“The avocado is highly regarded by many people as delicious and nutritious, but the most extraordinary thing about avocados may be their very existence.”
NC State University researcher Max Scott and colleagues have engineered a strain of transgenic blueflies whose maggots secrete human growth factor, which they hope to use to fight infections in patients with non-healing wounds for whom antibiotics do not offer any hope. Read the rest
Disappointingly, these heatmaps of human bodies whose owners are experiencing various emotional states were not produced with infrared cameras, but rather with self-reporting by subjects being asked to say where they were experiencing more and less sensation while watching videos and seeing words intended to trigger those emotions. Read the rest
D. Allan Drummond, the University of Chicago biologist who recently 3D printed and cast a fascinating model of a yeast cell dividing, also creates exquisite bronze sculptures of trilobites, marine arthropods that went extinct 250 million years ago. Images and video below.
See more at Professor Drummond's Instagram feed.
“A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years,” reports the World Wildlife Foundation today.
I've heard -- and repeated -- the theory that addiction rates among indigenous people in the Americas was caused by genetics -- specifically, that "new world" populations hadn't gone through the European plague years' genetic bottleneck that killed everyone who couldn't survive on alcoholic beverages (these having been boiled during their production and thus less likely to carry infectious diseases). Read the rest
Giraffes aren't known for their vocalizations, a limitation thought to be caused by their long necks, but biologists have know determined that they do "hum" at night. According to cognitive biologist Angela Stöger at the University of Vienna, the animals produce a low frequency hum with "a complex acoustic structure." Hear it below!
"It could be passively produced – like snoring – or produced during a dream-like state – like humans talking or dogs barking in their sleep,” Stöger told New Scientist.
Stöger adds that the hum could also be how giraffes communicate with each other when it's too dark to see.
These ants circle an iPhone like it's the Ka'aba in Mecca. Read the rest
Scientists named this newly-identified species of Indonesian crayfish Cherax snowden, after Edward Snowden. Read the rest
Experimental psychologists find that humans prefer explanations for events that have certainty and a sense of purpose over undirected randomness. Read the rest