Scientists propose 10 policies to protect vital pollinators

Pesticide regulation, diversified farming systems and long-term monitoring are all ways governments can help to secure the future of pollinators such as bees, flies and wasps, according to scientists.

In an article published today in the journal Science, a team of researchers has suggested ten clear ways in which governments can protect and secure pollination services – vital to the production of fruits, vegetables and oils.

A recent global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) confirmed that large-scale declines in wild pollinators are happening in north Europe and North America.

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Young toddlers can tell when others hold false beliefs, study finds

University of Illinois professor Renée Baillargeon and her colleagues found that young children know when others hold false beliefs.  CREDIT:Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

University of Illinois professor Renée Baillargeon and her colleagues found that young children know when others hold false beliefs. CREDIT:Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

A new study finds that, under the right conditions, 2 1/2-year-old children can answer questions about people acting on false beliefs, an ability that most researchers believe does not develop until age 4.

The results are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Having the ability to represent false beliefs means recognizing that others can have different thoughts from us,” said Peipei Setoh, who, as a graduate student, conducted the study with University of Illinois psychology professor Renée Baillargeon and fellow graduate student Rose Scott. Setoh is now a professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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Study reveals lack of supporting evidence for claims about fertility treatments

Many claims made by UK fertility clinics about the benefits of treatments beyond standard IVF procedures are not backed up by evidence, finds a study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

These can range from £50 for a single screening blood test to as much as £8000 for egg freezing packages.

The researchers, led by Professor Carl Heneghan at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM), say “there is a need for more information on interventions to be made available by fertility centres, to support well informed treatment decisions.”

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Your dog remembers what you did

People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they occurred. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on November 23 have evidence that dogs have that kind of “episodic memory” too.

This video shows episodic-like memory in dogs (Canis familiaris): Recall of others’ actions afterincidental encoding revealed by the do as I do method. Credit: Claudia Fugazza, Ákos Pogány, and Ádám Miklós / Current Biology 2016

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It’s all in the eyes: Women and men really do see things differently

Women and men look at faces and absorb visual information in different ways, which suggests there is a gender difference in understanding visual cues, according to a team of scientists that included psychologists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The researchers used an eye tracking device on almost 500 participants at the Science Museum over a five-week period to monitor and judge how much eye contact they felt comfortable with while looking at a face on a computer screen.

They found that women looked more at the left-hand side of faces and had a strong left eye bias, but that they also explored the face much more than men. The team observed that it was possible to tell the gender of the participant based on the scanning pattern of how they looked at the face with nearly 80 per cent accuracy. Given the very large sample size the researchers suggest this is not due to chance.

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