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September 22 2012

Tweet tweet: Tiny tags monitor social networks of critters


Crows, sea lions, and many other critters use social networks to increase their fitness and survival. To understand how, researchers are turning away from Twitter and Facebook and, instead, looking to the power of tiny radio tags that record wildlife encounters.

Of course, the researchers can access the data logged by the tags via the Internet, which means they can spend more time working in the lab rather than in the field waiting to catch a glimpse of critter meetup.

The system, called Encounternet, hinges on fingernail-sized tags that weigh as little as less than 1 gram (0.035 ounces) and send and receive pulses. Each tag emits a unique pulse, allowing researchers to know what animals met when.

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