Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why Beavers Survived In The 19th Century

15.10.2004


Russian scientists give an explanation for the wonder of beaver survival throughout the 19th century, when these animals were badly endangered and lived in conditions that would be fatal for another mammalian species.



A population of beavers can survive, if it includes only three animals living together. Such a small size of viable population is explained by the genetic adaptation of beavers to inbreeding. Beaver genome and behaviour account for an outstanding viability of this species, as is established by A.N. Milishnikov and his colleagues from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow.

Beavers have a rather puritan character: as distinct from other mammalian species, they don’t give way to promiscuity, but live as couples and even families. Several families make up a settlement (colony) that is a larger society of beavers. However, families maintain their genetic isolation and do not interbreed. Each family resides within a certain area of a river and bank, where the others cannot enter (trespassers are severely punished).


In every family, only one couple breeds, and their offspring stay with them for a long while and don’t breed. Young beavers can make up a couple once they find a suitable place on the river for their own family lodge. Obviously, beavers possess a huge reserve of genetic diversity in order to avoid the negative consequences of inbreeding.

Russian scientists have revealed that genetic differences between beavers within the same colony are stronger than those between representatives of different colonies. A beaver chooses a mate not haphazardly. This was for the first time discovered in the course of captive breeding, which was rather unsuccessful: most animals refused to mate and behaved aggressively to each other.

Only very few couples were happy and lived together for many years. The scientists do not yet know how beavers choose their mates. Apparently, it is somehow connected with the need to avoid genetic similarity.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Typhoons and marine eutrophication are probably the missing source of organic nitrogen in ecosystems
15.11.2019 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

nachricht Rethinking the science of plastic recycling
24.10.2019 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

Im Focus: A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

The algorithm represents a first step in the automated learning of quantum information networks

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Volcanoes under pressure

18.11.2019 | Earth Sciences

Scientists discover how the molecule-sorting station in our cells is formed and maintained

18.11.2019 | Life Sciences

Hot electrons harvested without tricks

18.11.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>