Fluttering Feathers Could Spawn New Species

Charles Darwin is most famous for his finches, from whose beaks he gleaned the idea that a single species might radiate into many. 

But he studied other attributes of birds, too—like the rhythmic sounds some species made during courtship, by fluttering, shaking or rattling their feathers together. <<sfx>> 

“Since Darwin there’s been this fact that birds produce sounds with wings and tails or flight feathers. So there’s species of manakins that do this sound, there’s hummingbirds that do this sound.”

Valentina Gómez-Bahamón is an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist at the Field Museum in Chicago. 

She and her team have now observed that non-vocal sound production phenomenon in another type of bird: the fork-tailed flycatcher. The researchers studied two groups of the birds in South America—and recorded the birds making these fluttering sounds with their wings during morning courtship rituals <<sfx>> and in combat between males <<sfx>>. 

One of the two

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Pedestrian deaths spawn new lifesaving automotive tech

The improvements are driven by innovation — image resolution has increased from 1.2 megapixels on standard cameras to 1.7 megapixels on ZF’s latest, Whydell said.

They’re also driven by new benchmarks set by Europe’s New Car Assessment Program, designed to better protect vulnerable road users. This year, the program introduced two new scenarios to its testing regimen, including one in which a car turns into a simulated pedestrian.

ZF has added a pair of forward-facing, short-range radars to the corners of automated emergency braking systems that complement camera technology and further stretch the field of view to 180 degrees. They will help detect cyclists and scooters in Asia, where vulnerable road users comprise a greater percentage of traffic fatalities.

“That 6,000 number is terrible here,” Whydell said. “But it’s also a reminder that it’s a lot worse elsewhere.”

At Bosch, Stepper has worked to expand the field of view of

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