Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.
From Noah: A chain of events: Human hunting –> extirpation of large megafauna –> Australia’s wet rainforests become dry savannah.
Exploring sediment cores for past evidence of big herbivores, researchers found that the arrival of humans coincided with the loss of a menagerie of magnificent beasts, from giant kangaroos to fearsome marsupial lions and monster birds to Komodo dragon-like reptiles. The decline of this megafauna ultimately led to ecological changes that may have caused Australia’s rainforest to become savannah.
From Devin: A new independent overview of Peerage of Science appears in Trends in Ecology and Evolution:
PoS has the ambitious aim to enhance peer-review quality, save time for authors, reviewers and editors, and money for publishers. It is designed to be an open community, but reviews can only be written by scientists who have already published a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Manuscripts are submitted through the PoS web application, which allows peers to sign up for reviewing and subsequently automatically coordinates a four-stage peer-review process.
Also from Devin: A short video describing a plant-bird mutualism from TEDEducation.
And from Sarah: A National Trust in the UK finds: Nature is good for you!
The trust argues, as have other bodies in previous years, that the growing dissociation of children from the natural world and internment in the “cotton wool culture” of indoor parental guidance impairs their capacity to learn through experience.