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Celebrating the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first science journal

2015 marks the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions.  First published in 1665, Philosophical Transactions pioneered the concepts of scientific priority and peer review which, together with archiving and dissemination, provides the model for almost 30,000 scientific journals today.  To celebrate the birth of scientific publishing, all Royal Society content is free to access until the end of March.  

Find out more about how we plan to celebrate our anniversary by visiting our publishing350 page.

From pluripotency to differentiation: laying the foundations for the body pattern in the mouse embryo

What governs embryonic mouse development? This issue of Philosophical Transactions B find out, covering the latest research into the role of signalling pathways, transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms, and the activity of genetic networks on cell lineage specification and tissue morphogenesis.  This collection of review articles and hypotheses presents a contemporary overview of the conceptual framework of development of the early mouse embryo at both pre and early post-implantation stages, and the biology of the embryo-derived pluripotent stem cells. The latest issue is available here

Royal Society Open Science Launch

Today we’ve launched Royal Society Open Science, our new open access journal publishing high quality original research on the basis of objective peer review.
Royal Society Open Science supports transparency in science, including open access, open data and optional open peer-review and is the first of the Royal Society’s journals to cover the entire range of science, engineering and mathematics.
This week Royal Society Open Science launches with papers on the hormones of harem-holding wild geladas, how the regulation of the pyruvate kinase enzyme compares between evolutionarily distant organisms and oxygen consumption in tumor models - the podcast for this article is available here.

HTML5 Interactive PDF Reader launches on Interface

Journal of the Royal Society Interface offers a HTML5 Interactive PDF Reader to enhance the reading experience of our users. The Interactive PDF Reader, powered by colwiz, will allow users to open a PDF within their web browser and add their own highlights and comments to Interface articles for the first time. To save their comments, users will need to have a colwiz account, which is easy to create and free of charge. We are delighted to partner with colwiz to bring you this new tool on the cutting edge of science publishing. You can see the Reader in action by clicking on “View Interactive PDF” in articles.

Structure and mechanical properties of Octopus vulgaris suckers

We investigate the morphology and mechanical features of octopus suckers, which may serve as a model for the creation of a new generation of attachment devices. Octopus suckers attach to a wide range of substrates in wet conditions, including rough surfaces. This amazing feature is made possible by the sucker’s tissues. In this work, we present a mechanical characterisation of the tissues involved in the attachment process. We evaluated the elasticity modulus and viscoelastic parameters of the natural tissues (E ~ 10 kPa) and measured the mechanical properties of some artificial materials that have previously been used in soft robotics.

Wild Asian Elephants Distinguish Aggressive Tiger and Leopard Growls According To Perceived Danger

Elephants have very few natural predators; however they may exhibit antipredator behaviour to protect their calves from predatory big cats. This has been previously observed in African elephants, but this study published in Biology Letters is the first to focus on the Asian species. The paper demonstrates that Asian elephants can use sound to distinguish between tigers and leopards at night time, and respond appropriately. When presented with leopard-growl playbacks the elephants stood their ground and made aggressive vocalizations, indicating that leopards are perceived to be less threatening than tigers.

Something Darwin didn’t know about barnacles: spermcast mating in a common stalked species

The mating systems of barnacles (the only major arthropod group where adults are permanently attached to the bottom) have puzzled evolutionary biologists from Darwin onwards. Although most barnacles have exceptionally long penises to transfer sperm, DNA markers reveal an additional mode of mating previously unknown in crustaceans: sperm capture directly from the water. Surprisingly, the common rocky-shore gooseneck barnacle Pollicipes polymerus captures sperm even when other potential mates are within penis range. These observations overturn over a century of beliefs about how barnacles transfer sperm and raise interesting questions about the capacity for sperm capture in other species.

A strong magnetic pulse affects the precision of departure direction of naturally migrating adult but not juvenile birds

Birds are thought to be able to detect the magnetic field using tiny magnetic particles in their body. Laboratory tests suggest that adult but not juvenile birds are disrupted by magnetic treatments that would remagnetise these particles. Little is known about how birds use the magnetic field in nature because of the difficulty in following their migration. New technology shows that adult but not juvenile birds (those making their first migration) are disrupted by such a treatment during their actual migration, suggesting that these magnetic particles are used as a "map" sense to tell them where they are on their migratory journey.