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My picks from ScienceDaily


How Does A Dog Walk? Surprisingly, Many Of Us Don’t Really Know:

Despite the fact that most of us see our four-legged friends walking around every day, most of us-including many experts in natural history museums and illustrators for veterinary anatomy text books-apparently still don’t know how they do it. A new study published in the January 27th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, shows that anatomists, taxidermists, and toy designers get the walking gait of horses and other quadruped animals wrong about half the time. That’s despite the fact that their correct walking behavior was described and published more than 120 years ago.

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Horvath did note one major exception that he says proves the rule: Hollywood movies such as Jurassic Park and The Lord of the Rings generally do get the walking of dinosaurs, elephants, and other fantastic, four-legged creatures just right. That’s because they often rely behind the scenes on experts in biomechanics and animal locomotion.

Natural Brain Substance Blocks Weight Gain In Mice, Researchers Discover:

Mice with increased levels of a natural brain chemical don’t gain weight when fed a high-fat diet, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The chemical, orexin, works by increasing the body’s sensitivity to the “weight-loss hormone,” leptin, the researchers report.

Iron Fertilization To Capture Carbon Dioxide Dealt A Blow: Plankton Stores Much Less Carbon Dioxide Than Estimated:

A possible solution to global warming may be further away than ever, according to a new report published in the journal Nature. Scientists measuring how much of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is locked away in the deep ocean by plankton when it dies found that it was significantly less than previous estimates.

New Computational Technique Allows Comparison Of Whole Genomes As Easily As Whole Books:

Taking a hint from the text comparison methods used to detect plagiarism in books, college papers and computer programs, University of California, Berkeley, researchers have developed an improved method for comparing whole genome sequences.

Billion-year Revision Of Plant Evolution Timeline May Stem From Discovery Of Lignin In Seaweed:

Land plants’ ability to sprout upward through the air, unsupported except by their own woody tissues, has long been considered one of the characteristics separating them from aquatic plants, which rely on water to support them.

Previously Unidentified Bacteria May Cause Preterm Birth:

A new study suggests that that previously unidentified bacteria may play a key role in intra-amniotic inflammation and ultimately preterm births.

Adolescents With Unpopular Names More Prone To Committing Crime:

A new study in the journal Social Science Quarterly examined the relationship between first name popularity in adolescents and tendency to commit crime. Results show that, regardless of race, juveniles with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity.

Witness For The Prosecution? The Effect Of Confessions On Eyewitness Testimony:

What is it with false confession? It seems crazy on the face of it, to take the blame for a crime you didn’t commit. Yet experts have found that while some innocent confessors are mentally disturbed attention seekers, or taking the fall for someone else, most innocents who confess do so under stress, as an act of surrender, during a high stakes, high-pressure police interrogation.