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Animals

Rats Blamed For Bubonic Plague, But Gerbils May Be The Real Villains

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rats have had a bad reputation ever since they were blamed for spreading bubonic plague. But perhaps the blame was misplaced. NPR's Scott Simon reflects on the roles of rodents.

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All Things Considered

U.S. Biologists Keen To Explore, Help Protect Cuba's Wild Places

Friday, February 27, 2015

Birders especially know that Cuba harbors hundreds of rarely seen, little-studied species. As the island nation opens to more U.S. visitors, scientists hope "green Cuba" can survive increased tourism.

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All Things Considered

Marine Biologist Eugenie Clark Remembered As Passionate Shark Advocate

Thursday, February 26, 2015

During a career that spanned almost 75 years, Dr. Eugenie Clark was one of the world's foremost marine biologists and defender of sharks. Clark died Wednesday at the age of 92.

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Morning Edition

South Korea Cafe Lets Patrons Hang Out With Sheep

Thursday, February 26, 2015

You may have heard of cat cafes — a spot where you can have coffee and play with resident cats. And now in the South Korean capital Seoul, there's a sheep cafe.

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An Owl Is Attacking And Injuring Residents Of A Netherlands Town

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Drones aren't the only airborne worry in Europe this week. An aggressive owl is terrorizing the Dutch town of Purmerend. Hormones, perhaps? Or maybe it's just hungry.

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Eyelashes Grow To Just The Right Length To Shield Eyes

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eyelashes keep dust out and fend off drying breezes, a study finds. To do that they need to be a very precise length. Extra-long fake eyelashes hurt more than they help.

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All Things Considered

Gerbils Likely Pushed Plague To Europe in Middle Ages

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shifts in climate in the Middle Ages likely drove bubonic plague bacteria from gerbils in Asia to people in Europe, research now suggests. Rats don't deserve all the blame.

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Good News: More Crops! Bad News: More Plague!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tiny patches of Tanzanian farmland contain more rats than do nearby forests. These rats are more likely to carry the bacteria that cause the plague in humans.

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All Things Considered

Catching A Southern Coyote, Then Letting It Go In The Name Of Science

Monday, February 23, 2015

Coyotes in the Deep South live among a mosaic of agricultural fields and woods but little wilderness. A new study uses tracking collars to understand how these animals thrive in three Southern states.

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For The Evolution Of Marine Creatures, Bigger Is Better, Study Says

Friday, February 20, 2015

A new study published in Science looked at thousands of marine animals over a 540-million-year evolutionary span. Their conclusion: Most of them got larger.

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TED Radio Hour

What Makes The Human Brain Unique?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel turns brains into soup so she can meticulously count the neurons and determine why human brains are unique.

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All Things Considered

Pain Really Is All In Your Head And Emotion Controls Intensity

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Humiliation, fear and unpredictability all turn up the volume on pain, research shows. And meditation can turn down pain's intensity, according to scientists who are starting to figure out why.

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The Takeaway

A Best in Show Beagle and Plenty of #WestminsterRejects

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

At this year's Westminster dog show there were nearly 3,000 entrants, but only one winner: A beagle named Miss P. Listeners like you have also been sharing photos of your own pups.

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Morning Edition

Why Penguins Can't Taste Fish

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Savor fish are a staple for penguins. Researchers say the birds' ability to taste umami disappeared more than 20 million years ago.

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Beagle Miss P Is Named Westminster Dog Show's Best

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Canadian canine is only the second beagle to win, following her great-uncle Uno in 2008.

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The Takeaway

Using Science to Resurrect Endangered Species

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

At the San Diego Zoo, researches freeze genetic material from endangered species on the brink of extinction. 

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Morning Edition

Meet The Dogs Whose Names Are Too Long To Fit In This Headline

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show concludes Tuesday — but it might take you some time longer just to spell the names of the dogs involved. So what's the deal with all the elaborate names?

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Pity For Penguins: They Can't Taste Their Dinner

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Savory fish are a staple for penguins, but the poor birds lack the ability to taste the umami flavor of their meals. One hypothesis? The genes at play got frozen out of commission.

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Thanks To Technology, Toucan Gets A Second Beak On Life

Saturday, February 14, 2015

NPR's Scott Simon takes a moment to note that a toucan in Costa Rica that had part of its beak destroyed is getting a new one made from a 3-D printer.

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Birders Predict Another Snowy Owl 'Irruption'

Saturday, February 07, 2015

In 2014, ornithologists documented the largest numbers in a century of snowy owls wintering unusually far south. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Talkin' Birds host Ray Brown about this year's numbers.

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