Brain & Behavior

An river otter was captured on camera taking on an juvenile alligator…and winning. The battle took place at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida in 2011. More images can be seen on their Facebook page where the images were recently posted, impressive! According to National Geographic, the normal diet of a river otter consists of…

The evolutionary capacitor

Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) helps keep proteins in the body folded properly and is thought to compensate for variations that occur in proteins over time. In a study published in Science magazine, Dr. Nicolas Rohner and colleagues showed that stress can affect the ability for HSP90 to do its job thereby unmasking these alternative…

Frog songs attract bats

Check out this neat video highlighting how frog-eating bats are using frog mating calls to know where to pick up dinner:

I just read a really neat study from researchers at Texas A&M University. While admittedly this is not comparative physiology, it was just too interesting not to share. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos and colleagues found that administering peach extract to mice inhibited the metastasis (i.e. spread)…

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” -Anais Nin You know the expression that you should believe half of what you see and none…

Epilepsy in sea lions

According to a press release from Stanford University, California sea lions develop epilepsy from exposure to a toxin produced by algae called domoic acid. The animals develop seizures which can result in memory loss, tremors, convulsions and even death. The hippocampal region in the brain of the affected sea lions shows similar damage as humans…

Snails to the rescue!

Here I thought snails were just cute little creatures that liked to dine in my vegetable garden. You can imagine my surprise to learn there are also carnivorous snails….with venom. New research shows that conotoxin, isolated from cone snail venom, can numb pain. Conotoxin is also reportedly 100 times more potent than morphine at treating…

Experts, “plebs” and hope.

A very good video on the gulf that exists between the climate science experts and the general population in terms of awareness and alarm regarding anthropogenic climate change: (from a comment on a P3 thread) The essence of this impending calamity is, more than anything else, a story of betrayal: betrayal of a naively trusting…

Only mammals express RAGE

RAGE stands for “receptor for advanced glycation end-products”, also known as “AGER”, and new research shows that it first appeared in mammals (Sessa et al., 2014). Despite the name, the receptor also binds other signaling molecules such as HMGB1, S100 proteins, beta-amyloid, phosphatidylserine, among others (Xie et al., 2013). RAGE is reportedly involved in diabetes,…

Research published last month in PNAS provides evidence that African elephants (Loxodonta africana) can differentiate human voices. This is a very important skill to an animal that is often threatened by humans. Prior research has shown that elephants could tell the difference between African ethnic groups using sight and scent. The study was conducted by…