Archives for January, 2013

  You may recall a prior blog entry about a new experimental treatment for bone cancer in dogs. Researchers are increasingly studying canine cancer and discovering that it is caused by some of the same genetic mutations that cause cancer in humans.   Shown in the image above is Jasper, a 7-year old dog that has lymphoma,…

The domestication of dogs

New genetic analyses supports the argument that the domestication of man’s best friend coincided with the advent of argiculture and human settlements. Researchers Erik Axelsson (Uppsala University, Sweden) and colleagues present evidence suggesting that wolves became domesticated as they increasingly scavenged in the human settlements.  The researchers sequenced DNA from 12 wolves and 60 dogs to find areas that…

Feather pattern indicates health

A new study shows that the feather pattern on the chests of some birds (i.e. the bib) may be an outward sign of how healthy the bird is. The pattern the study refers to is called a fractal dimension, which is used to describe the complexity of the pattern (see image above). Researchers, Pérez-Rodríguez et…

Top 10 new species of 2012

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University that has just come out with the top 10 new species of 2012! This is the 5th year they have come out with such a list. If you would like to nominate your favorite new species discovered in 2013, click here. Here are my favorites…

Okay, this may not have anything to do with animal physiology…but then again maybe it does… Russian scientists have just retrieved a core sample of frozen ice from the subsurface Lake Vostok in Antarctica that has been isolated from the outside world for at least 100,000 if not millions of years. The lake was protected…

Ancient bird had specialized teeth!

Researchers have unearthed a fossil of a robin-sized bird (Sulcavis geeorum) from the Cretaceous Period in China that had teeth! This species belonged to a class of birds with teeth (Enantiornithines) that were plentiful in the age of the dinosaurs. However, the teeth of this well-preserved specimen were different. The teeth were sharp and had…

Spider creates sculptures

Check out this “sculpure” of a spider discovered by Biologist Phil Torres, created by what may be a new species of Cyclosa found in the Peruvian Amazon. This is not just a pattern weaved by the spider into the web, but instead it is created from debris in the forest (dead insects, leaves, etc.). It…

Selective attention in dragonflies

Scientist Steven Wiederman from the University of Aukland (shown in image below) has recently published his work suggesting that dragonflies have the ability to focus on a target while blocking out other useless visual information. This is known as selective attention and his work is the first to demonstrate this ability in neurons from an…