Working for both public and private institutions, archaeologists constantly construct and deconstruct narratives about our past, but traditionally publish only a fraction of the sites they excavate and thus destroy. Computers and the internet present a vast range of opportunities for archaeologists to share primary data and foster intercultural online collaborations and reinterpretations of archaeological contexts. ... Read more »
A recently-published study has now resolved the mystery of the bison bones, with the help of some Ice Age cave artists. It turns out that there once existed, during the Ice Age, a hybrid between the now-extinct aurochs (the beast from which we domesticated the cow) and the equally-extinct steppe bison (basically, the Asian version of the American bison).... Read more »
Soubrier, J., Gower, G., Chen, K., & et al. (2016) Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison. Nature Communications, 13158. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13158
by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow may not seem to be such an astonishing plant, but it has its peculiarities, some of them quite interesting. Commonly known as Indian shot, African arrowroot, purple arrowroot, and many other names, it … Continue reading →... Read more »
Cui, L., Ouyang, Y., Lou, Q., Yang, F., Chen, Y., Zhu, W., & Luo, S. (2010) Removal of nutrients from wastewater with Canna indica L. under different vertical-flow constructed wetland conditions. Ecological Engineering, 36(8), 1083-1088. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2010.04.026
Woradulayapinij, W., Soonthornchareonnon, N., & Wiwat, C. (2005) In vitro HIV type 1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activities of Thai medicinal plants and Canna indica L. rhizomes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 101(1-3), 84-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.03.030
Is your dog a natural athlete or a couch pup-tato? The answer might depend on how far removed it is from its wild ancestors. Dogs that are more similar to wolves have kept more of their natural athleticism, while breeding has rendered other types of dogs a little...less impressive.
Caleb Bryce, a PhD candidate at UC Santa Cruz, says his study of canine athletes came about serendipitously. "We were just hoping to calibrate a new wildlife collar we’ve developed," he says; he planned to te........ Read more »
Bryce CM, & Williams TM. (2016) Comparative locomotor costs of domestic dogs reveal energetic economy of wolf-like breeds. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 27811300
by Piter Kehoma Boll Most of you likely know what diatoms are, microscopic algae with a silica shell that are very abundant in the world’s oceans and one of the main oxygen producers. You may have seen images like the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Ianora, A., Poulet, S., Miralto, A., & Grottoli, R. (1996) The diatom Thalassiosira rotula affects reproductive success in the copepod Acartia clausi. Marine Biology, 125(2), 279-286. DOI: 10.1007/BF00346308
Krawiec, R. (1982) Autecology and clonal variability of the marine centric diatom Thalassiosira rotula (Bacillariophyceae) in response to light, temperature and salinity. Marine Biology, 69(1), 79-89. DOI: 10.1007/BF00396964
Superman donned glasses to disguise himself and blend in with other people. One snake hides its identity using a similar trick: when threatened, it changes the shape of its pupils. This makes it resemble a much more dangerous animal.
The mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus) is mild-mannered, not superpowered. It's common across much of Asia, and—as you might have guessed from its name—looks a lot like a viper. Actual vipers are a widespread family of venomous snakes. Like true v........ Read more »
Silva, I., Crane, M., Artchawakom, T., Suwanwaree, P., & Strine, C. (2016) More than meets the eye: change in pupil shape by a mock viper. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(8), 453-454. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1420
by Piter Kehoma Boll This information was known by me and some other people for quite a while, but only recently has caught attention of the general public. Obama is the newest threat in Europe. No, I’m not talking about the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Álvarez-Presas, M., Mateos, E., Tudó, À., Jones, H., & Riutort, M. (2014) Diversity of introduced terrestrial flatworms in the Iberian Peninsula: a cautionary tale. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.430
Boll, P., & Leal-Zanchet, A. (2016) Preference for different prey allows the coexistence of several land planarians in areas of the Atlantic Forest. Zoology, 119(3), 162-168. DOI: 10.1016/j.zool.2016.04.002
Carbayo, F., Álvarez-Presas, M., Jones, H., & Riutort, M. (2016) The true identity of Obama (Platyhelminthes: Geoplanidae) flatworm spreading across Europe. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 177(1), 5-28. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12358
by Piter Kehoma Boll Found throughout most of the world, you probably have encountered this fellow many times in your life, but did not pay any attention. After all, it is just a moss! Scientifically known as Bryum argenteum and popularly … Continue reading →... Read more »
Shaw, A., & Albright, D. (1990) Potential for the Evolution of Heavy Metal Tolerance in Bryum argenteum, a Moss. II. Generalized Tolerances among Diverse Populations. The Bryologist, 93(2), 187. DOI: 10.2307/3243622
In the form of a creepy Jack-o’-lantern frightening kids who seek for treats, or of a creamy soup in a cold fall night, pumpkins are the most distinctive fruits we find on the market stands in this season. But this fruit, in its larger variants, is also at the center of a special type of competition that takes place every year. A group of fierce farmers equipped with large scales and the heaviest products of their fields meet up to determine who among them was able to grow the largest pump........ Read more »
Savage, J., Haines, D., & Holbrook, N. (2015) The making of giant pumpkins: how selective breeding changed the phloem of from source to sink . Plant, Cell , 38(8), 1543-1554. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12502
Now and forever, or at least for a very long time By 2050, sea levels will have risen this much. If we don’t act, average global temperature will rise x degrees by 2100. These are the things we all hear in the discussion concerning climate change and its consequences. But beyond the turn of the […]... Read more »
Clark, P., Shakun, J., Marcott, S., Mix, A., Eby, M., Kulp, S., Levermann, A., Milne, G., Pfister, P., Santer, B.... (2016) Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change. Nature Climate Change, 6(4), 360-369. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2923
Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »
by Piter Kehoma Boll Last week I introduced a cyanobacteria that reminds me of my childhood and that is commonly known as witch’s jelly or witch’s butter. But witch’s butter is also the common name of fungus, so I thought … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lo, H., Tsai, F., Wasser, S., Yang, J., & Huang, B. (2006) Effects of ingested fruiting bodies, submerged culture biomass, and acidic polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan of Tremella mesenterica Retz.:Fr. on glycemic responses in normal and diabetic rats. Life Sciences, 78(17), 1957-1966. DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2005.08.033
Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »
Hernandez AM, Perez EC, Mulard H, Mathevon N, & Vignal C. (2016) Mate call as reward: Acoustic communication signals can acquire positive reinforcing values during adulthood in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 130(1), 36-43. PMID: 26881942
by Piter Kehoma Boll I wonder how many people can say they have a bacterium that reminds them of their childhood. Well, at least I can say that I have. When I was a boy and started to know about … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lipman, C. (1941) The Successful Revival of Nostoc commune from a Herbarium Specimen Eighty- Seven Years Old. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 68(9), 664. DOI: 10.2307/2481755
Tamaru, Y., Takani, Y., Yoshida, T., & Sakamoto, T. (2005) Crucial Role of Extracellular Polysaccharides in Desiccation and Freezing Tolerance in the Terrestrial Cyanobacterium Nostoc commune. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(11), 7327-7333. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.71.11.7327-7333.2005
Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »
Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1
Honest signalling Theory. Why would animals tell the truth? Is it strong moral fiber? Maybe they paid really close attention when their mother told them the story of the boy who cried wolf? It's actually about self preservation.
Signalling theory states that animals send out signals that benefit themselves. Honest signalling theory states when an animal tells the truth , eg: sends a signal that says 'I'm healthy' when the animal is actually healthy, it does so to avoid a p........ Read more »
Blount JD, Speed MP, Ruxton GD, & Stephens PA. (2009) Warning displays may function as honest signals of toxicity. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 276(1658), 871-7. PMID: 19019790
Me and my microbes In the past decade or so, the microbiota, the community of microbes that makes its home in the guts of humans and other animals, has become quite a popular research topic. Quite rightly so, since our little guests seem to affect aspects of our lives that we wouldn’t necessarily consider to […]... Read more »
Faria VG, Martins NE, Magalhães S, Paulo TF, Nolte V, Schlötterer C, Sucena É, & Teixeira L. (2016) Drosophila Adaptation to Viral Infection through Defensive Symbiont Evolution. PLoS genetics, 12(9). PMID: 27684942
Solé RV, Montañez R, & Duran-Nebreda S. (2015) Synthetic circuit designs for earth terraformation. Biology direct, 37. PMID: 26187273
An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research that suggests pollinators have feelings, too. Since emotions are subjective and difficult to measure—particularly in animals—researchers looked at how bees' behavior changed after they were given a sip of sucrose solution.
... Read more »
Perry, C., Baciadonna, L., & Chittka, L. (2016) Unexpected rewards induce dopamine-dependent positive emotion-like state changes in bumblebees. Science, 353(6307), 1529-1531. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4454
When extremely happy or relaxed, rats will display a behavior known as boggling where their eyes vibrate and bulge. ... Read more »
Froberg-fejko, Karen. (2014) Give a rat a bone: satisfying rodents' need to gnaw. Lab animal. info:/
A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands—despite the state's historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations.
... Read more »
WATKINS, Larissa, WATSON, Kelly, & HUFFMAN, F. Tyler. (2016) MONITORING CHANGE IN AGRICULTURAL LAND AND WATER USAGE IN CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY USING GEOSPATIAL TECHNIQUES. Geological Society of America. info:/10.1130/abs/2016AM-285205
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