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  • September 19, 2010
  • 12:52 AM
  • 1,587 views

Sunday Spinelessness - Throwing pesky males off the scent

by David in The Atavism

We often think about evolution as a competition, but it's not always clear who the competitors are. Popular accounts of evolution often talk about species competing for survival, Darwin saw evolutionary change as the result of individual's struggle for existence and Richard Dawkins recast individuals as proxies in a battle between genes. A new paper form Kerstin Johannesson and her colleagues at the University of Gothenburg highlights another ongoing competition which explains a good deal of bio........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,101 views

Big Brained Humans: A Dangerous Idea?

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat

Predation is a key driver of biological systems over both ecological and evolutionary timescales. Thus, to understand our role as Homo sapiens within this evolutionary framework we must look to the animal kingdom to find our place. This is important for anyone following an evolutionary eating plan as it gives our species an ecological context, which we can consider when making choices about our lifestyle and diet. In the latest edition of Behavioral Ecology, Shultz & Finlayson utilised a range o........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2010
  • 09:44 PM
  • 1,310 views

Linking Research and Practice in Science Teaching

by Jack Hassard in The Art of Teaching Science

For many years I was fortunate to conduct seminars for the Bureau of Research in Education (BER), an organization that provides staff development and training resources for educators in North America.  One of the principles that provided the framework for the seminars that I did, and others that the BER offers is the link between [...]


Related posts:Time to Review Online: National Research Council Framework for Science Education
Humanizing Science Teacher Education
Engineering as a Way to Hum........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2010
  • 09:43 AM
  • 2,539 views

The worm in sheep’s clothing

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Good news for sheep: scientists have moved a step closer to understanding how a disease-causing worm evades the sheep immune system. Parasitic gastroenteritis (PGE) causes diarrhoea, weight loss and dehydration in sheep and can be fatal. The disease is commonly caused by a nematode worm, Teladorsagia circumcincta, which makes its home in the stomach of [...]... Read more »

  • September 5, 2010
  • 10:50 AM
  • 2,406 views

2 legs good, 4 legs better: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 2

by gregdowney in Neuroanthropology


Beginning in 2005, reports by Prof. Üner Tan of Cukurova University in Turkey alerted the world to a number of families in which some members walked quadrupedally. This is the second part of a (so far) two-part post on Uner Tan Syndrome. Although you’re welcome to read the first part, I’ll give you the one sentence summary if you just want to push on and a piece of video clip on the cases. I should warn you though, before you read the first part, that the whole thing is sort of like the........ Read more »

Dietz Volker. (2002) Do human bipeds use quadrupedal coordination?. Trends in neurosciences, 25(9), 462-7. PMID: 12183207  

Dietz V, & Michel J. (2009) Human bipeds use quadrupedal coordination during locomotion. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 97-103. PMID: 19645886  

Herz J, Boycott KM, & Parboosingh JS. (2008) "Devolution" of bipedality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(21). PMID: 18487453  

Humphrey, Nicholas, Stefan Mundlos, & Seval Türkmen. (2008) Genes and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science , 105(21). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0802839105  

Susanne M. Morton,, & Amy J. Bastian. (2007) Mechanisms of cerebellar gait ataxia. The Cerebellum, 6(1), 79-86. DOI: 10.1080/14734220601187741  

Tayfun Ozcelik, Nurten Akarsu, Elif Uz, Safak Caglayan, Suleyman Gulsuner, Onur Emre Onat, Meliha Tan, & Uner Tan. (2008) Mutations in the very low-density lipoprotein receptor VLDLR cause cerebellar hypoplasia and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(11), 4232-4236. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0710010105  

Ozcelik, Tayfun,, Nurten Akarsu,, Elif Uz,, Safak Caglayan,, Suleyman Gulsuner,, Onur Emre Onat,, Meliha Tan,, & Uner Tan. (2008) Reply to Herz et al. and Humphrey et al.: Genetic heterogeneity of cerebellar hypoplasia with quadrupedal locomotion. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(23). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0804078105  

Thelen, E.,, & Ulrich, B. D. (1991) Hidden skills: A dynamic systems analysis of treadmill stepping during the first year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 56(1), 1-98. DOI: 10.2307/1166099  

  • September 3, 2010
  • 11:44 AM
  • 2,579 views

Human, quadruped: Uner Tan Syndrome, part 1

by gregdowney in Neuroanthropology


The photos that accompanied news releases about quadrupedal people living in Turkey, members of a family that allegedly could not walk except on hands and feet, looked staged when I first saw them. Three women and one man scrambling across rocky ground, the women in brightly coloured clothing, the sky radiant blue behind them, their eyes forward and backsides high in the air – like children engaged in some sort of awkward race at a field day or sporting carnival.
Members of a Turkish family ........ Read more »

Herz J, Boycott KM, & Parboosingh JS. (2008) "Devolution" of bipedality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(21). PMID: 18487453  

Humphrey, Nicholas, Stefan Mundlos, & Seval Türkmen. (2008) Genes and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science , 105(21). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0802839105  

Susanne M. Morton,, & Amy J. Bastian. (2007) Mechanisms of cerebellar gait ataxia. The Cerebellum, 6(1), 79-86. DOI: 10.1080/14734220601187741  

Tayfun Ozcelik, Nurten Akarsu, Elif Uz, Safak Caglayan, Suleyman Gulsuner, Onur Emre Onat, Meliha Tan, & Uner Tan. (2008) Mutations in the very low-density lipoprotein receptor VLDLR cause cerebellar hypoplasia and quadrupedal locomotion in humans. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(11), 4232-4236. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0710010105  

Ozcelik, Tayfun,, Nurten Akarsu,, Elif Uz,, Safak Caglayan,, Suleyman Gulsuner,, Onur Emre Onat,, Meliha Tan,, & Uner Tan. (2008) Reply to Herz et al. and Humphrey et al.: Genetic heterogeneity of cerebellar hypoplasia with quadrupedal locomotion. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(23). DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0804078105  

Thelen, E.,, & Ulrich, B. D. (1991) Hidden skills: A dynamic systems analysis of treadmill stepping during the first year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 56(1), 1-98. DOI: 10.2307/1166099  

  • August 28, 2010
  • 05:21 PM
  • 2,181 views

Sunday Spinelessness - New Zealand's GIANT Sprintgtails

by David in The Atavism

I know, a couple of week it was multiple exclamation points, then a reference to lyrics from a band anyone who is remotely cool is trying to forget they ever liked and this week it's all caps all the way. Hopefully, by the end of this post you'll agree that, this time at least, the subject left me with no option. I missed out a little fact about peripatus when I wrote about them the other day: Dunedin is full of them. There is even a local endemic species which appears to be restricted to one pa........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 06:30 AM
  • 1,584 views

Robots and neuroscience

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Many people expect that humans and robots will interact more frequently in the near future. For this reason, it is extremely important that robots are capable of smooth and natural movements so that they do not make people feel uncomfortable. Dr Thierry Chaminade from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging is part of an international [...]... Read more »

Chaminade, T., Zecca, M., Blakemore, S., Takanishi, A., Frith, C., Micera, S., Dario, P., Rizzolatti, G., Gallese, V., & Umiltà, M. (2010) Brain Response to a Humanoid Robot in Areas Implicated in the Perception of Human Emotional Gestures. PLoS ONE, 5(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011577  

  • August 24, 2010
  • 04:00 AM
  • 1,089 views

Synthetic ‘cradle’ boosts hope of stem cell therapies

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Stem cells – with their famed ability to change into any type of cell – hold tremendous promise for medicine, but growing them is a challenging task. “For therapeutics, you need millions and millions of cells,” says Dr Krishanu Saha from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. “If we can make it easier for the cells [...]... Read more »

Mei, Y., Saha, K., Bogatyrev, S., Yang, J., Hook, A., Kalcioglu, Z., Cho, S., Mitalipova, M., Pyzocha, N., Rojas, F.... (2010) Combinatorial development of biomaterials for clonal growth of human pluripotent stem cells. Nature Materials, 768-778. DOI: 10.1038/nmat2812  

  • August 11, 2010
  • 06:42 AM
  • 1,901 views

Refining the milestones: assessing child development in Africa

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Over the first few years of life, children develop different types of skills – social skills (such as smiling), fine motor skills (such as grasping and drawing), language skills (such as combining words), and gross motor skills (such as walking and running). From monitoring children, experts have identified ‘developmental milestones’ that describe the skills acquired [...]... Read more »

  • August 9, 2010
  • 05:05 PM
  • 1,142 views

Delayed Gratification = Success?

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Today we are going to step into the time machine and go back 21 years to 1989. It was in this year that the study to become known as the “Marshmallow experiment” was published. Performed by Walter Mischel at Stanford University this experiment showed an amazing thing, that testing a child’s self-control at 4yrs could [...]... Read more »

Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. (1989) Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933-938. DOI: 10.1126/science.2658056  

  • August 5, 2010
  • 09:42 AM
  • 1,724 views

‘Personalising’ autoimmune disease treatments

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Researchers have identified biomarkers that could save patients with severe autoimmune disease from having to take potentially toxic drug treatments for too long. The biomarkers predict how different patients will react following initial treatment – opening the door to more personalised therapies. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and colleagues found a pattern of gene [...]... Read more »

McKinney EF, Lyons PA, Carr EJ, Hollis JL, Jayne DR, Willcocks LC, Koukoulaki M, Brazma A, Jovanovic V, Kemeny DM.... (2010) A CD8 T cell transcription signature predicts prognosis in autoimmune disease. Nature medicine, 16(5), 586. PMID: 20400961  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 10:51 PM
  • 1,065 views

Pharmacy Customers Perception of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pharmacies

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Going through the papers cluttering my inbox I found this survey of Australian pharmacy customers relating to their use of CAM and their impressions of how pharmacists should approach the subject. Regular readers of Sciblogs may remember a kerfuffle earlier in the year regarding the sale of homeopathic remedies in pharmacies, I and others were [...]... Read more »

Braun, L., Tiralongo, E., Wilkinson, J., Spitzer, O., Bailey, M., Poole, S., & Dooley, M. (2010) Perceptions, use and attitudes of pharmacy customers on complementary medicines and pharmacy practice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1), 38. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-38  

  • August 3, 2010
  • 06:45 AM
  • 1,936 views

Mapping ‘the other’ malaria

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

A new map of the global distribution of malaria suggests that Plasmodium vivax malaria has a more serious impact than is commonly believed. Four species of the plasmodium parasite are known to commonly cause malaria in humans: P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. vivax. Of these, P. falciparum is the most deadly and [...]... Read more »

Guerra, C., Howes, R., Patil, A., Gething, P., Van Boeckel, T., Temperley, W., Kabaria, C., Tatem, A., Manh, B., Elyazar, I.... (2010) The International Limits and Population at Risk of Plasmodium vivax Transmission in 2009. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000774  

  • July 28, 2010
  • 10:42 PM
  • 1,882 views

The First New Zealanders and their rats

by David in The Atavism

Crispin Jago has made a very cool thing, a periodic table of irrational nonsense. Rolling my eyes over the groups, wondering how people can believe some of these things, made me think about New Zealand's unique ecosystem of kooky ideas. We don't have to suffer creationists in any organised sense and I don't think anyone is too into ear candelling, but those TV psychics have found themselves a niche to exploit and most people seem think chiropratric and homeopathy are normal parts ........ Read more »

Holdaway, R. (1996) Arrival of rats in New Zealand. Nature, 384(6606), 225-226. DOI: 10.1038/384225b0  

  • July 28, 2010
  • 10:11 AM
  • 1,618 views

Attracting mosquitoes by smell

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

With around half the world’s population at risk of malaria, researchers have put a lot of effort into finding ways to prevent infection. Interventions commonly focus on preventing bites from the mosquitoes that transmit the malaria parasite using, for example, insecticide-treated bednets. However, researchers at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania are working on a [...]... Read more »

  • July 26, 2010
  • 06:20 AM
  • 2,436 views

Why the first test tube baby nearly didn’t happen

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

As our Wellcome Film and Image of the Month posts yesterday indicated, it was 32 years ago that the birth of the world’s first ‘test tube baby’ using the new technique of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) occurred. It revolutionised reproductive science but this major development was privately – rather than publicly – funded as the [...]... Read more »

  • July 25, 2010
  • 08:16 PM
  • 1,105 views

Is there a Biochemical Marker for Suicide?

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Suicide is a sensitive subject, by it’s very nature it seems we are obliged to treat it with kid gloves. In public it is virtually taboo to even mention suicide, in news media euphemisms are employed in order to avoid explicit use of the “S” word. Attitudes are beginning to change, with more vocal discussion [...]... Read more »

Falcone T, Fazio V, Lee C, Simon B, Franco K, Marchi N, & Janigro D. (2010) Serum S100B: a potential biomarker for suicidality in adolescents?. PloS one, 5(6). PMID: 20559426  

  • July 25, 2010
  • 04:00 AM
  • 1,634 views

Wellcome Film of the Month: The first ‘test tube’ baby, Louise Brown, is born in 1978

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Louise Brown, the World’s first “test tube” baby, celebrates her birthday today, the 25th July. She was born in 1978, at Oldham and District General Hospital, Greater Manchester, UK. Her birth was the fruition of many decades of medical research by Patrick Steptoe (b. 1913- d.1988), an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and Robert Geoffrey Edwards (b. [...]... Read more »

  • July 22, 2010
  • 05:10 PM
  • 1,018 views

Recruitment variation and the benthos - connected or not?

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

For years, the "supply-side" ecology has been a common theme describing mechanisms for benthic species distributions and densities. In general terms, the amount and extent of a particular organism is driven by the supply of larvae to a given area. This larval supply can thus be seen as driving benthic community structure, especially for marine invertebrates - as their life cycles contain a planktonic larval stage which allows for dispersal over relatively long distances. Thus, many of these p........ Read more »

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