Friday in science, crocodiles on the loose, coffee fraud, a sleepy squirrel wakes up and melting glaciers. Check out these headlines from around the Web.
Crocodiles on the Loose: An estimated 15,000 crocodiles have escaped from a farm in Limpopo, South Africa. Heavy flooding forced the farmers to open their gates to keep the walls from crumbling, sweeping the crocs away down the Limpopo River. Experts say it is not easy to catch a crocodile. The best method: sneak up and grab it.
Fertility Rates Drop in Afghanistan: A drop in birth rates in Afghanistan suggests that education and health planning programs for women are making a difference, reports USA Today. The average number of children Afghan women can expect to have in their lifetime fell to 5.1 at the end of the decade from 8 in the 1990s and 6.3 in the mid-2000s , a USA Today analysis of birth data found.
Animal Passion: Animals have rich emotional lives, reports Psychology Today. The magazine has republished a 2006 report about an Ohio researcher who has studied animal sadness, fear, rage, attachment and a love of play time.
New Stomach Virus: A new strain of norovirus, the cause of a dreaded intestinal illness, is circulating in the United States, The Washington Post reports. The strain, designated "GII.4 Sydney," appeared in Australia last March. Norovirus causes vomiting and diarrhea and is responsible for 21 million cases of illness a year in this country. Hand-washing and general cleanliness are the best precautions.
We Like How We Smell: Our brains can detect our own scent and distinguish it from the smells of others, reports Discover.com. Scientists have long known that people are drawn to mates with a different smell than their own, but new research marks the first time that scientists have shown that people recognize and like their own smells.
Smokers in Jail: A proposed bill in Oregon would make nicotine a controlled substance and would make cigarette possession illegal, punishable by a year in prison or a $6,250 fine, reports LiveScience.com. Critics say the bill is overly idealistic and would be extremely difficult to implement.
Squirrels on Video: New Scientist offers a video of hibernating Arctic squirrels waking up.
Dolphins Help Dying Friend: For the first time, dolphins have been spotted teaming up to try to rescue an injured group member, reports New Scientist. You can watch the sad video here.
Yogurt Linked to Better Eating Habits: Yogurt eaters report consuming higher amounts of other good-for-you foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and whole grains, than do people who don't eat yogurt, reports eScience News. The study was partially funded by a yogurt maker.
Food Fraud on the Rise: Food fraud – which occurs when food products are mislabeled, diluted or adulterated – is on the rise, reports CNN. The most commonly fraudulent products are olive oil, milk, saffron, honey and coffee. Fillers can be added to spices. Olive oils diluted with cheaper vegetable oil. Pomegranate juice may really be made with grape and pear juices.
An Rx for X and Z: Pharmaceutical companies eager to grab the attention of doctors and patients are returning to drug names starting with X and Z, reports Reuters via The Chicago Tribune. New names for cancer treatments include Xtandi, Xalkori, Xgeva, Zaltrap, Zelboraf and Zytiga.
People Enjoy Safe Sex: A study funded by a condom maker has found that people really like sex, with or without a condom, reports The Atlantic.
Dung Beetles Are Celestial Navigators: Researchers fitted dung beetles with tiny blinders for experiments showing that the feces-eating insects rely on the stars to navigate, reports Scientific American.
Melting Glaciers: Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50 percent since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, reports The Independent. Andean glaciers are a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of South Americans.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.