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October 30, 2017
You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site!?Pardon the dust while we get settled into our new digs.
October 30, 2017
And the #1 blog entry published thus far in 2017 discussed whether there was an evolutionary advantage to being stupid: ---- As I was looking through the scientific literature the other day, I came across an article published in 1973, "The Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid." With a title like…
October 25, 2017
Who could forget the second most popular blog post so far this year. Seeing an octopus walk never gets old! ------- I came across this amazing video on YouTube showing a species of octopus found in Northern Australia that is adapted to walk on land:
October 23, 2017
The #3 post so far this year explored how zebra finches reward themselves for singing well: Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their…
October 19, 2017
Here is the 4th most popular post so far this year: Picture of a komodo dragon by CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Researchers studying komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) at George Mason University discovered 48 previously unknown peptides in?their blood that?might?have antimicrobial…
October 17, 2017
In looking back over the history of the blog, I thought it would be fun to take another glimpse at the top 5 most popular posts in 2017 thus far... Image of lavender from GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=322384 While lavender aromatherapy has been documented…
October 16, 2017
It is hard to believe that I have been sharing my passion for comparative physiology and its application to human and animal health with you for over 7 years now! In reminiscing over the last 7 years, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts. So, here goes... The most…
September 30, 2017
A new species of giant tree rats (Uromys vika) has been confirmed in the Solomon Islands! These rats can reach over 2 pounds and an impressive 1.5 feet in length. They can even break through coconuts with their teeth. I would not want to cross paths with one of these critters. Sources: Video:…
September 28, 2017
Sara Letzner had humans compete against pigeons in a behavioural experiment. Photo from: Ruhr-Universitat at Bochum A new study conducted by Drs. Sara Letzner and Onur Gunturkun (Ruhr-Universitat at Bochum) as well as Dr. Christian Beste (Technische Univeritat at Dresden) shows that pigeons…
September 27, 2017
Although female northern elephant seals only typically deliver one pup, females will sometimes nurse offspring from other mothers as in this photo by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia commons. A situation like this would result in less milk available to each nursing pup. I just…
September 25, 2017
? When blood sugar concentrations are elevated, humans run the risk of glucose binding to proteins in the blood and causing the irreversible formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE). Once formed, AGEs can bind to their receptor (RAGE) and stimulate inflammation and oxidative stress…
September 22, 2017
Image of cave dwelling Mexican tetra By Citron via Wikimedia Commons Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus) are a fascinating example of divergent evolution. Over time, some of these freshwater river fish washed into caves where they continue to live. With perpetual darkness, these cavefish have…
September 15, 2017
Photo of sea sponges by Steve Rupp, National Science Foundation via Wikimedia Commons Through the course of evolution vertebrates have apparently lost their gene-encoded viral defense mechanisms. These ancient defenses allow plants and insects to silence the expression of certain genes by using…
September 13, 2017
Image of a tammar wallaby and her joey By Mathae - Own work via Wikimedia Commons ? When I think of marsupials, what comes to mind is an image of a mother carrying her young (joey) in a pouch. Contrary to popular belief, however, mother tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) have an internal…
August 29, 2017
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Got bugs? Get a bat. As many species of bats are insectivores, they help keep insect populations in check. Hurricane…
August 29, 2017
Image source: Smithsonian Institution You may recall prior Lifelines posts discussing the devastating effects of white nose syndrome (WNS) in bats. WNS,?Pseudogymnoascus destructans is a fungus responsible for the deaths of millions of North American bats over the last ten years.…
August 29, 2017
Image of yellowfin tuna via Wikimedia Commons. I love fishing.?As with every fisherman, I have my fair share of "the one that got away" stories steeped in *mostly* truth. So, you can imagine my interest in reading research that shows fish appear to be shrinking in warming waters. Warm waters…
August 24, 2017
Image of a genetically obese mouse (left) from Wikipedia. To deal with cold environments, mammals have several options. They could produce heat by increasing metabolism or shivering or they could conserve heat by constricting blood vessels in their skin or…
August 22, 2017
This is such a beautiful award-winning image of the complex vascular networks in a pigeon. The image was captured using? CT scan technology and a novel contrasting agent called BriteVu that allows visualization of even tiny capillaries. This image was captured by Scott Echols who is…
August 17, 2017
Image of an obese cat by Jami430 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons ? A new study conducted by the Banfield Pet Hospital (Vancouver, Washington) reports that as many as 1 in 3 dogs and cats living in the United States are overweight. The study was based on data collected by?…
August 4, 2017
Wow. This is a very interesting bit of history on how the CIA tried to use cats as spies. But as any cat owner knows, cats do not always do what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Source: YouTube
July 31, 2017
A new study shows that walking your dog is good for your health. Here is a YouTube video summarizing the findings of the study: Let's not forget that walking your dog is also very good for your dog. According to PetMD, some benefits include weight control, keeping your dog limber, controlling…
July 29, 2017
I came across this amazing video on YouTube showing a species of octopus found in Northern Australia that is adapted to walk on land:
July 29, 2017
Image via NOAA/Flickr Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii), aka "slime eels", are primitive fish that occupy burrows on the ocean floor. Like earthworms, they have 5 hearts. They have no true eyes, no jaws, nor do they have a stomach. They locate their meals through great senses of smell…
July 28, 2017
Image By Jackie - Flickr: Cliche, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24285298 Proteins are not normally found in the urine of healthy individuals as the filtering units of the kidney prevent the loss of large proteins…
July 21, 2017
Image by Keith Weller, USDA via Wikimedia Commons Researchers at the International?AIDS Vaccine Initiative at Scripps Research Institute?have discovered that cows can produce antibodies that?effectively?neutralize HIV. Thus far, developing an effective vaccine for HIV has been hampered by the…
July 19, 2017
Samples of fish species from the Poeciliidae family show the diversity in color, fin size and body shape. Kansas State University researchers studied 112 species of these live-bearing fishes and found that males and females evolve differently. Image courtesy of Kansas State University Dr.…
July 17, 2017
Image of elderly dog By Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons The mitral valve?is located between the left atrium and left?ventricle of the heart where it serves an?important role?in preventing backflow of blood into the left atrium as the ventricle contracts. Mitral valve prolapse, a condition…
July 11, 2017
? Wikimedia, Whatiguana Preeclampsia is?a serious complication that develops in about 5-8% of pregnant women.?It is characterized by elevated?blood pressure and is typically accompanied by excess protein in the urine (a sign of kidney problems). Symptoms often (but not always) return to normal…
July 10, 2017
Photo of an African Green Monkey by Sharp Photography, via Wikimedia Commons Humans are not the only primates that spontaneously develop hypertension. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, examined the development of…