A bigger nose, a bigger bang: Size matters for ecoholocating toothed whales

Trying to find your lunch in the dark using a narrow flashlight to illuminate one place at a time may not seem like the most efficient way of foraging. However, if you replace light with sound, this seems to be exactly how the largest toothed predators on the planet find their food. A paper out this week shows that whales, dolphins, and porpoises have all evolved to use similar narrow beams of high intensity sound to echolocate prey. Far from being inefficient, this highly focused sense may have helped them succeed as top predators in the world's oceans, according to Science Daily.

A new sense enabled toothed whales to succeed in diverse habitats

32 million years ago, the ancestors of toothed whales and baleen whales diverged as the ancestors of toothed whales -- including dolphins, porpoises and sperm whales -- evolved the ability to echolocate; to send out sound pulses and listen for the returning echoes from objects and prey in their environment. This new sense allowed these animals to navigate and find food in dark or murky waters, during the night, or at extreme depths. Since then, this evolutionary step has allowed these animals to occupy an amazing diversity of habitats, from shallow freshwater rivers to the great ocean deeps.

A bigger nose, a bigger bang.

Freshwater turtles navigate using the sun

Blanding's turtle hatchlings need only the sun as their compass to guide them on their way to the nearest wetland -- and a place of safety. This is according to John Dean Krenz of Minnesota State University, lead author of a study. The study focused on how this freshwater turtle, is purposefully able to travel in a relatively straight line once it has hatched, according to Science Daily.

There are many examples of species that are able to navigate long distances, such as migrating birds, or dispersing salamanders. Some animals that move over long distances have a geomagnetic sense that guides them, while others orient themselves according to the sun's position.

Moths have evolved thick 'stealth coats' to stop hungry bats from hearing them fly, claims scientist

Moths have evolved thick 'stealth coats' to stop hungry bats from hearing them fly, one scientist has claimed. 

Moths are a mainstay food source for bats which use biological sonar to hunt their prey, according to Daily Mail.

While some moths have evolved ears that detect the ultrasonic calls of bats, many types of moths remain deaf.

Thomas Neil from Bristol University found the insects have developed what he calls a 'stealth coating' that serves as an acoustic cover.

Dr Neil says moths have evolved passive defences over millions of years to resist their primary predators.

Dinosaurs put all colored birds' eggs in one basket, evolutionarily speaking

A new study says the colors found in modern birds' eggs did not evolve independently, as previously thought, but evolved instead from dinosaurs.

According to researchers at Yale , birds inherited their egg color from non-avian dinosaur ancestors that laid eggs in fully or partially open nests. according to Science Daily.

"This completely changes our understanding of how egg colors evolved," said the study's lead author, Yale paleontologist Jasmina Wiemann. "For two centuries, ornithologists assumed that egg color appeared in modern birds' eggs multiple times, independently."

The ocean floor is DISSOLVING rapidly, study warns (and human activity is to blame)

The chalky white seafloor, made up largely of calcite formed from the remains of marine organisms, is rapidly dissolving as a result of human activity, scientists warn.

This mineral plays a key role in preventing the ocean from becoming too acidic, by neutralizing carbon dioxide in the water, according to Daily Mail.

In several regions, the influx of carbon dioxide is much more than the naturally occurring calcite can handle, causing it instead to dissolve and turn the ocean floor into a murky brown.

According to a new study from McGill University the phenomenon occurring in these areas is likely just a glimpse at what will soon be a much bigger issue.