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Weekly PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

In this week’s PLoS ONE media digest: waist-to-hip ratio drives men crazy, Patron Saint relics not what they are said to be, magnets in birds’ beaks, marine protection areas protect corals, man-eating extinct crocodyle, smart but no so insightful crows, antioxidants in swallows.

The title of this post is really a mis-nomer – this should be a bi-weekly round-up as I was at AAAS meeting last week and did not have the time and opportunity to post a round-up last Monday. So today, you will get a double dose:

Article Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men by Steven M. Platek and Devendra Singh was irresistible to the media. It was covered widely, including by Herald Sun, Times of India, Telegraph, New York Daily News, The Sun (warning: NSFW, it’s Page 3!), Atlanta Journal Constitution, FOXNews, TheMedGuru, CalorieLab Calorie Counter News, Sideways News, Metro,, TopNews, Softpedia, Asylum and ZME Science.

The article Analysis of the Putative Remains of a European Patron Saint–St. Birgitta unveiled that these relics are not what they are thought to be – genetic analysis revealed the remains of what were supposed to be a mother and a daughter to actually be uneraleted to each other. This finding was reported by Register, Gene Expression, Monsters and Critics, A Very Remote Period Indeed, ScienceBlog and, interestingly, by the article’s Academic Editor Bjoern Brembs who describes the incredible thoroughness of the peer-review of this article.

Avian Magnetoreception: Elaborate Iron Mineral Containing Dendrites in the Upper Beak Seem to Be a Common Feature of Birds, an article from the Fleissner lab, attracted a very international coverage, including in Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, Mail.Ru, Ornithomedia, Proplanta and A DC Birding Blog.

A Global Analysis of the Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in Preventing Coral Loss by Selig and Bruno shows that establishment of protected areas of the ocean does have some positive effects on the health of coral reefs and that this effect gets greater as the area remains preserved longer. This study was reported in Anthozoa, EcoTone, Newswise, BusinessWeek, Die Welt, Hawaii 24/7 and NPR Science Friday podcast.

The discovery of A New Horned Crocodile from the Plio-Pleistocene Hominid Sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania by Brochu, Njau, Blumenschine and Densmore was covered by Laelaps, National Geographic, New Scientist, FOXNews
OneIndia and Softpedia.

An Investigation into the Cognition Behind Spontaneous String Pulling in New Caledonian Crows by Taylor et al, puts into question the notion that corvid birds demonstrate ‘insight’. The study was reported by A DC Birding Blog
Ars Technica and Wired News.

Human Ovarian Reserve from Conception to the Menopause by W. Hamish B. Wallace and Thomas W. Kelsey experienced a ressurection in the media when Washington Post decided to report on it. True/Slant, Tapped and Washington City Paper followed.

The paper Positive Carotenoid Balance Correlates with Greater Reproductive Performance in a Wild Bird by Safran et al. was covered by CU Boulder News & Events, Daily Camera, IndyPosted, ScienceBlog, Arizona State University News, Laboratory Equipment and Summit Daily News.

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