Federal scientists see big increase in bird beak deformities in Alaska, Northwest [via the AP]
A U.S. Geological Survey study has found “the highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations in Alaska and the Northwest,” topping the previous statistics tenfold. The specific deformity recorded, avian keratin disorder, occurs when part of the beak becomes overgrown and can be caused by environmental factors, poor nutrition or even foreign infections. Overgrown beaks make feeding difficult and also discourage preening, leaving affected birds with dirty feathers that make them more susceptible to the cold.
Cricket testicle size clue to promiscuous mating [via the BBC]
A University of Derby study has determined that the bushcricket has the largest testicle-to-body-weight ratio in nature, sporting gonads totaling up to 14 percent of an individual’s weight. According to scientists, testicle size has generally been found to correlate with promiscuity, allowing the male to copulate with a greater number of females and increasing his chances of successful reproduction.
Woman denied alimony because she had talked about open marriage [via The Guardian]
An Italian court has denied a recent divorcee alimony payments because she allegedly discussed the idea of an open marriage with her ex-husband prior to their wedding. The court, upholding a lower court’s ruling, held that her theorization of infidelity, though never evidenced to have actually occurred, was enough to constitute infidelity in the marriage. “I find it shocking and very perplexing that the court should rule on what is a virtual betrayal when real betrayals frequently go unpunished,” Gian Ettore Gassani, the chairman of the Italian association of matrimonial lawyers, said.