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Why are some birds more intelligent than others?

If you’ve ever seen a starling peck open a garbage bag or a grackle steal your dog pellets, you get a sense that some birds have learned to take advantage of new feeding opportunities – a clear sign of their intelligence. Scientists have long wondered why certain species of birds are more innovative than others, and whether these capacities stem from larger brains (which intuitively seems likely) or from a greater number of neurons in specific areas of the brain.

Published: 1 Aug 2022

No 'Safe Space' for 12 key ocean species on North American West Coast

For the generations who grew up watching Finding Nemo, it might not come as a surprise that the North American West Coast has its own version of the underwater ocean highway – the California Current marine ecosystem (CCME). The CCME extends from the southernmost tip of California up through Washington. Seasonal upward currents of cold, nutrient-rich water are the backbone to a larger food web of krill, squid, fish, seabirds and marine mammals.

Published: 28 Jul 2022

The tiny bodies of bats allow perfect balance between flight costs and heat dissipation

Many mammal species living in cold climates tend to have large bodies and short limbs to reduce heat loss – a general pattern known as Bergmann’s rule. However, bats are the exception to the rule, displaying small body sizes in both hot and cold regions. A McGill-led team of researchers is shedding light on this long-standing debate over bats’ body sizes and focus on why bats are seemingly non-conforming to ecogeographical patterns found in other mammals.

Published: 21 Jul 2022

No pain, no gain? How the brain chooses between pain and profit

Imagine having to choose over and over between what you enjoy doing and the pain that it might cause you, whether physical or emotional. If you live with conditions such as depression, anxiety, or chronic pain, you are probably familiar with making these difficult choices on a daily or weekly basis. But surprisingly little is known about which areas of the brain are involved in decisions of this kind.

Published: 20 Jul 2022

A new tool for understanding the relationship between land tenure security and sustainable development

Sustainable agricultural practices require considerable investments, and smallholder famers may not realize gains for years. Without secure land tenure, they lack incentive to invest in long-term benefits. Instead, many opt to use the land as intensively as possible each year since they have no guarantee for the future.

Published: 18 Jul 2022

Meeting the climate crisis with resilience and collaborative action

McGill undergraduates have a unique opportunity to expand their climate science literacy and acquire tools for taking action to reduce the impacts of the unfolding climate crisis.

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Published: 14 Jul 2022

The Redpath Museum moves outdoors this summer

Enjoy the beautiful summer weather and join the Redpath Museum outdoors to see and touch specimens from their natural history and world cultures collections. Fossils, skulls, minerals, ancient pottery... you never know what you'll find!

Every Wednesday and Thursday through August 18th: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Different themes each day. Cancelled if it rains. 

Published: 14 Jul 2022

Astronomers detect a radio “heartbeat” billions of light-years from Earth

Astronomers at McGill University, MIT and elsewhere have detected a strange and persistent radio signal from a far-off galaxy, that appears to be flashing with surprising regularity. Classified as a fast radio burst, or FRB, this new signal persists for up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than the average FRB. Within this window, the team detected bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern.

Published: 13 Jul 2022

$12.7 Million for McGill Research from the Fonds de recherche du Québec

Tackling climate change and preserving biodiversity a key priority for McGill and Quebec

The Fonds de recherche du Québec announced its latest rounds of funding earlier this month in support of research, training, and initiatives to tackle major societal challenges—including climate change and biodiversity loss.

Published: 30 Jun 2022

A biological super glue from mistletoe berries?

Each mistletoe berry can produce up to two metres of a gluey thread called viscin. It allows the seeds of this parasitic plant to stick to and infect host plants. Since ancient times, mistletoe berries have been explored as treatments for everything from infertility and epilepsy to cancer. But, until now, no one has fully investigated the potential medical or technical uses of the glue itself.

Published: 14 Jun 2022

The secret lives of Darwin's finches reveal daily commutes the equivalent of 30 soccer fields

Using radio transmitters, scientists have gained new insights into the behaviour of medium ground finches in the Galapagos Islands. A study led by McGill University researchers reveals daily movement patterns covering an area equivalent to the size of 30 soccer fields.

Published: 8 Jun 2022

Decoding the language of immune responses

Fever, cough, sore throat – symptoms in the spotlight in the era of COVID-19 – are just some of the tell-tale signs of our body’s immune system kicking into action against an unwanted intruder. Whether triggered by an infection, an allergen, or a vaccine, immune responses are driven by a complex array of cellular processes that can play out over several days or even weeks.

Published: 2 Jun 2022

Gabriel Venne wins Leo Yaffe Award

The recipient of the Leo Yaffe Award for 2022 is Gabriel Venne, assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. The award is given each year to recognize a faculty member for superior teaching at the undergraduate level in the Faculty of Science.

Published: 30 May 2022

Astronomers reveal first image of the black hole at the heart of our galaxy

Astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy. This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the centre of most galaxies. The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes.

Published: 12 May 2022

Making data science accessible to all

The Faculty of Science’s new Computational and Data Systems Initiative will help researchers unlock the power of data-intensive research methods

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Published: 29 Apr 2022


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