Dr. Dolittle

Life under Arctic ice

Ever wonder what lies beneath the polar ice? Turns out several researchers did as well. This past July a team of scientists led an expedition designed to image life under sea ice. The video below was captured with the Nereid Under Ice (NUI) vehicle and shows brown algae living on the bottom of sea ice…

Will bees save us from baldness?

  Propolis is a resin-like compound honeybees collect to coat their hives. New research suggests that this compound may increase hair growth as observed in studies of mice. Although the researchers did not test propolis on balding mice, they did find faster hair growth in mice that had been shaved or waxed, which is somewhat…

New research from Vanderbilt University shows that hummingbirds and insects have a lot in common…when it comes to flying at least. The researchers placed nontoxic paint on the wing of a ruby-throated hummingbird at 9 different spots then videotaped the animal flying at 1,000 frames per second with 4 cameras simultaneously. Using 3D simulations of…

The physics of dogs drinking water

I have to be honest. I have always wondered whether my dog actually got any water in his mouth. It always seemed to me that the majority of water ends up on my floor. High speed video collected and analyzed by a team of researchers from Virginia Tech (Sean Gart, Jake Socha and Sunghwan Jung)…

Granted this is not comparative physiology, I thought this study was really interesting. Research has shown that exposure of developing embryos to caffeine in utero can alter the expression of genes in the heart leading to changes in how the heart develops and functions in adult animals. New research from the University of Florida published in…

Creating Healthier Turkeys

Did you know that the typical Thanksgiving day broad-breasted white turkey develops in as little as 136 days (on average)? This remarkably quick development is a result of years of selective breeding. The average turkey in 1929 was only about 13 pounds, whereas modern turkeys average around 30 pounds with much of the weight centered in…

Foods Fido should avoid on Thanksgiving

I came across this interesting literature on what foods you should avoid feeding a dog from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control:

Gotta love glow “worms”!

Jeff Cremer, a nature photographer, discovered mysterious tiny glow worms (~0.5 inches long) in Peru near the Tambopata Research Center a couple of years ago. Scientists still have not identified the species of these glow “worms”, but suspect they are actually click beetle larvae. Entomologists Aaron Pomerantz, Mike Bentley, and Geoff Gallice from the University of…

I recently received the following question from a reader based on a prior blog entry on how a medication used to treat epilepsy also helps reverse memory loss with Alzheimer’s disease. You can see the original blog here Question: “I find it a little confusing as to how it is possible that this medication can improve…

New treatment for osteoporosis?

  A recent review published by Dr. Graziana Colaianni (University of Bari, Italy) and colleagues in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, has summarized recent research on the role of the hormone oxytocin in the regulation of bone mass. Bone remodeling and rebuilding are constantly occurring in our bodies. Osteoporosis…