In a fascinating new study forthcoming from The Quarterly Review of Biology, biologists from the University of Oxford explore a rare tactic employed by females badgers to maximize their reproductive success. The authors argue that conception during pregnancy, known as superfetation, benefits female reproductive fitness by reducing the risk of infanticide, extending the females window of opportunity for conception, and increasing the genetic diversity of the litter.
"Natural selection and sexual selection act on both sexes. However, emphasis on sexual selection as a direct evolutionary force acting on males has diverted attention away from the selective process acting on females, whose discrete mating tactics may have masked the extent of reproductive conflict between the sexes," write Nobuyuki Yamaguchi, Hannah L. Dugdale, and David W. Macdonald, all of the Wildlife Conservation Unit at the University of Oxford.
One of only two known species that exhibit or are presumed to exhibit both superfetation and embryonic diapause – during which the newly fertilized egg temporarily ceases development and remains free in the uterus cavity instead of implanting directly into the uterus – the female European badger first ovulates and is fertilized in late winter-early spring (January-March). However, implantation does not occur until December or January of the following year, a gestation period of nearly eleven months.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
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Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
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Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
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