Chimpanzees sniff out strangers and family members

Chemical communication is widely used in the animal kingdom to convey social information. For example, animals use olfactory cues to recognize group or family members, or to choose genetically suitable mates. In contrast to most other mammals, however, primates have traditionally been regarded as "microsmatic—having a poor sense of smell. Although research on olfaction in some primate species has increased in recent years, non-human great apes have been greatly neglected in these studies. Researchers from the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as well as Durham University have now conducted one of the first studies investigating the signaling function of social odors in non-human great apes.

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Astronomers spot signs of supermassive black hole mergers

New research, published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has found evidence for a large number of double supermassive black holes, likely precursors of gigantic black hole merging events. This confirms the current understanding of cosmological evolution—that galaxies and their associated black holes merge over time, forming bigger and bigger galaxies and black holes.

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New insight into why galaxies stop forming stars

Galaxy clusters are rare regions of the universe consisting of hundreds of galaxies containing trillions of stars. It has long been known that when a galaxy falls into a cluster, star formation is fairly rapidly shut off in a process known as 'quenching.' A new study has made the best measurement yet of the quenching timescale, measuring how it varies across 70 percent of the history of the universe.

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