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Azteca ant colonies move the same way leopards' spots form

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-12-azteca-ant-colonies-leopards.html

#science
#biology
 
Azteca ant colonies move the same way leopards' spots form

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-12-azteca-ant-colonies-leopards.html

#science
#biology
 

The Octopus: An Alien Among Us | Literary Hub


#science #biology

Octopuses are the superstars of the invertebrates because of their astonishing intelligence. They’re considered mollusks, like clams or snails. Mollusks probably first appeared about 550 MYA and remained relatively simple, at least in the organization of their nervous systems, for hundreds of millions of years. One branch, the cephalopods, eventually evolved a complex brain and sophisticated behavior and may have reached something close to the modern form of an octopus around 300 MYA.

Octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish are true aliens with respect to us. No other intelligent animal is as far from us on the tree of life. They show us that big-brained smartness is not a one-off event, because it evolved independently at least twice—first among the vertebrates and then again among the invertebrates.
The Octopus: An Alien Among Us
 

The Octopus: An Alien Among Us | Literary Hub


#science #biology

Octopuses are the superstars of the invertebrates because of their astonishing intelligence. They’re considered mollusks, like clams or snails. Mollusks probably first appeared about 550 MYA and remained relatively simple, at least in the organization of their nervous systems, for hundreds of millions of years. One branch, the cephalopods, eventually evolved a complex brain and sophisticated behavior and may have reached something close to the modern form of an octopus around 300 MYA.

Octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish are true aliens with respect to us. No other intelligent animal is as far from us on the tree of life. They show us that big-brained smartness is not a one-off event, because it evolved independently at least twice—first among the vertebrates and then again among the invertebrates.
The Octopus: An Alien Among Us
 
The amazing power of gut bacteria. Here's an article about one that can metabolize sugars from food into alcohol.
A man in China who, after eating high-carbohydrate or sugary meals, became so intoxicated that he blacked out, has led researchers to discover strains of bacteria in the human gut that could be an important driver of the world’s most common liver disease.
[...]
Doctors previously had diagnosed the man’s intoxication problem as autobrewery syndrome, a rarely reported condition in which people become drunk from starchy or sugary foods. It is thought to be caused by gut fermentation, aided by an abundance of yeast. But antifungal treatment had no effect on the man. Liver biopsies showed he had nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the severe form of NAFLD. He was moved to the intensive care unit and closely observed. Doctors noted that after he ate a meal high in sugar, his blood alcohol level rose to as high as 400 milligrams per deciliter. “That’s equivalent to 15 shots of 40% [80-proof] whisky,” Yuan says.

Because some other microbes can metabolize sugars into alcohol, Yuan and colleagues analyzed 14 of the man’s stool samples taken at different times for species-specific bacterial DNA fragments. They found that when he was most intoxicated, 18.8% of the bacteria in a sample were K. pneumoniae, a 900-fold increase over normal. When they put these bacteria in a medium of yeast and sugar, they could isolate strains of the bacterium that produced high, medium, or low levels of alcohol.
[...]
Yuan and colleagues report that the initial patient they studied recovered from his bacteria-driven autobrewery syndrome after he began to take antibiotics and changed his diet. His NASH has abated, too. Her team is now planning to study the gut microbes of a large group of people, including children, over time. “We want to investigate why some people have high-alcohol-producing strains of K. pneumoniae in their gut while others don’t,” she says.

Diehl cautions that the new study speaks only to a subset of NAFLD patients. But she predicts “this will work will attract a lot of attention.”
#Science #Biology #Bacteria #Microbiomes
 
The amazing power of gut bacteria. Here's an article about one that can metabolize sugars from food into alcohol.
A man in China who, after eating high-carbohydrate or sugary meals, became so intoxicated that he blacked out, has led researchers to discover strains of bacteria in the human gut that could be an important driver of the world’s most common liver disease.
[...]
Doctors previously had diagnosed the man’s intoxication problem as autobrewery syndrome, a rarely reported condition in which people become drunk from starchy or sugary foods. It is thought to be caused by gut fermentation, aided by an abundance of yeast. But antifungal treatment had no effect on the man. Liver biopsies showed he had nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the severe form of NAFLD. He was moved to the intensive care unit and closely observed. Doctors noted that after he ate a meal high in sugar, his blood alcohol level rose to as high as 400 milligrams per deciliter. “That’s equivalent to 15 shots of 40% [80-proof] whisky,” Yuan says.

Because some other microbes can metabolize sugars into alcohol, Yuan and colleagues analyzed 14 of the man’s stool samples taken at different times for species-specific bacterial DNA fragments. They found that when he was most intoxicated, 18.8% of the bacteria in a sample were K. pneumoniae, a 900-fold increase over normal. When they put these bacteria in a medium of yeast and sugar, they could isolate strains of the bacterium that produced high, medium, or low levels of alcohol.
[...]
Yuan and colleagues report that the initial patient they studied recovered from his bacteria-driven autobrewery syndrome after he began to take antibiotics and changed his diet. His NASH has abated, too. Her team is now planning to study the gut microbes of a large group of people, including children, over time. “We want to investigate why some people have high-alcohol-producing strains of K. pneumoniae in their gut while others don’t,” she says.

Diehl cautions that the new study speaks only to a subset of NAFLD patients. But she predicts “this will work will attract a lot of attention.”
#Science #Biology #Bacteria #Microbiomes
 
The amazing power of gut bacteria. Here's an article about one that can metabolize sugars from food into alcohol.
A man in China who, after eating high-carbohydrate or sugary meals, became so intoxicated that he blacked out, has led researchers to discover strains of bacteria in the human gut that could be an important driver of the world’s most common liver disease.
[...]
Doctors previously had diagnosed the man’s intoxication problem as autobrewery syndrome, a rarely reported condition in which people become drunk from starchy or sugary foods. It is thought to be caused by gut fermentation, aided by an abundance of yeast. But antifungal treatment had no effect on the man. Liver biopsies showed he had nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the severe form of NAFLD. He was moved to the intensive care unit and closely observed. Doctors noted that after he ate a meal high in sugar, his blood alcohol level rose to as high as 400 milligrams per deciliter. “That’s equivalent to 15 shots of 40% [80-proof] whisky,” Yuan says.

Because some other microbes can metabolize sugars into alcohol, Yuan and colleagues analyzed 14 of the man’s stool samples taken at different times for species-specific bacterial DNA fragments. They found that when he was most intoxicated, 18.8% of the bacteria in a sample were K. pneumoniae, a 900-fold increase over normal. When they put these bacteria in a medium of yeast and sugar, they could isolate strains of the bacterium that produced high, medium, or low levels of alcohol.
[...]
Yuan and colleagues report that the initial patient they studied recovered from his bacteria-driven autobrewery syndrome after he began to take antibiotics and changed his diet. His NASH has abated, too. Her team is now planning to study the gut microbes of a large group of people, including children, over time. “We want to investigate why some people have high-alcohol-producing strains of K. pneumoniae in their gut while others don’t,” she says.

Diehl cautions that the new study speaks only to a subset of NAFLD patients. But she predicts “this will work will attract a lot of attention.”
#Science #Biology #Bacteria #Microbiomes
 
#biology #horses #hair #horsestyleHair
These horses are having an excellent hair day
Photographer Wiebke Haas celebrates equine beauty with her photo series 'Horsestyle.'
 
#biology #horses #hair #horsestyleHair
These horses are having an excellent hair day
Photographer Wiebke Haas celebrates equine beauty with her photo series 'Horsestyle.'
 
Hard to believe the kind of rubbish people believe about pangolin scales. Latest lie is that pangolin scales "contain tramadol, an opiate". Really? Pangolin scales are just keratin, like your own nails and hair.
[F]our of the lab’s scientists dedicated themselves to testing a relatively new claim about pangolin scales—that they contain tramadol, an opiate used for pain relief that, like all opiates, has the potential for abuse.

Wildlife forensic scientist Rachel Jacobs and her colleagues examined the chemical signatures of clippings of scales from more than 100 pangolins and found no traces of tramadol. They published the findings in June in the journal Conservation Science and Practice.

“There’s so much misinformation surrounding this whole thing,” Jacobs says.
[...]
Pangolin scales are made of nothing more than keratin, a protein that makes up fingernails, hair, horns, claws, and hooves. It has no scientifically proven medicinal value. Jacobs was doing related research when she first heard the rumors about pangolin scales being smuggled into the U.S. for tramadol. “It surprised us. We thought it was a bit bizarre,” she says. “We hadn’t heard of it before.”
#Biology #Nature #Mammals #Pangolins
 
Hard to believe the kind of rubbish people believe about pangolin scales. Latest lie is that pangolin scales "contain tramadol, an opiate". Really? Pangolin scales are just keratin, like your own nails and hair.
[F]our of the lab’s scientists dedicated themselves to testing a relatively new claim about pangolin scales—that they contain tramadol, an opiate used for pain relief that, like all opiates, has the potential for abuse.

Wildlife forensic scientist Rachel Jacobs and her colleagues examined the chemical signatures of clippings of scales from more than 100 pangolins and found no traces of tramadol. They published the findings in June in the journal Conservation Science and Practice.

“There’s so much misinformation surrounding this whole thing,” Jacobs says.
[...]
Pangolin scales are made of nothing more than keratin, a protein that makes up fingernails, hair, horns, claws, and hooves. It has no scientifically proven medicinal value. Jacobs was doing related research when she first heard the rumors about pangolin scales being smuggled into the U.S. for tramadol. “It surprised us. We thought it was a bit bizarre,” she says. “We hadn’t heard of it before.”
#Biology #Nature #Mammals #Pangolins
 

"Darwin is dead, and we have killed him!"

Mathematical challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, with #DavidBerlinski, #StephenMeyer, and #DavidGelernter





Based on new #evidence and #knowledge that functioning #proteins are extremely rare, should #Darwin’s theory of evolution be dismissed, dissected, developed or replaced with a theory of intelligent design?

Has #Darwinism really failed? #PeterRobinson discusses it with David #Berlinski, David #Gelernter, and Stephen #Meyer, who have raised #doubts about Darwin’s #theory in their two books and essay, respectively #TheDeniableDarwin, #DarwinsDoubt, and “Giving Up Darwin” (published in the Claremont Review of Books).

#Robinson asks them to convince him that the term “species” has not been defined by the authors to Darwin’s disadvantage. Gelernter replies to this and explains, as he expressed in his essay, that he sees Darwin’s theory as #beautiful (which made it difficult for him to give it up): “Beauty is often a telltale sign of #truth. Beauty is our guide to the intellectual #universe—walking beside us through the uncharted wilderness, pointing us in the right direction, keeping us on track—most of the time.” Gelernter notes that there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an #organism #adapts to local circumstances: changes to fur density or wing style or beak shape. Yet there are many reasons to doubt whether Darwin can answer the hard questions and explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of #existing #species but the #emergence of new ones. Meyer explains Darwinism as a comprehensive #synthesis, which gained #popularity for its #appeal. Meyer also mentions that one cannot disregard that Darwin’s book was based on the facts present in the 19th century.

Robinson then asks the panel whether Darwin’s theory of gradual evolution is contradicted by the explosion of fossil records in the #Cambrian period, when there was a sudden occurrence of many species over the span of approximately seventy million years (Meyer’s noted that the date range for the Cambrian period is actually narrowing). Meyer replies that even #population #genetics, the mathematical branch of Darwinian theory, has not been able to support the explosion of fossil records during the Cambrian period, biologically or geologically.

Robinson than asks about Darwin’s main problem, #molecular #biology, to which Meyer explains, comparing it to digital world, that building a new biological function is similar to building a new #code, which Darwin could not understand in his era. Berlinski does not second this and states that the cell represents very complex machinery, with complexities increasing over time, which is difficult to explain by a theory. Gelernter throws light on this by giving an example of a necklace on which the positioning of different beads can lead to different #permutations and #combinations; it is really tough to choose the best possible combination, more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. He seconds Meyer’s statement that it was impossible for Darwin to understand that in his era, since the math is…

#science #biology #mathematics #maths #bio #research #evidence #empiricism
 

"Darwin is dead, and we have killed him!"

Mathematical challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, with #DavidBerlinski, #StephenMeyer, and #DavidGelernter





Based on new #evidence and #knowledge that functioning #proteins are extremely rare, should #Darwin’s theory of evolution be dismissed, dissected, developed or replaced with a theory of intelligent design?

Has #Darwinism really failed? #PeterRobinson discusses it with David #Berlinski, David #Gelernter, and Stephen #Meyer, who have raised #doubts about Darwin’s #theory in their two books and essay, respectively #TheDeniableDarwin, #DarwinsDoubt, and “Giving Up Darwin” (published in the Claremont Review of Books).

#Robinson asks them to convince him that the term “species” has not been defined by the authors to Darwin’s disadvantage. Gelernter replies to this and explains, as he expressed in his essay, that he sees Darwin’s theory as #beautiful (which made it difficult for him to give it up): “Beauty is often a telltale sign of #truth. Beauty is our guide to the intellectual #universe—walking beside us through the uncharted wilderness, pointing us in the right direction, keeping us on track—most of the time.” Gelernter notes that there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an #organism #adapts to local circumstances: changes to fur density or wing style or beak shape. Yet there are many reasons to doubt whether Darwin can answer the hard questions and explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of #existing #species but the #emergence of new ones. Meyer explains Darwinism as a comprehensive #synthesis, which gained #popularity for its #appeal. Meyer also mentions that one cannot disregard that Darwin’s book was based on the facts present in the 19th century.

Robinson then asks the panel whether Darwin’s theory of gradual evolution is contradicted by the explosion of fossil records in the #Cambrian period, when there was a sudden occurrence of many species over the span of approximately seventy million years (Meyer’s noted that the date range for the Cambrian period is actually narrowing). Meyer replies that even #population #genetics, the mathematical branch of Darwinian theory, has not been able to support the explosion of fossil records during the Cambrian period, biologically or geologically.

Robinson than asks about Darwin’s main problem, #molecular #biology, to which Meyer explains, comparing it to digital world, that building a new biological function is similar to building a new #code, which Darwin could not understand in his era. Berlinski does not second this and states that the cell represents very complex machinery, with complexities increasing over time, which is difficult to explain by a theory. Gelernter throws light on this by giving an example of a necklace on which the positioning of different beads can lead to different #permutations and #combinations; it is really tough to choose the best possible combination, more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. He seconds Meyer’s statement that it was impossible for Darwin to understand that in his era, since the math is…

#science #biology #mathematics #maths #bio #research #evidence #empiricism
 
.
In the late 1980s, an Inuit subsistence hunter named Jens Larsen killed a trio of very strange whales off the western coast of Greenland.
[...]
In 1990, it caught the attention of Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, a scientist who studies marine mammals. With Larsen’s permission, he took it to the Greenland Fisheries Research Institute in Copenhagen for study. And after comparing it to the skulls of known belugas and narwhals, he suggested that it might have been a hybrid between the two species—a narluga.
[...]
By analyzing DNA extracted from one of the creature’s teeth, a team led by Eline Lorenzen from the Natural History Museum of Denmark showed that it was a male, born to a beluga father and a narwhal mother. Most of its DNA was a half-and-half mix between the two species, but its mitochondrial DNA—a secondary set that animals inherit only from their mothers—was entirely narwhal. “A while back, we presented our findings at a conference of 150 people who are very into belugas, and you could hear a pin drop,” Lorenzen says. “None of them were familiar with hybrids between those two species.”"
#Science #Biology #Nature #Whales #Narwhal #Beluga #Hybrids
 
.
In the late 1980s, an Inuit subsistence hunter named Jens Larsen killed a trio of very strange whales off the western coast of Greenland.
[...]
In 1990, it caught the attention of Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, a scientist who studies marine mammals. With Larsen’s permission, he took it to the Greenland Fisheries Research Institute in Copenhagen for study. And after comparing it to the skulls of known belugas and narwhals, he suggested that it might have been a hybrid between the two species—a narluga.
[...]
By analyzing DNA extracted from one of the creature’s teeth, a team led by Eline Lorenzen from the Natural History Museum of Denmark showed that it was a male, born to a beluga father and a narwhal mother. Most of its DNA was a half-and-half mix between the two species, but its mitochondrial DNA—a secondary set that animals inherit only from their mothers—was entirely narwhal. “A while back, we presented our findings at a conference of 150 people who are very into belugas, and you could hear a pin drop,” Lorenzen says. “None of them were familiar with hybrids between those two species.”"
#Science #Biology #Nature #Whales #Narwhal #Beluga #Hybrids
 
Fascinating finding. "Human and cuttlefish limbs develop under the direction of the same genes". To find out more on how our limbs develop and our genetic connections to other animals, definitely read (or watch the documentary) Our Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.
The cuttlefish and its relatives, squid and octopuses, often strike human observers as floating aliens wreathed in sucker-covered limbs — boneless, squirming appendages that would seem to have nothing in common with our own arms and legs.

But hidden under the superficial differences, a new study shows, are some profound similarities: Human and cuttlefish limbs develop under the direction of the same genes. The new study, published on Tuesday in the journal eLife, lends weight to the theory that many animal appendages, from insect wings to fish fins, share a long evolutionary history.
[...]
It’s possible that the common ancestor of cuttlefish, flies and humans had limbs of some sort. Perhaps the animal used these genes to map the coordinates in other three-dimensional body parts, even one located entirely inside the body.

In later generations, animal lineages evolved profound differences. When it comes to limbs, flies and other insects are as different from cephalopods as they are from us. They have hard exoskeletons, with muscles pulling on them from the inside.

But every time a new kind of limb evolved, it seems, animals did not need a new way to tell cells where they were located inside it. Evolution reused the same genetic program over and over again.

“We’re looking at something ancient,” Dr. Cohn said.
#Biology #Nature #Evolution #Genetics #Cephalopods

The New York Times: Cuttlefish Arms Are Not So Different From Yours (By CARL ZIMMER)

 
Fascinating finding. "Human and cuttlefish limbs develop under the direction of the same genes". To find out more on how our limbs develop and our genetic connections to other animals, definitely read (or watch the documentary) Our Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.
The cuttlefish and its relatives, squid and octopuses, often strike human observers as floating aliens wreathed in sucker-covered limbs — boneless, squirming appendages that would seem to have nothing in common with our own arms and legs.

But hidden under the superficial differences, a new study shows, are some profound similarities: Human and cuttlefish limbs develop under the direction of the same genes. The new study, published on Tuesday in the journal eLife, lends weight to the theory that many animal appendages, from insect wings to fish fins, share a long evolutionary history.
[...]
It’s possible that the common ancestor of cuttlefish, flies and humans had limbs of some sort. Perhaps the animal used these genes to map the coordinates in other three-dimensional body parts, even one located entirely inside the body.

In later generations, animal lineages evolved profound differences. When it comes to limbs, flies and other insects are as different from cephalopods as they are from us. They have hard exoskeletons, with muscles pulling on them from the inside.

But every time a new kind of limb evolved, it seems, animals did not need a new way to tell cells where they were located inside it. Evolution reused the same genetic program over and over again.

“We’re looking at something ancient,” Dr. Cohn said.
#Biology #Nature #Evolution #Genetics #Cephalopods

The New York Times: Cuttlefish Arms Are Not So Different From Yours (By CARL ZIMMER)

 
Fascinating. Some fish eggs can survive going through a bird's digestive system.
Killifish manage to endure a variety of environments. The wee freshwater fish survive in isolated desert pools, lakes made by flood water, even seasonal ponds that are little more than puddles.

One place scientists didn’t expect to find them was in swan poop. But an international team of researchers reported last week in the journal Ecology that whole killifish eggs make it through the digestive tract of water birds intact, with one egg in the study even hatching more than a month after its transit through a swan. The findings suggest that bird feces may be capable of carrying fish eggs far from their original locations.
[...]
The researchers are planning a similar experiment now that uses eggs from carp, which hatch much faster than killifish. As killifish and carp can be invasive species outside of their normal range, understanding how they spread can help in containment.
#Science #Biology #Fish #Birds #Nature #Biodiversity

The New York Times: The Fish Egg That Traveled Through a Swan’s Gut, Then Hatched (By VERONIQUE GREENWOOD)

 
Fascinating. Some fish eggs can survive going through a bird's digestive system.
Killifish manage to endure a variety of environments. The wee freshwater fish survive in isolated desert pools, lakes made by flood water, even seasonal ponds that are little more than puddles.

One place scientists didn’t expect to find them was in swan poop. But an international team of researchers reported last week in the journal Ecology that whole killifish eggs make it through the digestive tract of water birds intact, with one egg in the study even hatching more than a month after its transit through a swan. The findings suggest that bird feces may be capable of carrying fish eggs far from their original locations.
[...]
The researchers are planning a similar experiment now that uses eggs from carp, which hatch much faster than killifish. As killifish and carp can be invasive species outside of their normal range, understanding how they spread can help in containment.
#Science #Biology #Fish #Birds #Nature #Biodiversity

The New York Times: The Fish Egg That Traveled Through a Swan’s Gut, Then Hatched (By VERONIQUE GREENWOOD)

 
#science #lupus #gene #mutations #genemutations #biology #bio
 
#science #lupus #gene #mutations #genemutations #biology #bio
 
Contary to myth, pandas are not 'evolutionary dead ends'. They may now just eat bamboo, but their digestive system betrays their carnivorous roots and shows that they are very efficient at extracting the protein they need from bamboo.
Yonggang Nie and Fuwen Wei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spent years tracking wild pandas, analyzing exactly what kinds of bamboo they eat, and measuring the chemicals within those mouthfuls. And they found that the nutrient profile of a panda’s all-bamboo diet—very high in protein, and low in carbohydrates—is much closer to that of a typical carnivore than to that of other plant-eating mammals. “It was a surprise,” Wei says. Nutritionally, “bamboo looks like a kind of meat.”

In other words, “the giant panda does what human vegetarians do,” says Silvia Pineda-Munoz of the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We have high protein requirements, so we wouldn’t be able to survive if we just ate kale salad. Thus, we choose to eat tofu, beans, nuts, and other plant-based foods that compensate for the protein we aren’t getting from animal products. In the end, vegetarians and nonvegetarians don’t have such different diets when it comes to nutrients.” And so it is with China’s black-and-white bear.
[...]
This suggests that the move from meat to plants might have been easier for ancestral pandas than commonly assumed. By simply choosing parts of plants that are richer in protein, they could switch to vegetarianism without needing to radically overhaul their bodies. “If you’re going to switch to a specific plant, bamboo isn’t too bad, as it does have respectable plant protein levels, as well as a swath of different vitamins,” says Garret Suen of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

These results should help to counter the tiresome myth that pandas are evolutionary dead ends: lazy, poorly adapted creatures that eat deficient diets, are inept at sex, and should be allowed to go extinct. Nonsense. Pandas have beautifully adapted to eat an extremely plentiful food source—bamboo—and they go to great, careful lengths to get exactly the right balance of nutrients.
#Biology #Nature #Evolution #Pandas
 
Contary to myth, pandas are not 'evolutionary dead ends'. They may now just eat bamboo, but their digestive system betrays their carnivorous roots and shows that they are very efficient at extracting the protein they need from bamboo.
Yonggang Nie and Fuwen Wei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spent years tracking wild pandas, analyzing exactly what kinds of bamboo they eat, and measuring the chemicals within those mouthfuls. And they found that the nutrient profile of a panda’s all-bamboo diet—very high in protein, and low in carbohydrates—is much closer to that of a typical carnivore than to that of other plant-eating mammals. “It was a surprise,” Wei says. Nutritionally, “bamboo looks like a kind of meat.”

In other words, “the giant panda does what human vegetarians do,” says Silvia Pineda-Munoz of the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We have high protein requirements, so we wouldn’t be able to survive if we just ate kale salad. Thus, we choose to eat tofu, beans, nuts, and other plant-based foods that compensate for the protein we aren’t getting from animal products. In the end, vegetarians and nonvegetarians don’t have such different diets when it comes to nutrients.” And so it is with China’s black-and-white bear.
[...]
This suggests that the move from meat to plants might have been easier for ancestral pandas than commonly assumed. By simply choosing parts of plants that are richer in protein, they could switch to vegetarianism without needing to radically overhaul their bodies. “If you’re going to switch to a specific plant, bamboo isn’t too bad, as it does have respectable plant protein levels, as well as a swath of different vitamins,” says Garret Suen of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

These results should help to counter the tiresome myth that pandas are evolutionary dead ends: lazy, poorly adapted creatures that eat deficient diets, are inept at sex, and should be allowed to go extinct. Nonsense. Pandas have beautifully adapted to eat an extremely plentiful food source—bamboo—and they go to great, careful lengths to get exactly the right balance of nutrients.
#Biology #Nature #Evolution #Pandas
 
Interesting article about hunting for ways to make the colour blue appear in various ways.
Designing materials from scratch to produce blue is difficult even today, Subramanian says. "So much chemistry has to come together," he says. Subtle changes in the arrangement of neighboring atoms can throw off the energy levels of an atom's electrons, altering the color it can absorb. The red of rubies and the green of emeralds both spring from chromium ions surrounded by six oxygen atoms; other atoms in the two stones cause the color difference by altering the chromium's energy levels. Such effects are very hard to predict, Subramanian says: "If rubies and emeralds did not exist in nature, no one would know how to create them."

But scientists have not given up hunting for new blues, continuing an age-old quest with 21st century tools. Although Subramanian's discovery came about by accident, other researchers are methodically using physics, chemistry, and genetics to find or create new blues for painters to dazzle with, edible colorants that make food more interesting, and blue flowers that, so far, only exist in artists' imaginations.
#Science #Biology #Chemistry #Colours #Blue
 
Interesting article about hunting for ways to make the colour blue appear in various ways.
Designing materials from scratch to produce blue is difficult even today, Subramanian says. "So much chemistry has to come together," he says. Subtle changes in the arrangement of neighboring atoms can throw off the energy levels of an atom's electrons, altering the color it can absorb. The red of rubies and the green of emeralds both spring from chromium ions surrounded by six oxygen atoms; other atoms in the two stones cause the color difference by altering the chromium's energy levels. Such effects are very hard to predict, Subramanian says: "If rubies and emeralds did not exist in nature, no one would know how to create them."

But scientists have not given up hunting for new blues, continuing an age-old quest with 21st century tools. Although Subramanian's discovery came about by accident, other researchers are methodically using physics, chemistry, and genetics to find or create new blues for painters to dazzle with, edible colorants that make food more interesting, and blue flowers that, so far, only exist in artists' imaginations.
#Science #Biology #Chemistry #Colours #Blue
 
interesting mutalism!
#biology #mutualism #fig #figwasp
Are there really dead wasps in your figs?
First, it's important to understand that figs aren't technically a fruit; they're actually an inverted flower. So the fig blooms inside its pod. As you know, flowers need to be pollinated so that they can reproduce, but since a fig's flower is hidden inside itself, that means its pollinator — in this case, the fig wasp — needs to crawl inside the fig to bring the pollen directly to the flower.
 
interesting mutalism!
#biology #mutualism #fig #figwasp
Are there really dead wasps in your figs?
First, it's important to understand that figs aren't technically a fruit; they're actually an inverted flower. So the fig blooms inside its pod. As you know, flowers need to be pollinated so that they can reproduce, but since a fig's flower is hidden inside itself, that means its pollinator — in this case, the fig wasp — needs to crawl inside the fig to bring the pollen directly to the flower.
 
More research needed. Why some earthworms come to the surface after it rains has nothing to do with the 'drowning earthworm' myth.
Conventional wisdom holds that earthworms head to the surface after rain because they can’t breathe. This is still taught to schoolkids, and you can find a lot of detailed explanation online. Most claim that worm trails and air pockets underground become submerged, and the earthworms can’t breathe. It makes sense.

Most researchers, though, dispute this explanation. As Chris Lowe, a researcher at the University of Central Lancashire, points out in Scientific American, earthworms breathe through their skin and require moisture to do so.

Humans drown when their lungs fill with water. This is not possible for earthworms as they lack lungs. Multiple studies have also shown that most earthworm species can survive being submerged in water for two weeks or more.
[...]
Lately, most popular scientific accounts write off the “drowning worm” idea as a myth. While it is certainly not likely the entire explanation, perhaps we shouldn’t entirely rule it out. Research published in the journal Invertebrate Biology, for instance, found that worm behavior following rain depended on the species.
[...]
There undoubtedly will be new research and new revelations about the lives and habits of earthworms. Nature’s mysteries are not just “out there” in the wilderness. The common creatures that live around us still hold surprises. Take a moment and observe the phenomenon happening in the natural world, right now, where we live. The surprises and wonders are right under our feet."
#Science #Research #Biology #Earthworms #Invertebrates
The Real Reason You See Earthworms After Rain
 
More research needed. Why some earthworms come to the surface after it rains has nothing to do with the 'drowning earthworm' myth.
Conventional wisdom holds that earthworms head to the surface after rain because they can’t breathe. This is still taught to schoolkids, and you can find a lot of detailed explanation online. Most claim that worm trails and air pockets underground become submerged, and the earthworms can’t breathe. It makes sense.

Most researchers, though, dispute this explanation. As Chris Lowe, a researcher at the University of Central Lancashire, points out in Scientific American, earthworms breathe through their skin and require moisture to do so.

Humans drown when their lungs fill with water. This is not possible for earthworms as they lack lungs. Multiple studies have also shown that most earthworm species can survive being submerged in water for two weeks or more.
[...]
Lately, most popular scientific accounts write off the “drowning worm” idea as a myth. While it is certainly not likely the entire explanation, perhaps we shouldn’t entirely rule it out. Research published in the journal Invertebrate Biology, for instance, found that worm behavior following rain depended on the species.
[...]
There undoubtedly will be new research and new revelations about the lives and habits of earthworms. Nature’s mysteries are not just “out there” in the wilderness. The common creatures that live around us still hold surprises. Take a moment and observe the phenomenon happening in the natural world, right now, where we live. The surprises and wonders are right under our feet."
#Science #Research #Biology #Earthworms #Invertebrates
The Real Reason You See Earthworms After Rain
 
Editing life like a text in word? Including creating a new one from scratch? Yes, I am scared. Really scared!

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/04/04/the-promise-and-perils-of-synthetic-biology

#biology #life #frankenworld
 
How bad is the fungus infection of amphibian species? Pretty bad.
A century ago, a strain of pandemic flu killed up to 100 million people—5 percent of the world’s population. In 2013, a new mystery illness swept the western coast of North America, causing starfish to disintegrate. In 2015, a big-nosed Asian antelope known as the saiga lost two-thirds of its population—some 200,000 individuals—to what now looks to be a bacterial infection. But none of these devastating infections comes close to the destructive power of Bd—a singularly apocalyptic fungus that’s unrivaled in its ability not only to kill animals, but to delete entire species from existence.

Bd—Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in full—kills frogs and other amphibians by eating away at their skin and triggering fatal heart attacks. It’s often said that the fungus has caused the decline or extinction of 200 amphibian species, but that figure is almost two decades out-of-date. New figures, compiled by a team led by Ben Scheele from the Australian National University, are much worse.

Scheele’s team estimates that the fungus has caused the decline of 501 amphibian species—about 6.5 percent of the known total. Of these, 90 have been wiped out entirely. Another 124 have fallen by more than 90 percent, and their odds of recovery are slim. Never in recorded history has a single disease burned down so much of the tree of life. “It rewrote our understanding of what disease could do to wildlife,” Scheele says.
[...]
“There’s no obvious way to deal with this,” Lips says. Some researchers have set up captive-breeding programs to buy time for species in contaminated habitats. Others are looking at ways of manipulating the fungus, or breeding more tolerant frogs, or pairing the frogs with defensive bacteria, or relocating frogs to sites that are inhospitable to the fungus. None of these solutions is a silver bullet, and none is close to readiness. “It says a lot about the scary nature of the disease that even after intense, long-term collaborations we haven’t come up with a viable solution,” Lips adds."
#Biology #Nature #Environment #FungalDisease #Amphibians #Disease
 
How bad is the fungus infection of amphibian species? Pretty bad.
A century ago, a strain of pandemic flu killed up to 100 million people—5 percent of the world’s population. In 2013, a new mystery illness swept the western coast of North America, causing starfish to disintegrate. In 2015, a big-nosed Asian antelope known as the saiga lost two-thirds of its population—some 200,000 individuals—to what now looks to be a bacterial infection. But none of these devastating infections comes close to the destructive power of Bd—a singularly apocalyptic fungus that’s unrivaled in its ability not only to kill animals, but to delete entire species from existence.

Bd—Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in full—kills frogs and other amphibians by eating away at their skin and triggering fatal heart attacks. It’s often said that the fungus has caused the decline or extinction of 200 amphibian species, but that figure is almost two decades out-of-date. New figures, compiled by a team led by Ben Scheele from the Australian National University, are much worse.

Scheele’s team estimates that the fungus has caused the decline of 501 amphibian species—about 6.5 percent of the known total. Of these, 90 have been wiped out entirely. Another 124 have fallen by more than 90 percent, and their odds of recovery are slim. Never in recorded history has a single disease burned down so much of the tree of life. “It rewrote our understanding of what disease could do to wildlife,” Scheele says.
[...]
“There’s no obvious way to deal with this,” Lips says. Some researchers have set up captive-breeding programs to buy time for species in contaminated habitats. Others are looking at ways of manipulating the fungus, or breeding more tolerant frogs, or pairing the frogs with defensive bacteria, or relocating frogs to sites that are inhospitable to the fungus. None of these solutions is a silver bullet, and none is close to readiness. “It says a lot about the scary nature of the disease that even after intense, long-term collaborations we haven’t come up with a viable solution,” Lips adds."
#Biology #Nature #Environment #FungalDisease #Amphibians #Disease
 

Hunde können keine DNA riechen, oder: wenn das peer review versagt – blooDNAcid


Nope, dogs are not able to sniff #DNA. The methods used in the orginal study were totally flawed. Peer Review failed
#biology #science
Hunde können keine DNA riechen, oder: wenn das peer review versagt
 
#science #biology #corals #mathematics #crochet

Whoa :-o awesome crochet stuff is awesome!

What happens when you mix math, coral and crochet? It’s mind-blowing

Gallery: What happens when you mix math, coral and crochet? It’s mind-blowing

How two Australian sisters channeled their love of STEM and coral reefs into the most glorious participatory art project.




https://ideas.ted.com/gallery-what-happens-when-you-mix-math-coral-and-crochet-its-mind-blowing/
 
#science #biology #corals #mathematics #crochet

Whoa :-o awesome crochet stuff is awesome!

What happens when you mix math, coral and crochet? It’s mind-blowing

Gallery: What happens when you mix math, coral and crochet? It’s mind-blowing

How two Australian sisters channeled their love of STEM and coral reefs into the most glorious participatory art project.




https://ideas.ted.com/gallery-what-happens-when-you-mix-math-coral-and-crochet-its-mind-blowing/
 
Interesting. A class of viruses that distributes it's DNA in many parts, yet they communicate and work together to replicate.
It is a truth universally acknowledged among virologists that a single virus, carrying a full set of genes, must be in want of a cell. A virus is just a collection of genes packaged into a capsule. It infiltrates and hijacks a living cell to make extra copies of itself. Those daughter viruses then bust out of their ailing host, and each finds a new cell to infect. Rinse, and repeat. This is how all viruses, from Ebola to influenza, are meant to work.

But Stéphane Blanc and his colleagues at the University of Montpellier have shown that one virus breaks all the rules.

Faba bean necrotic stunt virus, or FBNSV for short, infects legumes, and is spread through the bites of aphids. Its genes are split among eight segments, each of which is packaged into its own capsule. And, as Blanc’s team has now shown, these eight segments can reproduce themselves, even if they infect different cells. FBNSV needs all of its components, but it doesn’t need them in the same place. Indeed, this virus never seems to fully comes together. It is always distributed, its existence spread between among capsules and split among different host cells.

“This is truly a revolutionary result in virology,” says Siobain Duffy of Rutgers University, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Once again, viruses prove that they’ve had the evolutionary time to try just about every reproductive strategy, even ones that are hard for scientists to imagine.”
#Biology #Viruses #Replication #Nature
 
Interesting. A class of viruses that distributes it's DNA in many parts, yet they communicate and work together to replicate.
It is a truth universally acknowledged among virologists that a single virus, carrying a full set of genes, must be in want of a cell. A virus is just a collection of genes packaged into a capsule. It infiltrates and hijacks a living cell to make extra copies of itself. Those daughter viruses then bust out of their ailing host, and each finds a new cell to infect. Rinse, and repeat. This is how all viruses, from Ebola to influenza, are meant to work.

But Stéphane Blanc and his colleagues at the University of Montpellier have shown that one virus breaks all the rules.

Faba bean necrotic stunt virus, or FBNSV for short, infects legumes, and is spread through the bites of aphids. Its genes are split among eight segments, each of which is packaged into its own capsule. And, as Blanc’s team has now shown, these eight segments can reproduce themselves, even if they infect different cells. FBNSV needs all of its components, but it doesn’t need them in the same place. Indeed, this virus never seems to fully comes together. It is always distributed, its existence spread between among capsules and split among different host cells.

“This is truly a revolutionary result in virology,” says Siobain Duffy of Rutgers University, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Once again, viruses prove that they’ve had the evolutionary time to try just about every reproductive strategy, even ones that are hard for scientists to imagine.”
#Biology #Viruses #Replication #Nature
 
Glad you made the move over here. On diaspora it's important to add and use some Hashtags, e.g. #art #history #science #biology whatever fits
 
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