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Stories by Robin Anne Smith


Eye-Tracking Reveals What s Hot, What s Not from the Peahen s Point of View

The peacock is one of the animal kingdom’s ultimate Casanovas. But which parts of the peacock’s love dance turn a female’s head? An eye-tracking study finds it’s not what you might think.Researcher Jessica Yorzinski of UC Davis and Duke University uses tiny custom-fitted cameras modeled after human eye-tracking devices to study peacock courtship from the female’s point of view.A peacock’s long technicolor tail may be eye-catching, she said, but males have other amorous charms that could also get a girl’s attention.“Females could be looking at the males’ eyespots, head crests, spurs, or the length of their legs,” Yorzinski explained...

July 25, 2013 — Robin Anne Smith

How Did Human Brains Get to Be so Big?

New research points to an ancient energy tradeoff that meant more fuel for brains, and less fuel for muscles. Recently while visiting the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., I found myself pondering the noggins of some very, very, old apes.Along one wall of the Hall of Human Origins — an exhibit on human evolution that opened in 2010 — were 76 fossil skulls from 15 species of early humans...

February 21, 2012 — Robin Anne Smith
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