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TS Picks: October 1, 2015

Evolution of facial recognition; vaccines for devil facial tumor disease; optical illusions trick monkeys, too

Tracy Vence

William Hogarth (via National Portrait Gallery)WIKIMEDIA, DCOETZEE

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:
 

  • Genetic influences on a person’s ability to recognize human faces is highly individualized, according to a twin study published in PNAS last week (September 24). “The idea is that telling friend from foe was so important to survival that there was very strong pressure to improve that trait,” study coauthor Nicholas Shakeshaft of King’s College London told New Scientist.
  • Can a vaccine save Tasmanian devils from the contagious cancer that threatens to wipe them out? “Twenty Tasmanian devils were released into Narawntapu National Park in northern Tasmania on September 26, each inoculated with a new vaccine against a deadly disease that has decimated the endangered species,” Discovery News reported this week (September 28). “The newly wild devils, formerly kept at a free-range enclosure site for ‘insurance’ populations, will join existing devils already living...

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