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  • June 22, 2010
  • 11:50 AM

Homo sapiens can bite hard, after all

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Three-dimensional models of hominoid skulls used in the study - (a) Hylobates lar; (b) Pongo pygmaeus; (c) Pan troglodytes; (d) Gorilla gorilla; (e) Australopithecus africanus; (f ) Paranthropus boisei; (g) Homo sapiens. They have been scaled to the same surface area, and the colors denote areas of stress (blue = minimal stress, pink = high stress). From Wroe et al, 2010.

It is all too easy to think of human evolution in linear terms. From our 21st century vantage point we can look back thro........ Read more »

Wroe, S., Ferrara, T., McHenry, C., Curnoe, D., & Chamoli, U. (2010) The craniomandibular mechanics of being human. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0509  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 11:21 AM

Modeling the Body’s Micro Machines

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Inside the human body are millions of miniature machines, the gatekeepers of the electrical impulses that keep our hearts beating and our minds thinking. They’re called ion channels; portals that allow small ions such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride, to pass in or out of cells. A simple responsibility, with a complex and crucial [...]... Read more »

Khalili-Araghi F, Jogini V, Yarov-Yarovoy V, Tajkhorshid E, Roux B, & Schulten K. (2010) Calculation of the gating charge for the Kv1.2 voltage-activated potassium channel. Biophysical journal, 98(10), 2189-98. PMID: 20483327  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Seeing Molecules

by Rheanna Sand in Science in Seconds

In this video, Science in Seconds looks at the world's first picture of a molecule, taken by IBM researchers in 2009 and published in Science Magazine.... Read more »

  • June 22, 2010
  • 06:14 AM

Dual-specificity T cells and autoimmunity

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

TcR interacting with artificial membrane1

Why does autoimmune disease (sometimes) follow viral infection?2
It’s a pretty well-known phenomenon, but a definite answer isn’t yet known — and of course there may not be a single answer, there may be multiple causes. We know that many autoimmune diseases seem to be triggered by some sort of infection [...]... Read more »

  • June 22, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

Less is more

by Becky in It Takes 30

Jeremy Gunawardena pointed me to this terrific paper that results from a collaboration between Bruce Walker’s and Arup Chakraborty’s groups (Košmrlj et al. Effects of thymic selection of the T-cell repertoire on HLA class I-associated control of HIV infection. Nature 465 350-4. PMID: 20445539). On reading it, I realized that I had heard Arup present the work at the ICSB 2009 conference; for me, it was one of the highlights of the meeting.... Read more »

Kosmrlj A, Read EL, Qi Y, Allen TM, Altfeld M, Deeks SG, Pereyra F, Carrington M, Walker BD, & Chakraborty AK. (2010) Effects of thymic selection of the T-cell repertoire on HLA class I-associated control of HIV infection. Nature, 465(7296), 350-4. PMID: 20445539  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 02:39 AM

Impact Factor Boxing 2010

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, Impact Factor Boxing  is here again. As with last year (2009), these metrics are already a year out of date. But this doesn’t stop many people from writing about impact factors and it’s been an interesting year [1] for the metrics used by many to judge value of [...]... Read more »

Abbott, A., Cyranoski, D., Jones, N., Maher, B., Schiermeier, Q., & Van Noorden, R. (2010) Metrics: Do metrics matter?. Nature, 465(7300), 860-862. DOI: 10.1038/465860a  

Van Noorden, R. (2010) Metrics: A profusion of measures. Nature, 465(7300), 864-866. DOI: 10.1038/465864a  

Tibor Braun, Margit Osterloh, Jevin West, Jennifer Rohn, David Pendlebury, Carl Bergstrom, & Bruno Frey. (2010) How to improve the use of metrics. Nature, 465(7300), 870-872. DOI: 10.1038/465870a  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 12:20 AM

Pigs are reservoirs of Influenza

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

Why were the older people less affected by the new flu?


The elderly, especially those older than 65 years, that is, born before 1944, constitute the part of the population less affected by H1N1. It was suggested and later confirmed by CDC that it is about the prior immunity to the virus. These people probably have [...]... Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 07:48 PM

Tiny Trilobites Drifted in Cambrian Currents

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A restoration of the tiny trilobite Ctenopyge ceciliae. From Schoenemann et al, 2010.

The first time I can remember seeing a trilobite, it wasn't in a museum case or a book about prehistoric animals. It was on card 39 of the gratuitously gory Dinosaurs Attack! card series, a horrific vignette depicting four of the invertebrates crawling over the bloodied face of their hapless victim. (No indication was given as to how the "flesh-eating worms", as the card identified them, had subdued the man........ Read more »

SCHOENEMANN, B., CLARKSON, E., AHLBERG, P., & ÁLVAREZ, M. (2010) A tiny eye indicating a planktonic trilobite. Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00966.x  

  • June 21, 2010
  • 04:51 PM

The Little Things That Count

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Fisheries don’t necessarily go after the species highest in the food web first, a new study says.
Fishermen are thought to initially target top predators and then move lower in the food web, perhaps because the higher-ranking species bring in more money. But after analyzing records dating back to the 1950s, researchers couldn’t find a […] Read More »... Read more »

Sethi, S.A., Branch, T.A., & R. Watson. (2010) Global fishery development patterns are driven by profit but not trophic level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1003236107

  • June 21, 2010
  • 04:38 PM

Continuing agricultural intensification is unlikely

by Aaron Berdanier in Biological Posteriors

Agriculture contributes a substantial amount (10-12%) of of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing this input is a major priority for mitigating climate change. However, we do not have very good information about what the best management strategies are to prevent emissions. Burney et al. (2010) add a unique piece to the puzzle by estimating the impact of agricultural intensification (i.e. increases in crop yield per area) on greenhouse gas emissions.... Read more »

Burney JA, Davis SJ, & Lobell DB. (2010) Greenhouse gas mitigation by agricultural intensification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20551223  

  • June 21, 2010
  • 04:07 PM

ResearchBlogCast #9: Genetics, fertility, and disease

by Dave Munger in News

Why would a deadly genetically-transmitted disease persist? Doesn’t “survival of the fittest” mean that any genetic mutation that causes premature death should quickly be extinguished? In the case of Cystic Fibrosis, the problem is even more dramatic, because CF causes infertility in men. How could this gene possibly survive? Yet it not only survives, it [...]... Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Our Counterintelligence Staph

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Karen Schwarzberg, Mike Gurney, and Nikos Gurfield S. aureus biofilm formed overnight on silicon elastomer, a material used in catheters. Bar = 10 µm. Source. Typically, when one thinks about the commensal bacteria living with us, what comes to mind are the benefits they provide by aiding in food metabolism, producing vitamins, and preventing colonization by invading pathogenic bacteria....... Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 12:40 PM

One of the bizarrest parasitic relationships you will ever see

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow

My good colleague Janine Caira wrote a paper way back in 1997 about one of the strangest parasites ever recorded in an animal.  This paper has stuck with me ever since, I think because I saw the original photos when I visited the lab of one of the other co-authors George Benz, when he was with Tennessee Aquarium (he's now at Middle Tennessee State U.).  So, I thought I'd revive it for you guys; ... Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 09:02 AM

Sunday Protist - Lagynion: bottled algae

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Quick one today as I should really be writing a chapter, as well as the post on plastid thiefs some of you wanted. And haptophytes. Have I mentioned my ADD tendencies?While I find ochrophytes (large group including diatoms and kelps) a bit too phycological for my tastes, some of them are actually really cool, especially Chrysophytes - the 'golden algae'. Chrysos include things like scaly flagellates (Paraphysomonas) and Dinobryon which makes colonies that look like trees of stacked wine glasses......... Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 08:48 AM

Yes We Kant

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

How does the brain learn about space? Two papers in Science show that neural representations of place and direction appear in baby rats astonishingly early - within just a couple of days of beginning to explore outside the nest.Two teams of researchers, Langston et al, and Wills et al, found that at just 16 days after birth, rats possess adult-like direction cells and place cells in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, areas known to be critical for spatial cognition. A couple of days later, g........ Read more »

Langston, R., Ainge, J., Couey, J., Canto, C., Bjerknes, T., Witter, M., Moser, E., & Moser, M. (2010) Development of the Spatial Representation System in the Rat. Science, 328(5985), 1576-1580. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188210  

Wills, T., Cacucci, F., Burgess, N., & O'Keefe, J. (2010) Development of the Hippocampal Cognitive Map in Preweanling Rats. Science, 328(5985), 1573-1576. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188224  

  • June 21, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Monday Pets: Caring For Babies and Pets

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Happy Father's Day, everyone!

I spent a lot of time today thinking back to why I started blogging in the first place, while I was at my parents house doing the other-than-science things that I love to do: playing with the dog, cooking, gardening. I realized that I've not done enough of that stuff lately.

I've only been seriously doing the blog thing (in the current format) since January, and I've now been here at Scienceblogs around two months, so it was time to reflect. The transition from ........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The rational crayfish, Procambarus economicus?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

You might expect a paper whose title starts with “Neural control” to include neurons.

This new paper by Liden and collegues doesn’t. It’s straight behaviour paper in the style of classic neuroethology. It starts by explicitly trying to tie itself to a hot new field: neuroeconomics. Neuroeconomics is about value assessment and decision making in humans. In many cases, this means doing brains scans of people while they play with experimenter’s money.

Liden and company argue that humans........ Read more »

Liden, William H., Phillips, Mary L., & Herberholz, Jens. (2010) Neural control of behavioural choice in juvenile crayfish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.1000

Schmidt, F. (2010) Detecting and Correcting the Lies That Data Tell. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(3), 233-242. DOI: 10.1177/1745691610369339  

  • June 21, 2010
  • 07:58 AM

How Caribbean Anoles Filled So Many Niches

by Laura Klappenbach in About Animals / Wildlife

↑ Click to enlarge image

Imagine a hungry group of youngsters bursting into a candy store where sweets are free for the taking—no cashiers asking for money, no one at the counter putting lids on the candy jars. Children flock to all corners of the store, spreading out evenly so each can claim an entire row of candy jars as their own. As more and more children flood into the shop, they fill the open spaces, packing themselves ever tighter until each child claims just a single jar of ........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 05:58 AM

Stinky seal-ducks. Amazing waterfowl facts part IV

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

More waterfowl weirdness...

Most waterfowl can walk fine on land, and the majority of species are pretty agile in terms of their terrestrial abilities. But some species are so specialised for life on water, and have their legs placed so far back on their bodies, that any terrestrial abilities are poor, if not hilarious. One often reads of how divers (or loons) are only able to move on land with an awkward shuffle; less well known is that some waterfowl are pretty much the same. Read the re........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2010
  • 04:36 AM

Linking Diabetes and Cancer: Where’s the Evidence?

by avi_wener in American Biotechnologist

If you’ve been following the Diabetes news lately, you likely noticed that two stories have dominated the news over the last couple of days. The first is a widely published study that implicates the consumption of white rice (as opposed to brown rice) in increased incidents of diabetes and the second relates to emerging evidence [...]... Read more »

Giovannucci, E., Harlan, D., Archer, M., Bergenstal, R., Gapstur, S., Habel, L., Pollak, M., Regensteiner, J., & Yee, D. (2010) Diabetes and Cancer: A Consensus Report. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. DOI: 10.3322/caac.20078  

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