• Article
    | Open Access

    An analysis of cancer mortality data for zoo mammals highlights marked differences across mammalian orders and an influence of diet, and shows that mortality risk is largely independent of body mass and life expectancy across species.

    • Orsolya Vincze
    • , Fernando Colchero
    •  & Mathieu Giraudeau
  • Article |

    Stegouros elengassen, an ankylosaur from the late Cretaceous of Chile, has a large tail weapon, named a macuahuitl after the Aztec club, with a frond-like structure formed by seven pairs of laterally projecting osteoderms encasing the distal half of the tail.

    • Sergio Soto-Acuña
    • , Alexander O. Vargas
    •  & David Rubilar-Rogers
  • Article |

    Growth series of Palaeozoic stem lampreys do not include a filter-feeding larval phase seen in modern lampreys, which suggests that modern lamprey larvae are a poor model of vertebrate ancestry.

    • Tetsuto Miyashita
    • , Robert W. Gess
    •  & Michael I. Coates
  • Article |

    The global abundance of oceanic sharks and rays has decreased by 71% since 1970 and 24 species are threatened with extinction owing to a concomitant increase in fishing pressure.

    • Nathan Pacoureau
    • , Cassandra L. Rigby
    •  & Nicholas K. Dulvy
  • Article |

    Analyses of molecular, anatomical, pigmentation and ecological characteristics of nearly all of the approximately 240 species of cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika show that the massive adaptive radiation occurred within the confines of the lake through trait-specific pulses of accelerated evolution.

    • Fabrizia Ronco
    • , Michael Matschiner
    •  & Walter Salzburger
  • Article |

    A jigsaw-style configuration of interlocking structures identified in the elytra of the remarkably tough diabolical ironclad beetle, Phloeodes diabolicus, is used to inspire crush-resistant multilayer composites for engineering joints.

    • Jesus Rivera
    • , Maryam Sadat Hosseini
    •  & David Kisailus
  • Article |

    A fossil egg unearthed from Cretaceous deposits in Antarctica is more than 20 cm long, exceeds all known nonavian eggs in volume, is soft-shelled, and was perhaps laid by a giant marine lizard such as a mosasaur.

    • Lucas J. Legendre
    • , David Rubilar-Rogers
    •  & Julia A. Clarke
  • Article |

    The transverse tarsal arch, acting through the inter-metatarsal tissues, is important for the longitudinal stiffness of the foot and its appearance is a key step in the evolution of human bipedalism.

    • Madhusudhan Venkadesan
    • , Ali Yawar
    •  & Shreyas Mandre
  • Article |

    The leg-enriched sensory appendage protein, SAP2, confers pyrethroid resistance to Anopheles gambiae, through high-affinity binding of pyrethroid insecticides; an observed selective sweep in field mosquitoes mirrors the increasing resistance reported in Africa.

    • Victoria A. Ingham
    • , Amalia Anthousi
    •  & Hilary Ranson
  • Article |

    Three-dimensionally preserved fossils of Parmastega aelidae, a newly described tetrapod from the earliest Famennian (Late Devonian) of Russia, provide detailed insights into the morphology and palaeobiology of the earliest tetrapods.

    • Pavel A. Beznosov
    • , Jennifer A. Clack
    •  & Per Erik Ahlberg
  • Letter |

    Comparisons across terrestrial and marine ectotherms reveal that marine species experience temperatures closer to their upper thermal limits, and that local extirpations related to warming are more common in the ocean.

    • Malin L. Pinsky
    • , Anne Maria Eikeset
    •  & Jennifer M. Sunday
  • Letter |

    Evidence from hippocampal place cells shows that path-integration gain, previously thought to be a constant factor in the computation of location, is flexible and can be rapidly fine-tuned.

    • Ravikrishnan P. Jayakumar
    • , Manu S. Madhav
    •  & James J. Knierim
  • Letter |

    Quantitative explorations using biomechanics and robotics of the gait of Orobates, a stem amniote, indicate that the development of relatively erect, power-saving and balanced locomotion preceded the diversification of crown amniotes

    • John A. Nyakatura
    • , Kamilo Melo
    •  & Auke J. Ijspeert
  • Letter |

    A phylogenetic assessment based on Raman microspectroscopy of pigment traces in fossilized eggshells from all major dinosaur clades reveals that eggshell coloration and pigment pattern originated in nonavian theropod dinosaurs.

    • Jasmina Wiemann
    • , Tzu-Ruei Yang
    •  & Mark A. Norell
  • Letter |

    Experimental data from, and mathematical modelling of, colonies of the clonal raider ant Ooceraea biroi demonstrate that increases in group size generate division of labour among similar individuals, increased homeostasis and higher colony fitness.

    • Y. Ulrich
    • , J. Saragosti
    •  & D. J. C. Kronauer
  • Letter |

    Female zebra finches exhibited categorical perception of colour signals, as they categorized colour stimuli that varied along a continuous scale and showed increased discrimination between colours from opposite sides of the category boundary compared to equally different colours from within a category.

    • Eleanor M. Caves
    • , Patrick A. Green
    •  & Stephen Nowicki
  • Letter |

    Two populations of Anolis lizards that survived Hurricanes Irma and Maria had larger toepads, longer forelimbs and shorter hindlimbs relative to the pre-hurricane populations, which suggests hurricane-induced natural selection.

    • Colin M. Donihue
    • , Anthony Herrel
    •  & Jonathan B. Losos
  • Letter |

    Using estimates of metabolic costs of the brain and body, mathematical predictions suggest that the evolution of adult Homo sapiens-sized brains and bodies is driven by ecological rather than social challenges and is perhaps strongly promoted by culture.

    • Mauricio González-Forero
    •  & Andy Gardner
  • Letter |

    A derivation of Hamilton’s rule that considers explicit environmental stochasticity can predict when organisms should pay a cost to influence the variance in the reproductive success of their relatives, formalizing the link between bet-hedging and altruism.

    • Patrick Kennedy
    • , Andrew D. Higginson
    •  & Seirian Sumner
  • Letter |

    Assessment of the impact of armed conflict on large herbivores in Africa between 1946 and 2010 reveals that high conflict frequency is an important predictor of wildlife population declines.

    • Joshua H. Daskin
    •  & Robert M. Pringle
  • Article |

    Maiopatagium, a haramiyid from the Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation (around 160 million years ago) of China was specialised for gliding with a patagium (wing membrane) and a fused wishbone, reminiscent of that of birds.

    • Qing-Jin Meng
    • , David M. Grossnickle
    •  & Zhe-Xi Luo
  • Letter |

    Analysis of three wild-caught bumblebee species shows that family lineage survival and persistence is significantly increased between successive colony cycle stages with the proportion of high-value foraging habitat near the natal colony.

    • Claire Carvell
    • , Andrew F. G. Bourke
    •  & Matthew S. Heard
  • Letter |

    Socially synchronized rhythms in shorebirds were assessed during biparental incubation under natural circumstances and were exceptionally diverse, often not following the 24-h day, whereby risk of predation, not starvation, determined some of the variation in incubation rhythms.

    • Martin Bulla
    • , Mihai Valcu
    •  & Bart Kempenaers
  • Letter |

    Wild capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally producing flakes similar to the ancient sharp-edged flakes characterized as intentionally produced Pliocene–Pleistocene hominin tools, although why they do so remains unclear.

    • Tomos Proffitt
    • , Lydia V. Luncz
    •  & Michael Haslam
  • Letter |

    A species-wide study shows that the Hawaiian crow Corvus hawaiiensis is a highly proficient tool user, creating opportunities for comparative studies with tool-using New Caledonian crows and other corvids.

    • Christian Rutz
    • , Barbara C. Klump
    •  & Bryce M. Masuda