Since PZ was talking about science journalism the other day, I thought I’d bring up something I saw on sciencedaily.com (which is not really a science journalism site, but a press-release aggregator, but what the hell).
It is commonly accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being killed, and there are ‘many eyes’ to spot any potential predation risk.
Now, in the first study of its kind, Bristol PhD student Zoe Muller from the School of Biological Sciences has found that this is not true for giraffes, and that the size of giraffe groups is not influenced by the presence of predators.
Zoe Muller said: “This is surprising, and highlights how little we know about even the most basic aspects of giraffe behaviour.”
However, the headline may not have communicated this to the general audience. It is that general/specialized audience split that makes the headline so awesome.
So what is that headline, you ask?
Giraffes surprise biologists yet again