Brain & Behavior

Communication as Art and Science

I alluded to this on Twitter, and meant to leave that be, but the other thing I was going to blog today didn’t come together, and I probably shouldn’t leave a cryptic tweet as my only comment. So… One of the links getting passed around a lot in my social-media circles is this Tumblr post…

New discovery about dog eyes

I came across this really interesting press release from the University of Pennsylvania that I just had to share. Despite having a close relationship with dogs for thousands of years, we are still making new discoveries about our canine friends. Drs. William Beltran (School of Veterinary Medicine), Artur Cideciyan (Perelman School of Medicine), and colleagues…

A shark’s perspective

Dr. Carl Meyer (University of Hawaii) and Dr. Katsufumi Sato (University of Tokyo) have teamed up to gather data about shark behavior in a rather interesting way. They flipped the animals upside down, which makes them relax, and strapped on cameras and instruments that will facilitate the creation of 3D models of shark movements. Using…

Researchers at Duke University are interested in understanding the metamorphosis of fruit flies from larvae to adult stage in an effort to understand how the insects grow new nerve endings as they undergo this transition. What is interesting is that the flies lose neurons they will not need as an adult and will grow new…

I will be giving a talk in Saint Paul, at the Best Western Kelly Inn, on Evolutionary Psychology. The original plan was to get two people to debate the topic, but it was hard to find two people in town to do that. One idea was to get PZ Myers over here, and then he…

Congratulations to Nicolle Domnik, this year’s winner of the new Dr. Dolittle Travel Award to present her research at the annual Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, CA in April. Nicolle is currently a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada. The award criteria included the submission…

A paper published in Current Biology describes research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the sound processing regions of brains in humans and dogs (border collies and golden retrievers). The subjects listened to almost 300 sounds (vocalizations from dogs and humans as well as non-vocal sounds) or no sound as a control. They…

GMO retroviruses vs Parkinsons

Long-term safety and tolerability of ProSavin, a lentiviral vector-based gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease: a dose escalation, open-label, phase 1/2 trial 1. Start with HIV-1s ‘country cousin‘, Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV). EIAV is a lentivirus, like HIV, so it is a good gene therapy virus. Lentiviruses are a bit more trustworthy than the gamma retroviruses…

The bonobo beat

Researchers have observed that bonobos are innately able to match a beat that was created by the research team. The bonobos demonstrated their musical skills using a special drum that was created to withstand 500 pounds of pressure, chewing, etc. The favored tempo matched the cadence of human speech, about 280 beats per minute. The…

Tawny (or Raspberry) crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) are an invasive ant species from South America that have been invading the United States. For some reason, the ants are attracted to electronics and have been responsible for the destruction of numerous electronic devices. A new study shows that tawny crazy ants rub formic acid over their…