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You may recall the previous post on the seminar that I attended on Comparative Physiology of Brown Adipose Tissue at the Experimental Biology meeting last week. Here are some of the comparative physiology abstracts that were presented at the meeting on this topic: -Dr. Michael Symonds and colleagues from the The University of Nottingham, United…

Galloping Horses

Who doesn’t love horses? I was just reading a fascinating archived press release from The American Physiological Society about these icons of all western movies. Researchers John Hermanson, Norm Ducharme and Jonathan Cheetham (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine), John Bertram (University of Calgary, College of Medicine), and Michael Butcher (Youngstown State University, Department of…

Courtesy of Hannah CareyProgram Director, Physiological and Structural Systems Punxsutawney Phil is best known for his ability to “forecast” whether there will be six more weeks of winter each year. Few people are aware, however, that groundhogs like Phil provide science with even more important information throughout the year. That’s because groundhogs are hibernators. Many…

Live fast, die young

One theory of aging holds that accumulation of reactive oxygen species from aerobic metabolism damages nucleotides, proteins and lipids. Therefore, animals with a higher metabolism (poor mice) would be expected to produce more reactive oxygen species and age at a faster rate than animals with a slower metabolism (go sloths!). In a healthy individual, antioxidants…

I just watched a re-run of the movie March of the Penguins…so cute! The movie documents how emperor penguins survive their long winter fast while incubating eggs. In fact, researchers have shown that penguins spend about half their time huddling with other penguins. This allows them to lower their metabolic rate by as much as…

Marmots Benefit from Climate Change?

In the spirit of discussing the effects of climate change, I thought it only appropriate to mention the findings of a recent article by Ozgul et al., published in Nature. The findings of this particular study point to global warming offering a distinct advantage for yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventis) whose populations have been increasing over…

Bird Breath

Birds are way cool. In this podcast from The American Physiological Society, Dr. John West at the University of California in San Diego discusses the unique adaptations of the avian respiratory system. In mammals, the movement of air in and out of the lungs in a bidirectional fashion is called ventilation. This air fills the…

Feathers are Not Just for Flying

In a recent issue of Science magazine, researchers Li et al., were able to determine the plumage color of an extinct non-avian theropod dinosaur. This was possible due to the presence of melanin-containing melanosomes, which were preserved in the fossilized feathers. The fossilized remains were from a Jurassic troodontid, Anchiornis huxleyi, an ancestor of Archaeopteryx…

Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell is a Stanford University professor whose research focuses on how elephant vocalizations travel through the ground for great distances, and how other elephants can understand them, just as they understand acoustic sound, which travels through the air. O’Connell-Rodwell is the author of The Elephant’s Secret Sense. You can see videos of some of…

I love gators!

The oil spill in the gulf has me thinking about gators. Have you ever been to a restaurant in New Orleans and enjoyed the tasty alligator selections on the menu? If not, you are missing out. Although I have to admit, they really do taste like chicken. Anyway, you probably know that alligators are cold-blooded…