06 October 2010

Surprisingly social lizards & ferocious robins

Seems that every time they look a bit closer at nonhumans, researchers find our fellow Earthlings more complex, more "like us" than humans expected.  Seems reasonable to assume that we continue to underestimate them. 

The latest example: " Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have found that a species of lizard in the Mojave Desert lives in family groups and shows patterns of social behavior more commonly associated with mammals and birds. Their investigation of the formation and stability of family groups in desert night lizards (Xantusia vigilis) provides new insights into the evolution of cooperative behavior."

Robin song is suited to cooler air, to mornings and evenings in spring and summer and the shorter day length later. It has a sharp-edged clarity, with liquid runs and etched phrases enhanced by the sounding woods. Here there is some leaf cover surrounding still, open, well-lit spaces which act as studios for the singing birds. Robins have a reputation for ferocity with each other and a lack of fear with us. They also have a sweetness of song which reaches points where joy and melancholy merge. This is where the mood is shaped which, with the fragrance of leaf-rot and rain, fruits and earth, create what we feel as autumn.

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