How the mouse came to live alongside humans

Mice have been living alongside humans for 15,000 years, according to fossil evidence. According to BBC.

This is earlier than previously thought - and predates the dawn of agriculture.

Scientists believe wild mice crept into settlements in the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean) region to steal wild grains and seeds that ancient people had gathered and stored.

The rodents became what we know today as house mice, enjoying free food and shelter in human homes.

Ravens: Non-breeders live in highly dynamic social groups

Several recent studies have revealed that ravens are among the most intelligent species of birds and even species in general. But which factors caused the evolution of intelligence? According to a common hypothesis life in social groups can drive brain evolution especially when individuals benefit from remembering the identity of conspecifics and the interactions with them. With such knowledge, animals can avoid conflicts with higher ranking group members or develop alliances to gain better access to resources.

Sea Otters Ahead of Dolphins in Using Tools

Sea otters may have been using stone tools for thousands or even millions of years, according to scientists.

It appears otters learned how to use tools long before other marine mammals.

Sea otters are often seen floating on their backs, using rocks to break open shellfish for food.

A genetic study of more than 100 wild sea otters suggests their ancestors living millions of years ago showed this behavior, BBC reported.

Robber fly: Hunting secrets of a tiny predator revealed

 The mid-air hunting strategy of a tiny fly the size of a grain of rice has been revealed by an international team of scientists .According to BBC.

Holcocephala, a species of robber fly, is able to intercept and "lock on" to its prey in less than a second.

Researchers used high-speed cameras to show exactly how the fly positioned itself to capture a moving target in mid-air.

Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido explained that, normally, "when we think of hunting animals we think of excellent vision and speed, but when you're so very tiny, you have a very small brain and limited sensory capacity".

She added: "We wanted to know how [this fly manages] this predatory behaviour."

Survival instinct, not family bonds, weave massive spider colonies together

Spiders will live in groups if environmental conditions make it too difficult for single mothers to go it alone, new research shows.

It is rare for spiders to live in groups. The arachnids studied for this research build webs that require a lot of silk, making the rainy conditions of the lowland tropical rainforest too adverse for them to live alone. The findings dispute a long-held belief that social groups form merely so individuals can help their kin. Instead it suggests difficult environmental conditions may be the reason why some species live in cooperative social groups and others don't.

"In all species, family members are closely related, but only in some do they band together to raise each others' offspring," said Leticia Avilés, a professor of zoology. "By living in groups, the spiders can occupy spaces that they wouldn't otherwise be able to, thus helping us understand why animals evolve to be social species."

Avilés pointed to other animals to support this theory including penguins who are only able to survive extreme cold and winter storms by huddling together. She said this theory could also help explain why single-celled organisms merged together to form more complicated multicellular organisms in our evolutionary history.