Life Lines

Archives for October, 2011

Just in time for Halloween: Vampires

What could be more spooky than the idea of something sucking your blood while you are sleeping? Movies, TV shows and books about vampires abound these days. So what do some bats have in common with Dracula? The need to survive on blood alone. Vampire bats feed mainly off of livestock but have increasingly been…

Having a whale of a time!

This kayaker was having fun tracking humpback whales off the coast of California when the whales breached the water right next to him. What an amazing photo and experience! Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On the Trail of Physiology: Tennessee

The Tennessee Physiological Society held their annual meeting October 13-14 at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, Tennessee. The meeting opened with a seminar by Dr. David L. Williams from the Department of Surgery at Quillen College of Medicine, ETSU. He spoke about how the macrophage scavenger receptor A, previously thought of as…

Snail Surfing

If you look up snail surfing on YouTube, you come up with some fun videos of snails riding leaves: Or floating in pairs: But there are no videos showing snails surfing by making rafts out of bubbles…at least that I could find. The violet snail (Janthina exigua), creates these rafts not only for floating, but…

Coloring Ancient Animals

Image Credit: The Scientist; R. Hartley, Univ of Manchester; T. Larson, Black Hills Inst.; G. Stewart; SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory I just read the neatest article in Science Magazine on how a team led by researchers from the University of Manchester has re-created the pigmentation of fossilized birds like the artist’s rendition of the extinct…

I am packing my bags for the joint meeting of the Iowa and Nebraska Physiological Societies. The meeting will take place October 21-22 at Des Moines University at the Olsen Medical Education Center. Can’t wait!

Oldest Tiger Skull Unearthed

I was just reading the National Geographic’s Daily News and came across this article about the unearthing of a 2.5-million-year-old skull from a new species (Panthera zdanskyi) of tiger. What was interesting is that the skull of modern tigers is really not that different showing that the anatomy of tiger skulls have been ideal for…

Photograph by Zach Holmes, Alamy At least, that is the tactic that seems to work best for male golden orb-weaver spiders (Nephila pilipes). Researchers have now shown that these spiders will actually rub their partner’s back to help calm her down and avoid being eaten after mating. Who doesn’t like a good massage? You can…

The Ultimate Halloween Costume

How would you like to have a Halloween costume that changed depending on your surroundings? Oh, to be a cephalopod. In our continuing talks about just how cool cephalopods are (including the cuttlefish, octopus, and squid), Remo sent us a link to this amazing video from Science Friday on the ability of the octopus to…

The next stop on our trail this Fall is the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University where the Tennessee Physiological Society will be holding their annual meeting tomorrow and Friday. You can check out the meeting agenda here. Can’t wait!