Life Science

Why orcas go through menopause

Orcas are one of only three species of mammals that go through menopause, including humans of course. A new study published in Current Biology may have discovered why this happens in killer whales. Examination of 43 years worth of data collected by the Center for Whale Research and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, revealed a remarkable finding…

Sometimes, you just don’t want to know about the lifestyles of the tentacled. The vampire squid lurks in the eternal midnight of the deep sea and a cloak-like web stretches between its eight arms. When threatened, it turns inside out, exposing rows of finger-like projections, called cirri. Vampire squid eat mostly “marine snow”—a mixture of…

It’s time for the annual blog about the annual Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) database issue. This is the 24th database issue for NAR and the seventh blog for @finchtalk. Like most years I have no idea what I’m going to write about until I start reading the new issue. Something always inspires me. This year’s…

A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos This is a concept that has always fascinated me, ever since reading some stuff about the Periodic Table of Elements. Check it out: Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as…

The obese marathon mouse

As the name implies, Dummerstorf marathon mice are bred to run. If allowed to be sedentary, these animals can build up quite a bit of fat within their peripheral tissues even if they do not overeat. If given an exercise wheel, however, they burn fat very quickly. In a new study published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology – B,…

The video spares you the worst of it: they also insist on beginning every meal with a round of poetry.

One of these would be nice.

Top 10 new species of 2016

Drumroll please….. Out of roughly 18,000 new species discovered this past year, the International Institute for Species Exploration at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry has narrowed down the top 10 to the following: I am rather partial to tortoises myself. What were your favorites?

Pigeons can identify words

A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides evidence that pigeons can learn to recognize words. That is after the birds were trained over a period of 8 months. According to the study authors “The pigeons’ performance is actually more comparable to that of literate humans than baboons’ performance.”…