Dr. Dolittle

Shivering is one mechanism by which heat is produced in the body. Heat production is called thermogenesis. Another mechanism is through nonshivering thermogenesis regulated by brown fat (i.e. adipose). This second type of heating mechanism kicks in when we need extra heat production such as a postnatal infant, someone developing a fever, an animal arousing…

The original tree hugger

New research sheds light why koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) spend so much time hugging trees. As shown in the infrared image above, the trees stay cool on hot days. Since koalas do not sweat, hugging trees is another method to keep their cool in addition to panting and licking their fur. The research also shows that the…

Big-Eared Bat Rediscovered

The New Guinea big-eared bat (Pharotis imogene; specimen pictured above) was thought to be extinct for the past 120 years. The bat is now considered critically endangered or possibly extinct as this specimen is the only known member of the genus. Since very little is known of this endangered bat, researchers who identified this specimen suggest…

How zebrafish sense calcium

Calcium is very important for the normal development, growth and survival of most vertebrates. Therefore, regulation of calcium intake and disposal is well-controlled. Mammals obtain most of their calcium from the diet, whereas fish obtain calcium by absorbing it from the external environment. For adults, this occurs in the gills and for larvae it is…

Crickets are the first insect to now be farmed for human consumption in the United States. I’ll admit the thought of snacking on cricket flour-based chips is not exactly appetizing. But the process of farming insects over more traditional livestock seems to be less wasteful. Insect farming is a more efficient way of producing dietary protein as…

Baby Macaque

While we are on the topic of cute animal stories, here is a family portrait with a newborn baby macaque at the Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire, United Kingdom.  

The BLT is not just a sandwich

Check out the unique bond between this bear, lion and tiger (i.e. BLT) at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Ga: Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Battling ion loss

Freshwater fish are in a constant battle with their environment when it comes to maintaining their electrolyte balance as they are continuously losing ions to the surrounding water. Therefore, they have to actively absorb ions such as sodium, calcium and chloride from the water (see figure below). Prior research has shown that acidic environments cause…

Heroic cats

Just in case you have not seen this viral YouTube video of the family cat saving a boy from a vicious dog attack, I have embedded it below. I think this kitty deserves a nice fresh fish for dinner…every day. An article was posted today in NBCNews featuring the heroics of other house cats. Here…

Rare fatty antifreeze

I have heard of some animals using sugars as antifreeze (check out the prior blog on wood frogs that freeze and survive!), but never lipids. Researchers have discovered that larva of the Goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis) shown above survive nearly freezing solid as well, which they hypothesize may be accomplished by accumulating acetylated triacylglycerol,…