A University of California, San Diego study has for the first time identified brain cells that influence whether birds of a feather will, or will not, flock together. The research demonstrates that vasotocin neurons in the medial extended amygdala — which are present in most animals, including humans — respond differently to social cues in birds that live in colonies compared to their more solitary cousins.
With their spindly legs, long necks and bright plumage, flamingos are a curiosity of nature. Now a new discovery by a team of Ohio University researchers reveals an anatomical oddity that helps flamingos eat: erectile tissue.
Researchers from the University of Florida explore wiping behaviours in a tree frog that waxes itself, and test whether these frogs become dormant to conserve energy during dehydration. Many amphibians have skin that offers little resistance to evaporative water loss. To compensate, these and some other arboreal frogs secrete lipids and then use an elaborate series of wiping motions to rub the waxy secretions over their entire bodies.
An hour from now, will you remember reading this? It all depends on proteins in your brain called NMDA receptors, which allow your neurons to communicate with each other. University of Pittsburgh researchers have discovered how different types of NMDA receptors perform varied functions. Their findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
It’s all about “the birds and the bees.” And now, “the silkworm moths and the fruit flies.” A chemical ecologist and a genetics researcher at the University of California, Davis, have joined forces to trick fruit flies into thinking that silkworm moths are potential mates. Groundbreaking research in the labs of chemical ecologist Walter Leal and genetics researcher Deborah Kimbrell shows that genetically engineered fruit flies responded to the silkworm moth scent of a female.
Older women on hormone therapy are more sensitive to negative events, confirming speculation that age-related estrogen loss affects the brain’s ability to process emotion, an Oregon Health & Science University study shows. Researchers found that hormone therapy appears to reverse the age-related loss of arousal to negative emotional events experienced by the elderly. It also points to specific changes in the brain’s arousal system, in the regions that process emotion, and intensification of negative emotions.