thejunglenook: Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they…


Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals
New Scientist (24 February 2016)

Gorillas sing and hum when eating, a discovery that could help shed light on how language evolved in early humans.

Singing seems to be a way for gorillas to express contentment with their meal, as well as for the head of the family to communicate to others that it is dinner time.

Food-related calls have been documented in many animals, including chimpanzees and bonobos, but aside from anecdotal reports from zoos, there was no evidence of it in gorillas.

To see if they make these noises in the wild, Eva Luef, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, observed two groups of wild western lowland gorillas in the Republic of the Congo.

Luef identified two different types of sound that the gorillas sometimes made when eating. One of them was humming – a steady low-frequency tone that sounds a bit like a sigh of contentment… (listen to clip here)

The other was singing – a series of short, differently pitched notes that sounds a little like someone humming a random melody… (listen to clip here).

“They don’t sing the same song over and over,” says Luef. “It seems like they are composing their little food songs.”Ali Vella-Irving, who looks after gorillas at Toronto Zoo in Canada, says humming and singing is a frequent part of mealtimes there. “Each gorilla has its own voice: you can really tell who’s singing,” she says. “And if it’s their favourite food, they sing louder.”

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Photo Credit: Song of the jungle (Bernd Rohrschneider/FLPA)

Journal Reference:
Luef EM, Breuer T, Pika S (2016) Food-Associated Calling in Gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) in the Wild. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0144197. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144197  (X)

Scientists discover major Jurassic fossil site in Argentina

Scientists discover major Jurassic fossil site in Argentina:


The site, which spans 23,000 square miles (60,000 square kilometers) in Patagonia, southern Argentina, came to light this week with the publication of a report in the journal Ameghiniana.

“No other place in the world contains the same amount and diversity of Jurassic fossils,” said geologist Juan Garcia Massini of the Regional Center for Scientific Research and Technology Transfer (CRILAR).

The fossils—between 140 and 160 million years old—lie on the surface because they were recently exposed by erosion, said Garcia Massini, who leads the research team investigating the site.

“You can see the landscape as it appeared in the Jurassic—how thermal waters, lakes and streams as well as plants and other parts of the ecosystem were distributed,” he said.

The fossils were preserved almost immediately, in less than a day in some cases.

“You can see how fungi, cyanobacteria and worms moved when they were alive,” Garcia Massini said of the site that lies along the Deseado Massif mountain range.

Ignacio Escapa of the Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum said the researchers had found “a wide range of micro and macro-organisms.”

The fossils are so well preserved, that researchers say each rock extracted from the site could possibly open the door to a new discovery.

A meteorite falls in Spain

On 24 Feb. 2016, at 1:32 UT (2:32 local time), a rock from an asteroid impacted the atmosphere at 60.000 km/h over the province of Cordoba (Spain). The fireball was much brighter than the full Moon and ended at a height of about 19 km, producing a meteorite with a final mass of about 1 kg.
El 24 de febrero de 2016, a las 2:32 hora local española (1:32 UT), una roca procedente de un asteroide impactó contra la atmósfera sobre la provincia de Córdoba a unos 60.000 km/h. La impresionante bola de fuego que se generó fue mucho más brillante que la Luna llena. El evento alcanzó una altitud final de unos 19 km sobre la provincia de Córdoba, produciendo un meteorito que alcanzó el suelo con una masa aproximada de 1 kg.