Findings — From the July 2010 issue

Findings

Antisocial behavior among boys was correlated with both precocious puberty and delayed puberty; badly behaved teenage girls were found to have a hard time discerning anger and disgust on other people’s faces, though they showed no deficiencies in recognizing fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise; and poor children were found to be worse than rich children at catching, dribbling, galloping, hopping, jumping, kicking, leaping, rolling, running, sliding, striking, and throwing. A study suggested that many American parents think of their teenage children as sexually uninterested and of all other teenagers as sexually hyperactive and predatory. Male crickets raised amid the abundant song of other male crickets have more massive testes. Baby corals looking for a place to live follow the sound of reefs. Hermit crabs queue in long lines, ordering themselves from biggest to smallest, while awaiting a synchronous vacancy chain, wherein each crab moves to the next biggest shell.

In the Amazon, two-toed sloths, who usually visit the forest floor only once or twice a week (to defecate, and occasionally to switch trees), were descending at night to climb into the latrines of primatologists and eat handfuls of feces, toilet paper, and urine. Researchers who observed the behavior speculated that the participating sloths, among them a mother and her baby, may have been enticed by the promise of protein, salt, or larvae. The researchers (who had intended to study not sloths but red titi monkeys) also worried that these sloths might fall ill. A Welsh swan subdued and swallowed whole a large eel. Spectacled eider ducks in the Bering Sea were being hunted by a walrus. Canadian men, unlike most of the world’s men, grow fatter as they get richer. Canadian scientists announced the development of a Mouse Grimace Scale, which will allow humans to determine, by a mouse’s facial expression, how much pain that mouse is in. Mice may produce their own morphine.

In Japan, where 2 million honeybees were stolen last year and the price of bees continues to rise, a gang of bee rustlers struck in Shizuoka prefecture. In the United States, a third of all honeybee colonies were found to have died during the winter. In Kenya, elephants were found to use a special rumble to warn one another of the presence of bees. Entomologists working in Iran and Turkey learned that a rare species of solitary bee builds brood chambers of brightly colored flower petals. Two different species of orchid, each attractive to a different species of solitary bee, were found to have cross-pollinated and created a third species of orchid, attractive to a third species of solitary bee. In Brazil, which was found to be worse for the environment than any other country, a fire destroyed the world’s largest collection of dead snakes. The carbon footprints of early Native Americans were much larger than previously thought. Researchers revealed that a 30,000-year-old siltstone phallus discovered in a German cave had also been used to light fires. A Tokyo couple were married by I-Fairy, a pigtailed robot. Horticultural scientists reported progress in testing strawberries to be grown in spaceships. “The idea is to supplement the human diet with something people can look forward to,” said one of the scientists. “Fresh berries can certainly do that.”

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