My Picks from ScienceDaily

Does The Victim Affect Snake Venom Composition?:

A snake's intended prey might affect the type and evolution of toxins in their venom, research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology shows. In snakes, venom composition varies both between species and within a particular species. Land snakes feed on a range of animals and birds, so scientists think that these snakes need a diverse array of toxins in their venom. Sea snakes, on the other hand, tend to have a more restricted diet, feeding only on fish. The toxins in these snakes have now been shown to be less diverse than those in terrestrial snakes.

Tiny Animals Exposed To Outer Space:

"For the first time ever, animals are now being exposed to an unmitigated space environment, with both vacuum conditions and cosmic radiation," says the ecologist Ingemar Jönsson, a researcher at Kristianstad University in Sweden. One of the aims of sending the tiny tardigrades into space is to find out whether they can cope with the rugged conditions in space, which has previously been predicted but never tested.

Antarctic Plants And Animal Life Survived Ice Ages:

Springtails, mites, worms and plant life could help solve the mystery of Antarctica's glacial history according to new research published in the journal Science.

Fish Diet Linked To Evolution, Ten Million Year Old Chipped Teeth Show:

Chips from 10 million years ago have revealed new insights into fish diets and their influence on fish evolution, according to new research featured in this week's issue of the journal Science. The chips were found, along with scratches, on the teeth of fossil stickleback fish and reveal for the first time how changes in the way an animal feeds control its evolution over thousands of years.

Does Your Mood Take A Nosedive Each November?:

If you notice that your mood, energy level and motivation take a nosedive each November only to return to normal in April, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to Loyola University Health System doctors.

Hormone-driven Effects On Eating, Stress Mediated By Same Brain Region:

A hormone system linked to reducing food consumption appears to do so by increasing stress-related behaviors, according to a new study. Mediated by a hormone receptor protein known as the corticotropin-releasing factor type 2 (CRF2) receptor, the system has attracted recent interest for its role in regulating food intake, say Vaishali Bakshi and Ned Kalin, professors in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

Program Provides Blueprint For Recruiting Minorities To Science And Engineering:

The Model Institutions for Excellence Program (MIE) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has developed a body of work over the past 11 years demonstrating successful strategies for recruiting underrepresented minority students to science and engineering fields and supporting their successful completion of science degrees.

Babies Raised In Bilingual Homes Learn New Words Differently Than Infants Learning One Language:

Research on the learning process for acquiring two languages from birth found differences in how bilingual babies learned words compared to monolingual babies. The research suggests that bilingual babies follow a slightly different pattern when using detailed sound information to learn differences between words.


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It goes without saying that most predatory animals need to open their mouths when they want to stab or bite potential prey items. But, get this, there's a group of snakes that can erect their teeth and stab prey with a closed mouth. And that's not all that's interesting about these snakes. Yes,…
The history of venoms is a wonderful example of an evolutionary process. We're all familiar with the idea of venomous snakes, but the cool thing is that when we examine exactly what it is they're injecting into their prey, it's a collection of proteins that show a nested hierarchy of descent.…
tags:, evolution, squirrels, rattlesnakes, tail-flagging, behavior, biology A mother squirrel rapidly waves her tail to warn off a rattlesnake in a confrontation staged by researchers in May 1987. Adult squirrels are immune to rattlesnake venom, but their offspring are…
We've heard the arguments about the relative importance of mutations in cis regulatory regions vs. coding sequences in evolution before — it's the idea that major transitions in evolution were accomplished more by changes in the timing and pattern of gene expression than by significant changes in…

Antarctic Plants And Animal Life Survived Ice Ages

That's old news. They did it by moving to Atlantis and Mu. Seriously, that's a very cool (so to speak) story. Anything about life at the ends of the earth gets my attention.

Fascinating about bilingual babies. I know a family with 3 children. First child, a boy, learned his mother's American English first, as Mom hadn't learned her husband's language yet. #2, a girl, was totally bilingual from the start. #3, a boy, wasn't speaking at all. On expert advice, the family did a project where no one spoke English at all for a few weeks. Didn't take long before little Tobias was as bilingual as the others.