Life Science

How an embryo is like a meatball sub

I’ve only just noticed that I have a fondness for food metaphors when talking about development — gastrulation is a peculiar way to make a jelly sandwich, neurulation is like rolling up a burrito, and somite formation is a meatball sub. They sort of illustrate the arrangement of the tissues involved, but of course they…

Friday Cephalopod: the Blob

Divers discovered this gigantic transparent blob floating in the sea off the Turkish coast. What could it be?

Death by boa constrictor

New research from Dr. Scott Boback and colleagues at Dickinson College (Pennsylvania) shows that boa constrictors do not use suffocation as a primary means of killing their victims. Rather, by measuring blood pressure and heart activity of the prey, they were able to determine that the snakes restrict blood flow in their victims causing circulatory arrest and a…

The tl:dr… don’t sleep late.

Polar bear survival during summer

If you happen to be in the Arctic this summer polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be spotted spending their time on the sea ice or on the shore in areas where ice has melted. While it is difficult to study the physiology of bears living on the ice, it had been hypothesized that bears living on shore experience…


Friday Cephalopod: Emergence

Sailing Spiders

Research published July 3 in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology supports the idea that some species of spiders can catch the wind to “sail” across bodies of water, which they suggest might be why certain spiders seem to be all over the world. While some spiders were already know to catch the breeze to travel by air relatively…

Safe Chimps, Strategic Swine

As researchers continue to document the intelligence and emotional acuity of animals, beasts begin to look more like brethren, and food more like friend. On Pharyngula, PZ Myers shares a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that gives chimpanzees used in research the same endangered status as their wild cousins. According to Science, “organizations…

At least, not the pink ones.