Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Dynasties: painted wolves on the prowl

The endangered painted wolves are unusual in the animal kingdom for their cooperative social system. In the penultimate episode of BBC’s Dynasties, Sir David Attenborough is educating us about painted wolves and we’ve gathered some facts for you to enjoy as an accompaniment to the show.

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Dynasties: lions with pride

Lions are arguably the most respected and feared creatures of the animal world. It is no surprise that their group structure has once more been examined in BBC’s Dynasties.

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On animal sight and behaviour

I have spent the last fifty years studying the eyes and vision of animals, including man.  During that time there have been many discoveries and ideas from vision research that have intrigued me, most of these are known to other scientists, but not more widely.

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Dynasties: emperor of all penguins

Of the seventeen species of penguin in existence, the emperor penguin is arguably the most well-known and heavily documented. In the second post of our Dynasties blog series, we’ll be exploring how emperor penguins build their dynasties.

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Dynasties: chimpanzees and their community

Sir David Attenborough returns to our screens tonight narrating a new nature documentary: Dynasties. We will be starting the series with one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, who we diverged from roughly six million years ago: chimpanzees.

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Life science documentaries

Did that moving episode of Blue Planet II pique your interest? Are you excited to discover the secrets of animal families in Dynasties? Delve deeper into key themes raised in these documentaries by exploring our existing blog series.

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Learning from nature to save the planet

Our planet is out of balance as the result of our technologies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global temperatures could reach a frightening plus +3° by the end of the century, our ocean ecosystems risk being overwhelmed by non-degrading plastic waste, open rubbish tips scar the landscape and pollute our water supplies […]

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Animal of the Month: More to the bee than just honey

Great truths are often so pervasive or in such plain view as to be invisible. This is the case with bees and their food plants, the world’s quarter million flowering plant species, especially because it’s easy to overlook small things in a world in which whales and elephants hold the imagination of the public. Little […]

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It Keeps Me Seeking

Sometimes spouses will look back on the time of their getting to know one another and say, half-jokingly, that on a given occasion one was putting the other to the test.

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From Darwin to DNA: evolution, genomics, and conservation of the Galapagos giant tortoises

Established in 1903, Journal of Heredity covers organismal genetics across a wide range of disciplines and taxa. Articles include such rapidly advancing fields as conservation genetics of endangered species, population structure and phylogeography, molecular evolution and speciation, molecular genetics of disease resistance in plants and animals, genetic biodiversity and relevant computer programs.

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Ants are picky when using tools for foraging

Tool use, once considered unique to our species, is now known to be widespread in the animal kingdom. It has been reported in most of the major taxonomic groups, with notable exceptions being myriapods, amphibians and reptiles. In insects, one of the best documented examples of tool use is seen in members of the ant […]

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Animal of the month: the evolution of the imperfect honeybee

Honey bee colonies have historically been considered as marvels of evolution resulting in perfectly cooperative and harmonious societies, and exemplars of what we humans might achieve. This is an appealing image to many, but it is of course a caricature. Nobody is perfect, not even honey bees.

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Dystopia: an update

True aficionados of the earthly apocalypse cannot fail to have noted the deepening pessimism in discourses on what is often euphemistically referred to as “climate change”, but what should be designated “environmental catastrophe”. The Paris Agreement of 2015 conceded the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, albeit without binding nations to either achieve this specific target or impose specific binding targets in turn on the worst offenders, namely the fossil fuel industries.

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Pros and cons of GMO crop farming [infographic]

In the agricultural industry, recombinant DNA technology allows for DNA to be transferred from one organism to another, creating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Four crops constitute the vast majority of the GM crop production: maize, canola, soybean, and cotton. Since 1995, GM crops have been grown commercially and the global area sown to these crops has expanded over 100-fold over the past two decades.  

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