New Caledonian crows extract prey faster with complex hooked tools

Biologists have discovered why some crows 'craft' elaborate hooked tools out of branched twigs according to Science daily.

The new study explores why crows go the extra mile rather than using simple, unmodified sticks to extract prey -- it allows them to get at hidden food several times faster than if they used basic (non-hooked) tools.

New Caledonian crows are famous for their use of tools to winkle beetle grubs and other small prey out of hiding places. Although crows are capable of extracting food with straight twigs, in some areas they actively manufacture hooked stick tools before going hunting.

A survival lesson from bats: Eating variety keeps species multiplying

Diet is an important factor influencing the survival and evolution of all species. Many studies have shown that when species evolve from being a predator or insectivore to being a vegetarian, the rate at which new species arise increases. But a new study reveals that omnivorous New World noctilionoid bats, those species with diets including both plant and animal materials, produce more generations in the long run than specialized vegetarian or insectivorous species, according to Science Daily.

Co-author Liliana Dávalos, PhD, a Professor, and colleagues examined the rate at which new species arise, as well as the rate of change for diet across the evolutionary history of more than a hundred species of these bats. They found that adding plants to the diet increased rates of new species formation. The fastest rates of species formation corresponded to lineages that fed mostly -- but not exclusively on plant products -- or fed on many different types of products such a fruit, nectar and pollen.

Hope for threatened 'little tiger cat'

It's the smallest cat in the Americas, occupying the smallest area of land.

Listed as vulnerable to extinction, the güiña wildcat of Chile has lost much of its natural home as forests are chopped down or converted to farmland, according to BBC.

And, like many carnivores, it's at risk from human persecution over fears it might kill livestock.

Solving Darwin's 'abominable mystery': How flowering plants conquered the world

Scientists have found an explanation for how flowering plants became dominant so rapidly in ecosystems across the world -- a problem that Charles Darwin called an 'abominable mystery'. Kevin Simonin and Adam Roddy, found that flowering plants have small cells relative to other major plant groups and that this small cell size is made possible by a greatly reduced genome size, according to Science Daily.

Speedy turkey-sized dinosaur that roamed Earth 113 million years

A turkey-sized dinosaur that once roamed the rift valley 113 million years ago has been discovered according, to Daily Mail`.

It appears the plant-eating dinosaur became trapped in a log jam where it died in pain and became immortalised.

The new find sheds light on the diversity of the small, bipedal herbivorous dinosaurs called ornithopods.

The partial skeleton named Diluvicursor pickeringi or Pickering's Flood-Running dinosaur was found in sea cliffs. 

'Diluvicursor shows for the first time that there were at least two distinct body-types among closely related ornithopods, said lead author Vertebrate Palaeontologist Dr Matt .