When we think about the role of fancy bird feathers, we usually think of a male peacock preening to attract his mate. But, a new study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that sexxxy time is only one of the reasons for colourful bird plumage.
After looking at almost a thousand birds researchers found that over time the color differentiation between the bird sexes come closer together in color to camouflage themselves and hide from predators. Turns out that survival of the species is at least as powerful as sexual selection.
As an aside, the study also found that male birds with lots of mates actually have duller colors than their female consorts. Why? We have no idea, the researchers refrained from positing an explanation. However, we are sure there is a Kody Brown/Sister Wives joke to be made here, we just can’t quite find it.
In a totally different study also published this week researchers found that bats have stringent road rules. Who knew?!
Of course, their rules are a little bit different from ours. When researchers mapped the biosonar of bats in flight what they found is that bats play a high stakes game of follow the leader. Once a bat is within biosonar range of another bat, it picks up that bat’s signal, and then copies that individual’s flight movements – in less than 500 milliseconds. Pretty much as fast as people blink!
So basically, imagine if your morning commute consisted of watching the cars around you and then copying one when it got really close. Until you got to the next closest car and then you switched off who was your leader. Now, imagine doing this while flying, swooping, turning and chasing. You are never gonna make it to work on time.
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