Welcome to your weekly digest of the latest news and blog coverage of articles recently published in PLoS ONE.
Cristina Gomes and Christophe Boesch at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology recently studied wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire, in order to try to further our understanding of how females choose their mating partners and why males hunt and share meat with them. In their article, Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long-Term Basis, Gomes and Boesch report that females copulate more often with males who share meat with them on at least one occasion, compared with males who never share meat with them. This provides important evidence for the hypothesis that males and females exchange meat for mating access.
The news and blog coverage of this study has been extensive—a BBC News story on the paper was the most read and the most shared story on the website on Tuesday night. Some of the other coverage includes: New Scientist, National Geographic, ScienceNOW, Reuters, Discovery News, El País and Not Exactly Rocket Science.
Also picking up some attention from the media this week were two studies, which both add to our knowledge of pyrogeography. In the first, researchers at Duke University report that rainforest reserves provide important protection against devastating fires in the Brazilian Amazon; the study was highlighted by Nature News. In the second article, a group of scientists at University of California, Berkeley, and Texas Tech University, report on the effects of climate change on the global distribution of wildfires. Some of the coverage of the article has included the Australian World Today podcast (you can also read the transcript here) and Conservation Magazine’s Journal Watch.
In an article published in last week’s PLoS ONE, Non-destructive sampling of ancient insect DNA, Eske Willerslev and Philip Francis Thomsen of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues describe a new technique for retrieving ancient DNA from various insect remains—some almost 200 years old—without damaging the specimens. The study was featured in this week’s Observatory column of the New York Times.
Finally, here is a brief round-up of some of the blog coverage other PLoS ONE articles have received. A study on the changes in ballet postures over time has been covered in blog posts by Not Exactly Rocket Science and the British Psychological Society Research Digest Blog. The latter also highlighted another PLoS ONE article by researchers at University College London on the psychophysics of brightness. The article I Feel what You Feel if You Are Similar to Me was covered by SciCurious of Neurotopia. Neurotypical discussed two PLoS ONE papers—Simon Fels’s article, Cellular Communication through Light, and Obesity, the Endocannabinoid System, and Bias Arising from Pharmaceutical Sponsorship, by John McPartland.
From the Other PLoS Journals
An insecticide that specifically targets older mosquitoes could be a more effective method of controlling malaria than existing pesticides according to an article published in PLoS Biology this week. New Scientist, ScienceNOW, the Economist and the Independent have all covered the story this week.