Posts tagged science
Posts tagged science
Tiger Keelback - Rhabdophis tigrinus
- East and SE Asia
they bioaccumulate toad toxins in nuchal glands for defensive purposes, all while making their own predatory venom in maxillary glands
Poison – a toxin that gains entry to the body via the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract of via absorption through intact body layers (e.g. ciguatoxin). Typically alkaloidal or other ring structures
Venom – a toxin or mixture of toxins that can only gain access to the body through a wound (e.g. by a fish spine or snake fang). Typically proteins or peptides.
POISONOUS SNAKES GUYS. I DID NOT KNOW THIS THING. HOLY WOW.
NY Times: Coldblooded Does Not Mean Stupid
by Emily Anthes
In the plethora of research over the past few decades on the cognitive capabilities of various species, lizards, turtles and snakes have been left in the back of the class. Few scientists bothered to peer into the reptile mind, and those who did were largely unimpressed.
“Reptiles don’t really have great press,” said Gordon M. Burghardt, a comparative psychologist at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. “Certainly in the past, people didn’t really think too much of their intelligence. They were thought of as instinct machines.”
But now that is beginning to change, thanks to a growing interest in “coldblooded cognition” and recent studies revealing that reptile brains are not as primitive as we imagined. The research could not only redeem reptiles but also shed new light on cognitive evolution.
Because reptiles, birds and mammals diverged so long ago, with a common ancestor that lived 280 million years ago, the emerging data suggest that certain sophisticated mental skills may be more ancient than had been assumed — or so adaptive that they evolved multiple times…
photograph: Manuel Leal
Booty Shaking Pocket Mice (researcher narration)
When the sun goes down in Saguaro National Park, in Arizona, the pocket mice start working it like a strip joint. Doctoral Candidate, Pacifica Sommers, explains how and why she took these videos, and what they might mean for desert ecology.
More information at www.biodiversitytheblog.wordpress.com.
Because you have the sexual drive of a tree doesn’t mean you are one.
That is both a non-sequitur and an unsupported statement, considering you don’t know me and thus don’t know anything about my libido or lack thereof. Also? Never claimed to be a tree. Nobody here claimed to be a tree. I did claim to be asexual, but given the definition of ‘does not experience sexual attraction’, that claim is verified. So I have no idea what your point is there.
Again. if you don’t want people to tell you that you are wrong, don’t post your bigotry in the tag. That’s all we’re asking. That, and ‘don’t be a dick to people and demean their sexuality’, something I thought would go without saying.
Also, trees? Either broadcast their sperm-equivalent everywhere the wind will take it, or get it on every creature that touches their flowers.
They’re probably not the best example of organisms uninterested in sex.
trees have so much fucking sex tho they have sex ALL THE TIME with themselves and with each other and with animals like if i had the sexual drive of a tree then if i wasn’t masturbating i’d be getting laid like heckie
if u don’t know anything about biology how’re u gonna come around saying asexuality isn’t a thing like do u know that SCIENTIFICALLY bcos u don’t do good science
Reblogging solely for Algie’s wonderful description of the sex drives of trees.
Hot ice, everyone. Or supersaturation. I’ve done this in a lab and it is fun as hell. I’m going to explain the process of what the thing I did was, and assume it applies to what is going on in this gif. If I am wrong someone let me know.
I’m going to guess this is sodium acetate, as that’s what I worked with. You can make it with baking soda and vinegar. You very slowly add bits of baking soda to the vinegar and stir between additions - slow enough that you don’t get the volcano effect that kids love to make. Once the baking soda has been added, you boil it to further concentrate it, and stop boiling once a film has started to form over the surface. Covering the liquid to prevent evaporation and cooling it results in a supercooled liquid - a liquid that is actually at a temperature below its melting point. Something as simple as touching it - either with a fingertip or with another crystal, which could be what the ‘ice cube’ in the gif is - should activate the exothermic reaction that results in instant crystallization. And the crystals will be warm to the touch. Hence the name ‘hot ice’.
Awesome research from CU-Boulder! I think this dissertation was finished Spring 2012.
In the following audio clips, recorded by University of Colorado Boulder researcher Lal Zimman, two transgender men say the same sentence. Both speakers’ voices have a mean pitch of 140 hertz, which is typically considered to be part of the male-sounding vocal range. But the two speakers pronounce “s” sounds differently, affecting whether their voices are perceived as male or female by the listener. In the first audio clip, a speaker called “Joe” uses low-frequency “s” sounds, and in the second clip, “Kam” uses high-frequency “s” sounds. When the clips were played for a group of 10 listeners participating in Zimman’s study, the group unanimously perceived “Joe” to be male and “Kam” to be female.
(Click through to hear the two clips and see a link to the full press release.)
More details on the study from here:
“In the past, gender differences in the voice have been understood, primarily, as a biological difference,” Zimman said. “I really wanted to look at the potential for other factors, other than how testosterone lowers the voice, to affect how a person’s voice is perceived.”
As part of the process of transitioning from female to male, participants in Zimman’s study were treated with the hormone testosterone, which causes a number of physical changes including the lowering of a person’s voice. Zimman was interested in whether the style of a person’s speech had any impact on how low a voice needed to drop before it was perceived as male.
What he found was that a voice could have a higher pitch and still be perceived as male if the speaker pronounced “s” sounds in a lower frequency, which is achieved by moving the tongue farther away from the teeth.
“A high-frequency ‘s’ has long been stereotypically associated with women’s speech, as well as gay men’s speech, yet there is no biological correlate to this association,” said CU-Boulder linguistics and anthropology Associate Professor Kira Hall, who served as Zimman’s doctoral adviser. “The project illustrates the socio-biological complexity of pitch: the designation of a voice as more masculine or more feminine is importantly influenced by other ideologically charged speech traits that are socially, not biologically, driven.”
Johnson has a bit more on the s-fronting associated with gay male speech, and Language Log has a more general background on vocal pitch as a function of gender, culture, and circumstances.
Everyone always SAYS their average lifespan is 50-60 years old, although when one does the math out it generally comes out to closer to 30-40, but I wanted to verify which one has been studied and proven by scientists and I failed to find any actual studies on it, so does anyone have any links to the scientific studies done on killer whale lifespans?
Most of these studies focus on female killer whales because their long post-menopausal life spans are of great interest to scientists. All of them say that the average/max lifespan for males is 40/65 and for females it is 50/90
What was 11 meters (36ft) long, had a sail on its back, and had arms bigger than an adult human?
Yep, the big paleo news this weekend was the official announcement of some new fossil material for this particular dinosaur.
Deinocheirus (“terrible hand”) came from the Late Cretaceous of the Gobi desert, about 70 million years ago. Originally discovered in 1965, the only bones known were a set of enormous arms and a few scattered ribs and vertebrae. It was a long-standing mystery for paleontologists. Was it a megalosaur? A carnosaur? Some new type of theropod altogether? A predator or a herbivore?
Some more recent studies suggested it might be an ornithomimosaur, albeit a fairly primitive one based on the arm anatomy. With the two new specimens that have been found, we’ve now got confirmation of that placement — Deinocheirus really was an enormous “ostrich mimic”, the largest known for that group.
And it had a sail-back.
I don’t think anybody was expecting that.
Probably my favorite Deinocheirus yet!
Orphaned Elephants Lack Social Knowledge Key for Survival
Psychological impact from loss of family structure parallels PTSD in people.
Highly intelligent and social animals, African elephants depend on their sophisticated communication skills for survival in the wild. A recent study investigated the effects of culling and relocation on elephant decision-making and cognition decades later.
Behavioral ecologists from the University of Sussex in England led an international team to study two different elephant populations: one relatively undisturbed group living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and another translocated population in Pilanesberg Park in South Africa. The Pilanesberg elephants were moved there as calves following managed culling of adults and older juveniles in Kruger National Park in the 1980s and 1990s.
Survivors from the translocated elephant group showed signs of negative long-term psychological impact that affected their decision-making process, paralleling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans, according to the study, which was published in Frontiers in Zoology on October 23, 2013.
Elephants develop complex social relationships over long life spans. Long-term learning and knowledge transfer in the Pilanesberg population was deeply affected by the culling, the study found.
"Human-generated social disruption has profound effects on important decision-making abilities in wild African elephants that are likely to impact key aspects of their social behavior," said Graeme Shannon, a University of Sussex psychologist who, along with colleague Karen McComb, led the study.
Call of the Wild
Through a series of acoustic playback experiments, the scientists found that human activities, including culling and relocation, have a profound impact on the communication skills, social understanding, and overall cognition of wild African elephants.
While other studies have looked at physiological and behavioral impacts on elephants from extreme human disturbance, such as poaching, this study was the first to assess their fundamental communication skills and cognitive abilities in the wild, Shannon said.
WORK IN CURRENT HERPETOLOGY:
Sea Turtles Smell Nearby Shores
by Cameron Walker
A loggerhead sea turtle’s nose knows land. Sea turtles can migrate across the ocean and back, but while Earth’s magnetic field plays a role in their navigation, researchers have wondered what other tools turtles use to find safe harbor, particularly at smaller scales.
Loggerheads’ (Caretta caretta) olfactory systems can sense airborne odors, including food—could they sniff out nearby shores as well? To find out, researchers piped the scent of either distilled water or mud from North Carolina’s Sage Bay into the air above a juvenile loggerhead at swim in an arena.
Researchers report in this month’s issue of Marine Biology that when the scent of mud was in the air, the 10 turtles spent more time swimming with their heads above the water’s surface, compared with when distilled water was the only perfume…
(read more: Science News/AAAS)
photo: Courtney Endres
Emma-Rose Gibson can see clearly no more than three centimetres in front of her, but a new device is allowing the nine-year-old Ottawa girl to watch TV.
The legally blind Grade 4 student, who is diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia, is one of the first users of the eSight eyewear, a pair of computerized glasses officially launched Tuesday in Toronto.
The device — made by Ottawa-based eSight Corporation — reconfigures images captured by its high-definition camera in a way to optimize a user’s vision. The processed images are then fed into two LED screens in front of the user’s eyes.
Gibson, who has been using the device since May, said it allows her to participate fully in class and grants her a degree of mobility she didn’t have before.
“When I first heard of it, I was like, ’Wow, this can actually change my life.”’ (Photo: Ethan Lou / The Canadian Press)
What the. This is great.
The piles of angular, jumbled rocks that mark mountain summits result from powerful explosions sparked by lightning, a new study shows.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN HERE’S A POST ON BATS (that’s a vampire bat skeleton, yo)
I don’t know if you guys have noticed this, but I’m a pretty big fan of bats. I’ve been meaning to do a grand ole post on them for a while, and this seems to be the perfect season to do it. So, in regards to the season, I’ll talk briefly about the incredible diversity within order Chiroptera, and then talk a bit about the common vampire bat because it is actually pretty rad.
QUICK BAT FACTS! Did you know….
- Bats comprise about one-fifth of known mammal species?
- The smallest known mammal is a bat? (Well, there’s also a shrew contender, but we’re going with the bat today.)
- The largest bats have five-foot wingspans?
- Tequila wouldn’t exist without bats? (One species pollinates the agave plant it’s made from.)
- Some bats have nipples in their armpits?
- NO bat species is blind?
- Bats can live over 20 years?
- Bats are highly intelligent, social animals?
- THAT BATS WILL NOT LAND/GET TANGLED IN YOUR HAIR, EVER, STOP BELIEVING THIS MYTH
Okay, let’s learn about bats.
<And in that moment I swear I was Sokka.>
someone told me once that “blink blink” is cat for “I love you”
I’m sure this is total bullshit but i choose to believe it.
cats are hardcore man. instead of going, “i love you,” or whatever, they’re just like, “YOU ARE NEITHER MY ENEMY NOR MY PREY AND I THUS ALLOW YOU TO BE IN MY UNGUARDED PRESENCE.”