My picks from ScienceDaily


Scorpion Biodiversity Seen In ‘Evolution Canyon’:

Scorpions possess resistance to high temperatures and the ability to conserve water for long periods of time, and as a result thrive in hot and arid parts of the world. But is this global distribution also seen at a more local level? Doctoral student Shmuel Raz and colleagues at the University of Haifa, Israel now show that this is indeed the case, even when European-like and African-like habitats were separated by no more than 100 metres.

Melatonin Is An Effective Treatment For Sleep Problems In Children With Autism, Study Suggests:

A new study determined that over-the-counter melatonin medication can shorted the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), or both to fall asleep at the beginning of the night.

New Way To Analyze Sleep Disorders:

Sleep is such an essential part of human existence that we spend about a third of our lives doing it — some more successfully than others. Sleep disorders afflict some 50-70 million people in the United States and are a major cause of disease and injury. People who suffer from disturbed sleep have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension, obesity, depression, and accidents. Nearly a fifth of all serious car crashes, in fact, are linked to sleeplessness.

The Life That Escaped Darwin’s Notice:

Darwin was a brilliant observer and described everything he could perceive with the naked eye. However, the micro-organisms from the beginning of evolution remained hidden from him. He came unsuspectingly close to them in his essay on reefs.

Flying Mouse-traps Clean Up Fields:

Barn Owls Tyto alba and Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus are being encouraged by farmers in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to control agricultural pests instead of using harmful chemicals. “The two species provide round-the-clock predation of mice, rats and voles and have been used throughout history as natural pest controllers”, said Dr Yossi Leshem – Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI; BirdLife in Israel). “A pair of Barn Owls alone can eat over 2,000 rodents in a year!”

Alligators Hint At What Life May Have Been Like For Dinosaurs (compare the title to the last paragraph!):

During the last 540 million years, the earth’s oxygen levels have fluctuated wildly. Knowing that the dinosaurs appeared around the time when oxygen levels were at their lowest at 12%, Tomasz Owerkowicz, Ruth Elsey and James Hicks wondered how these monsters coped at such low oxygen levels. But without a ready supply of dinosaurs to test their ideas on, Owerkowicz and Hicks turned to a modern relative: the alligator.

Animal Survival In Inherited Habitats:

Researchers are exploring how inheriting favorable or unfavorable habitat affects the overall rise and fall of animal populations. For some animal species, inheriting habitat may play as much of a role in survival as inheriting intelligence, fertility, camouflage or other genetically transferred characteristics.

Parasite Breaks Its Own DNA To Avoid Detection:

The parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness, is like a thief donning a disguise. Every time the host’s immune cells get close to destroying the parasite, it escapes detection by rearranging its DNA and changing its appearance. Now two laboratories at Rockefeller University have joined forces to reveal how the parasite initiates its getaway, by cleaving both strands of its DNA.

From Fish To Landlubber: Fossils Suggest Earlier Land-water Transition Of Tetrapod:

New evidence gleaned from CT scans of fossils locked inside rocks may flip the order in which two kinds of four-limbed animals with backbones were known to have moved from fish to landlubber.

Neurons That Control Sociability In Worms Defined:

Ants colonize. Fish shoal. Flamingos flock and caribou herd. Earth is populated by inherently social beings. Even lowly worms seek out the benefits of companionship. New research at The Rockefeller University has dissected the social proclivities of a model worm, identifying a single type of neuron — RMG — that “decides” whether these worms will mingle with their fellows or keep to themselves.

Comments are closed.