Brain & Behavior

A dog’s compass

Okay, here is something rather interesting that I came across today. Scientists have discovered that dogs will align their bodies with the Earth’s magnetic field before excretion. What is even more amazing is that the scientists actually observed over 5,000 pee breaks and over 1,800 defecations to come to this conclusion. Their findings suggest that…

A new documentary from BBC called “Spy in the Pod” has captured what they claim to be footage of dolphins using puffer fish to reportedly “get high”. According to a quote from the Daily Mail, “Zoologist and series producer Rob Pilley said that it was the first time dolphins had been filmed behaving this way.”…

What do elk and deer eat in the winter?

This was a very good question brought up by a reader of the prior post. As it turns out, deer and elk move between summer and winter ranges. The winter range is at a lower elevation where there are more resources such as shrubs and grasses. Since they eat similar foods, they often compete for…

Ever wonder what reindeer eat?

Unlike Santa’s reindeer living in the lap of luxury at the North Pole, wild reindeer that live in the barren tundra have to find their own food. Being too chilly for trees, the tundra is hospitable to only shrubs, grasses and lichen, which are abundant during the warmer seasons. However, during the winter when the…

I was so excited to see a story featuring grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. The article was about how Dr. Kevin Corbit at Amgen Inc. is studying grizzly bears in the Bear Center at Washington State University to learn more about obesity. The 12 animals living in the facility…

Believe it or not, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in collaboration with Coronado Biosciences are intentionally infecting people who have autism with whipworms from pigs (Trichuris suis), although generally considered non-pathogenic to humans. For some individuals, an elevated inflammatory state contributes to repetitive and irritable behaviors associated with autism. Researchers have observed that…

Rescuers have been successful in coaxing some of the stranded pilot whales to deeper waters in the Everglades National Park (Florida). However this success is still marred by tragedy as eleven animals are now confirmed dead. It is currently unclear why the whales beached themselves. Researchers are exploring many potential reasons including changing ocean currents…

Dr. Michael Stanhope from Cornell University has discovered that great white sharks actually share more proteins involved in metabolism and biochemistry in common with humans than zebrafish, a common fish model used in biomedical research. They made this discovery by sequencing the transcriptome of a heart isolated from a great white shark. I find it…

Science Haiku 3×3

More science-themed haikus. I seem to keep writing them because we tend to put out three “mini press releases” at a time (a relic of the days when they were printed on two sides of a fold-up page and mailed). So I could pick just one to blog about, or I could try to fit…