Pet Scoop: Male Bats Use Sex Calls to Court Females, New Dwarf Dinosaur Discovered

Oct. 4, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A new study finds bats use their calls to court mates.

Male Bats Transmit Sex Info Through Sounds

A new study has found that certain bats use echolocation calls for orientation and foraging — as well as to send sex information to help them find and keep mates. Male greater sac-winged bats, which were the focus of the research, “court females whenever the opportunity arises,” said Mirjam Knörnschild, a researcher at the University of Ulm in Germany and the study's lead author. The calls can include encoded information on identity, age, sex, group affiliation and other more specific information about the bat. Knörnschild suspects that many "bat species are capable of encoding/extracting social information in and from echolocation calls.” — Read it at Discovery News

New Tiny Dinosaur Unearthed in Africa

The Pegomastax africanus, a newly discovered species of heterodontosaur, was a 2-foot-long dwarf dinosaur with fangs and porcupine-like quills. It was "scampering around between the toes of other dinosaurs at the dawn of the dinosaur era," said study author Paul Sereno, a paleontologist with the University of Chicago who published his findings in the journal ZooKeys. According to Sereno, the plant-eating dinosaur species, who lived in southern Africa, would have been about the size of a cat. — Read it at National Geographic News

Tacoma Zoo Unveils Endangered Tiger Cub's Name

The Point Defiance Zoo in Washington announced on Wednesday that, after a vote by the public, its 6-week-old Sumatran tiger cub has been named Dumai — and he's also getting a new buddy. Berani, a 5-week-old Malayan male cub is due to arrive at the zoo next week from the Tulsa Zoo. The cubs, who will grow up together, have both been hand-reared. — Read it on Facebook

Tim Burton says his movie Frankenweenie was inspired by his own childhood dog.
Tim Burton's new flick, Frankenweenie, opens on Friday.

Tim Burton Talks About the Inspiration Behind Frankenweenie

The director says that his childhood pet inspired his new stop-motion movie about a boy who uses science to bring his beloved dog back to life. "I had this strong connection with a mutt we had named Pepe," said Burton. "It was a good connection . . . It was very powerful. The dog was not meant to live very long because of a disease he had, but he ended up living quite a long time." The black-and-white film hits theaters on Friday. — Read it at Aceshowbiz, and watch a trailer for the movie

Steve Irwin’s Son Follows in His Legendary Dad’s Footsteps

Robert Irwin, the 8-year-old son of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, reached a milestone this week when he fed freshwater crocodiles for the first time at the Australia Zoo. "It was really, really fun," he told reporters. "Next, I'd like to feed a big alligator, and then a saltwater croc." Robert was just 2 years old when his dad died in 2006. — See the photo at People Pets

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