Life Science

How doe a mammal know what a smell is, and more importantly, how does a mammal learn new smells? Recent research suggests that different kinds of neurons reorganize in novel ways in response to olfactory signals to produce an olfactory memory. Below is a video made by the research team that explains this. If that…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Vortices!

Oooh, beautiful. Starfish larvae are covered with beating cilia that they use to swim, and also to swirl bacteria towards their mouth…and in this video that visualizes the motion generated by the cilia, you can see that they do both at the same time.

Most news on the dangers of antibiotic-resistant infections focus on adults. But children are very much at risk too. In fact, a recent study found that U.S. children have experienced a 700 percent surge in infections caused by particular bacteria that’s both resistant to multiple antibiotics and responsible for growing numbers of serious bacterial infections in kids.

Friday Cephalopod: Dancing pinkly

If you need more cephalopods, from the same source:

Researchers studying komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) at George Mason University discovered 48 previously unknown peptides in their blood that might have antimicrobial properties. Their findings were published in the Journal of Proteome Research. For the largest lizard, these peptides may help prevent the animals from getting infections from their own saliva, which is host to at least 57 species…

Growing meaty fish

Similar to humans, muscle growth in fish is increased with exercise. Unlike humans, however, teleost fish are able to continue growing in length as well as weight throughout their lives. This type of meat, I mean muscle, growth happens in two ways: 1) muscle cells get bigger and 2) new muscle cells form. Researchers at the University of Barcelona in…

Apparently, flamboyant cuttlefish are born looking snazzy.

Cannibalism by Bill Schutt

Biologist and author Bill Schutt has a new book out: Cannibalism: A perfectly natural history. He and I talked about cannibalism on Ikonokast: Click here to check it out! It is was a fun interview, and Bill’s book is excellent. See also: You Come From Cannibals Among Cannibals Cannibal, Native, Indigenous On Cannibalism and Jameson…

Fin whales have coiled nerves

Fin whales have big mouths, really big mouths. When your meals consist of tiny krill, it is understandable why you would evolve the ability to stretch your mouth super-wide. With each meal comes a lot of water, which expands a pouch in the bottom of their mouths. As the pouch expands, all of the tissues in the pouch expand…

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 that, how could I not read it? In this article Dr. Eugene D. Robin discussed how larger and more complex brains are associated with greater intelligence, which…