And on a lighter note.

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PDQ Mobile
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Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 4:40pm

And on a lighter note.

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Sep 2019, 8:32am

From The Papers on the BBC.

"Finally, the Times is one of several papers to report on new research which sheds light on why barn owls are white. Swiss scientists attached stuffed owls of varying colours to a zipwire, then propelled them through the air above tanks full of voles.
In moonlit conditions, the voles froze with fear for up to five seconds longer, when confronted by the white owls. The researchers concluded this would give the birds a better chance of catching their prey."

I'm in the wrong job!

Tangled Metal
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby Tangled Metal » 3 Sep 2019, 8:35am

Or the voles instinctively recognised their main predator and did what they always do in fear? Just an idea. Does anyone really think this a level quality experiment worth much?

mattheus
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby mattheus » 3 Sep 2019, 9:14am

Tangled Metal wrote: Does anyone really think this a level quality experiment worth much?

Yes. Actual scientists.

That's why they're in charge of such things. Unlike opinionated bystanders with no track record.

You'd have probably laughed at newton and his apple.

pwa
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby pwa » 3 Sep 2019, 9:22am

Tangled Metal wrote:Or the voles instinctively recognised their main predator and did what they always do in fear? Just an idea. Does anyone really think this a level quality experiment worth much?

But given that creatures evolve in response to their environmental conditions, why have voles not evolved to respond quicker to the sight of a barn owl? You'd have thought that they would have got pretty good at that by now.

LollyKat
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby LollyKat » 3 Sep 2019, 11:28pm

If you want to remain unnoticed surely it's better to stay motionless - movement attracts the eye.

The researchers could test this by launching real owls over stuffed voles, some of them stationary, and some clockwork and moving, to see how many of each kind the owls attacked.

:D

kwackers
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby kwackers » 4 Sep 2019, 9:03am

LollyKat wrote:If you want to remain unnoticed surely it's better to stay motionless - movement attracts the eye.

The researchers could test this by launching real owls over stuffed voles, some of them stationary, and some clockwork and moving, to see how many of each kind the owls attacked.

:D

My cat is rubbish at spotting anything that isn't moving.
I've seen it staring at a pond full of frogs and being unable to see a single one until one of them makes a run for it...

But yeah, freezing is a good thing unless you've already been spotted in which case it's a bad thing.
To freeze or not to freeze? That's the question.

Thinking about it I suspect freezing is a good thing if you are one of a number of voles. If you haven't been spotted freezing works in your favour, for the vole that was spotted it's the worst thing they can do.
Overall though given the numbers freezing would work in your favour.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby roubaixtuesday » 4 Sep 2019, 9:16am

A summary of the research, which investigates evolutionary drivers for the different (red or white) variants in colouration of barn owls.

https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/barn- ... ling-prey/

And the actual paper, worth reading before offering criticism.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0967-2

Vorpal
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Re: And on a lighter note.

Postby Vorpal » 4 Sep 2019, 9:22am

Tangled Metal wrote:Or the voles instinctively recognised their main predator and did what they always do in fear? Just an idea. Does anyone really think this a level quality experiment worth much?

I think it sounds like fun, and maybe I should have studied biology or animal behaviour science. :lol:
kwackers wrote:My cat is rubbish at spotting anything that isn't moving.
I've seen it staring at a pond full of frogs and being unable to see a single one until one of them makes a run for it...

Cats generally identify prey by sound or movement.

On a related note... I never knew that frogs screamed until I had both cats and a pond. I think it's something that I would have preferred to avoid knowing. :(
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom