First ever family tree for all living birds reveals evolution and diversification

The world's first family tree linking all living bids and revealing when and where they evolved and diversified since dinosaurs walked the earth has been created by scientists from the University of Sheffield. 
Experts used the family tree to map out where the almost 10,000 species of birds live to show where the most diversification has taken place in the world.

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Tool-making crows have the ability to "reason", say scientists.

In an experiment, researchers found that crows were more likely to forage when they could attribute changes in their environment to a human presence.
This behaviour may suggest "complex cognition", according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Until now the ability to make inferences based on causes has been attributed to humans but not animals.

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Birds recognise human faces, voices

Some birds are able to identify their human friends by recognising their faces and voices, which is the key to their ability to survive, says a new study. London: Some birds are able to identify their human friends by recognizing their faces and voices, which is the key to their ability to survive, says a new study.
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Eggshells reveal birds' evolutionary secrets

Molecules from eggshells of endangered and extinct birds can tell behaviour and evolutionary history of Australian feathered fauna, reveals a study.
James Haile from Murdoch University, who pioneered the breakthrough technique, said eggshell has been largely overlooked as a source of information, despite its impermeability and resistance to decay, owing largely to the calcium carbonate matrix which acts to protect biomolecules.
Haile says researchers take the eggs of extinct and endangered birds and grind them down before sequencing the DNA to learn new information about these birds

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New research shows how much food is needed by seabirds

An international group of scientists has shown that many seabirds begin to suffer when the food available for them in the ocean declines below a critical level. This level is about one-third of the maximum measured amount of food available. They have found that this critical level is about the same for seabird species around the world. Their study - the most comprehensive ever undertaken - covers birds from the Arctic to the Antarctic and from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
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Evolution adds and subtracts, and nowhere is this math more evident than in vertebrates, which are programmed to have five digits on each limb. But many species do not. Snakes, of course, have no digits, and birds have three.
A genomic analysis shows that precursor cells pb that form index finger in five-fingered vertebrates can form the "thumb" or first digit in three-digit bird wing
Yale scientists now have a good handle on how these developmental changes are orchestrated in the embryo, but there is still one outstanding debate on birds: Which digits are they: a thumb with index and middle fingers, or the index, middle and ring fingers?

Source

Yale University



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