Love Among Finches: It’s Not All About Looks
( New York Times )

Handsome men may turn the heads of women, but for those less attractive, sociability and friendliness also seem to seduce the fairer sex. The same is true for male house finches, according to a new study.

Female house finches prefer to mate with males with the reddest feathers, but dull-colored males make themselves more appealing by acting more social before mating season, according to a study in the
September issue of the American Naturalist. The researchers found that the duller a male bird was in color, the more likely he was to engage with multiple social groups. Birds in a social group flock and forage together and any bird can belong to multiple groups.

Drab-looking male finches drifted from group to group in the winter, the researchers found. By mating season in the spring, the less attractive males tended to have the same level of mating success as the most colorful, attractive males.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・seduce 魅する、引きつける、性的に誘惑する
・forage (餌を)探し回る、(牛馬の)まぐさ
・drab (くすんだ)とび色の、(冴えない)茶色の

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Chimps, Too, Wage War and Annex Rival Territory
( New York Times )

Every day, John Mitani or a colleague is up at sunrise to check on the action among the chimpanzees at Ngogo, in Uganda’s Kibale National Park. Most days the male chimps behave a lot like frat boys, making a lot of noise or beating each other up. But once every 10 to 14 days, they do something more adult and cooperative: they wage war.

A band of males, up to 20 or so, will assemble in single file and move to the edge of their territory. They fall into unusual silence as they penetrate deep into the area controlled by the neighboring group. They tensely scan the treetops and startle at every noise. “It’s quite clear that they are looking for individuals of the other community,” Dr. Mitani says.

The objective of the 10-year campaign was clearly to capture
territory, the researchers concluded. The Ngogo males could control more fruit trees, their females would have more to eat and so would reproduce faster, and the group would grow larger, stronger and more likely to survive. The chimps’ waging of war is thus “adaptive,” Dr. Mitani and his colleagues concluded, meaning that natural selection has wired the behavior into the chimps’ neural circuitry because it promotes their survival.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・penetrate 貫く、突き進む
・objective 目標、目的
・adaptive 適応性の(のある)
・neural 神経(系)の(neuron:神経細胞、ニューロン)
・circuitry 回路網(circuit:回路、サーキット)

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Can an Enemy Be a Child’s Friend?
( New York Times )

In sixth grade they were unlikely friends, the good kid and the bad one, the girl who studied and the one who smoked in the alley. They hung out; they met for lunch. They even walked home from school together, one watching, awestruck, while the other ducked into drugstores to shoplift lip gloss, cigarettes, candy.

It couldn’t last. One morning in seventh grade, a nasty note
appeared on the tough girl’s locker ― and someone told her the writer was her cautious friend.

“I would never, ever have done that,” said the friend, Bonnie
Shapiro, 45, now a mother of two in Evanston, Ill., who works as a recruiter for a design agency. “But it didn’t matter.”

Brushing aside Bonnie’s denials, the tough girl told her she was in for it. Sure enough, after school “she and her friends were outside waiting for me, and I had no one, no gang, no one there to support me,” Ms. Shapiro recalled.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・alley 路地、裏通り
・duck ひょいとかがむ、身をかわす
・shoplift 万引きする
・cautious 用心深い、慎重な
・brush ブラシ、払い落とす

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Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says
( New York Times )

It is inevitable. The muscles weaken. Hearing and vision fade. We get wrinkled and stooped. We can’t run, or even walk, as fast as we used to. We have aches and pains in parts of our bodies we never even noticed before. We get old.

It sounds miserable, but apparently it is not. A large Gallup poll has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, and researchers are not sure why.

The results, published online May 17 in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, were good news for old people, and for those who are getting old. On the global measure, people start out at age 18 feeling pretty good about themselves, and then, apparently, life begins to throw curve balls. They feel worse and worse until they hit 50. At that point, there is a sharp reversal, and people keep getting happier as they age. By the time they are 85, they are
even more satisfied with themselves than they were at 18.

For people under 50 who may sometimes feel gloomy, there may be
consolation here. The view seems a bit bleak right now, but look at the bright side: you are getting old.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・poll 世論調査、投票
・proceeding (事の)成り行き、議事録、会報(proceed:進む)
・reversal 反転、逆転

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Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans
( New York Times )

Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence.

Scientists say they have recovered 60 percent of the genome so far and hope to complete it. By comparing that genome with those of various present day humans, the team concluded that about 1 percent to 4 percent of the genome of non-Africans today is derived from Neanderthals. But the Neanderthal DNA does not seem to have played a great role in human evolution, they said.

A degree of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe would not be greatly surprising given that the species overlapped there from 44,000 years ago when modern humans first entered Europe to 30,000 years ago when the last Neanderthals fell extinct. Archaeologists have been debating for years whether the fossil record shows evidence of individuals with mixed features.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・imprint (押してできた)印、痕跡
・sequence ひと続き、連続
・extinct 絶滅した(名詞:extinction)
・archaeologist 考古学(archaeology)者
・fossil 化石

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