Scientists made the find after swabbing the throats and other cavities of the penguins, looking for pathogens. It's the first avian influenza viruses to be found in Antarctica, and in penguins. It shows that influenza can be found even in the most remote parts of the planet. And suggests penguins may not be as isolated as previously thought from such viruses.
Eyes and wings are among the most stunning innovations evolution has created. Remarkably, these features have evolved multiple times in different lineages of animals. For instance, the avian ancestors of birds and the mammalian ancestors of bats both evolved wings independently, in an example of convergent evolution. The same happened for the eyes of squid and humans. Exactly how such convergent evolution arises is not always clear.
Oltaiyoni was found wandering all alone in the wild. Three-week-old Ashaka was stuck in a mud hole, desperate for help. Barsilinga was rescued at just two weeks old, when his mother was gravely wounded by poachers. I'm surrounded by these three orphans, and more, as they come in from a mud bath at their new home, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), an organization in Nairobi, Kenya that rescues and rehabilitates elephants. But it's not until baby Sokotei, wrapped in a blanket, his sleepy eyes gazing at me, lifts his warm little trunk to my face, sucking at my cheek like a tiny vacuum, that I start brainstorming ways to bring the orphan, who lost his mom to a mysterious illness, back to my New York apartment.
In the study, the researchers found that neighboring tomato plants exposed to these chemical cries for help contained a substance in their leaves called HexVic (or (Z)-3-hexenyl-vicianoside, if you must). They also found that when HexVic is fed to cutworms, which are the larvae of a moth, it makes them less likely to gain weight and survive.