20 Jun 2010
Tags: aspects, Behaviour, Blood, Brain, experiment, Giraffe, Japanese, Japanese scientists, Monkeys, near-infrared spectroscopy, Scientists, technique, Television, television screen, University's Primate Research Institute, Watching
Monkeys like watching television, Japanese scientists have revealed in a new study A three-year-old male rhesus macaque thoroughly enjoyed a video of a circus elephant, giraffe and tiger performing, according to scientists from 1 University’s Primate Research Institute, who monitored the monkey’s brain during the experiment.
Scientist used a technique called near-infrared spectroscopy to examine various aspects of the blood flow to the brain of the monkey while it was watching the television images The study found that when the monkey was witnessing the acrobatic performances of circus animals on a television screen, the frontal lobe area of its brain became vigorously active.
16 Jun 2010
Tags: Ann Gottlieb, Attracted, Big Cats, Bronz Zoo, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein's Obsession, Cheetahs, experimented, Fragrance, Guatemala, Jaguars, jungle, men, Mr. McNab, New York, perfume, Roan Balas McNab, Scientists, Wall Street Journa, Wildlife Conservation Society's
Big game cats like lions or tigers are attracted to Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men more than any other fragrance, scientists have found.Researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronz Zoo in New York experimented with a range of different fragrances and how two cheetahs reacted to them.To their surprise, the cats spent more than 11 minutes sniffing and nuzzling up to a tree sprayed with Obsession for Men.The perfume’s effect on big cats is so potent that it is even used in the field by conservationists.
One program director in Guatemala has been using the perfume since 2007 to to try and determine the jaguar’s population in the jungle.Roan Balas McNab who works in a a protected tropical forest uses the perfume’s unique properties to keep jaguars still enough so that he can take images of them using motion-sensitive cameras.’But this technique is only effective if animals pass through the cameras’ detection range and we get adequate photos,’ Mr. McNab told the Wall Street Journal.
10 Jun 2010
Tags: artificial, Genes, Goats, Incorporate, jaw repair., ligamentS, medical, Randy Lewis, Researchers, Scientists, silk protein, Spider’s Silk, spiders’ silk-spinning genes, Spinning, territorial, University of Wyoming
Researchers from the University of Wyoming have developed a way to incorporate spiders’ silk-spinning genes into goats, allowing the researchers to harvest the silk protein from the goats’ milk for a variety of applications. For instance, due to its strength and elasticity, spider silk fiber could have several medical uses, such as for making artificial ligaments and tendons, for eye sutures, and for jaw repair. The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags.
Normally, getting enough spider silk for these applications requires large numbers of spiders. However, spiders tend to be territorial, so when the researchers tried to set up spider farms, the spiders killed each other.
To solve this problem, Randy Lewis, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, and other researchers decided to put the spiders’ dragline silk gene into goats in such a way that the goats would only make the protein in their milk. Like any other genetic factor, only a certain percentage of the goats end up with the gene. For instance, of seven goat kids born in February 2010, three have tested positive for having the silk protein gene. When these transgenic goats have kids and start lactating, the researchers will collect the milk and purify the spider silk protein into “much, much higher quantities,” Lewis said.
09 Jun 2010
Tags: agricultural pesticides, ‘colony collapse disorde, Cell Phones, Chandigarh’s, claimed, climate change, collapse, Current Science, Disappearance, electropollution, environment, Europe, genetically modified, hives, Honey Bees, Honeybee, mobile telephones, Neelima Kumar, North America, phenomenon, Punjab University, Scientists, Ved Prakash Sharma
The growing use of mobile telephones is behind the disappearance of honey bees and the collapse of their hives, scientists have claimed. Their disappearance has caused alarm throughout Europe and North America where campaigners have blamed agricultural pesticides, climate change and the advent of genetically modified crops for what is now known as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ Britain has seen a 15 per cent decline in its bee population in the last two years and shrinking numbers has led to a rise in thefts of hives.
Now researchers from Chandigarh’s Punjab University claim they have found the cause which could be the first step in reversing the decline: They have established that radiation from mobile telephones is a key factor in the phenomenon and say that it probably interfering with the bee’s navigation senses.
They set up a controlled experiment in Punjab earlier this year comparing the behavior and productivity of bees in two hives – one fitted with two mobile telephones which were powered on for two fifteen minute sessions per day for three months. The other had dummy models installed.
07 Jun 2010
Tags: buoyancy, Canada, computer, contractions, digital water, Dr Darren Naish, Dr Donald Henderson, Formula, generated, giraffes, Maths, Muscle, Proves, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Scientists, Swim, swimmers, University of Portsmouth
Mathematics has proven that giraffes can swim – even though they wouldn’t be very good at it and nobody has ever seen them do it. Whereas most large animal are extremely good swimmers, it has often been said that giraffes are unable to swim or wade.The authors of the new study hoped to test this oft-quoted theory by using a digital giraffe rather than a real one.
Dr Donald Henderson, of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Canada, and Dr Darren Naish, of the University of Portsmouth, decided to investigate whether or not giraffes could swim after Dr Naish took part in an online debate on the subject.In previous work, Dr Henderson had created a digital model of a giraffe, and had also tested the buoyancy of various computer generated models of animals.The new study, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, examines what happened when scientists placed a ‘digital giraffe’ in ‘digital water’.
Dr Naish said: “Many previous studies have claimed that giraffes cannot swim and that they avoid water like the plague, even in an emergency, but we wanted to put the theory to the test in proper controlled experiments.”Creating a digital giraffe involved numerous calculations on weight, mass, size, shape, lung capacity and centre of gravity.Calculations were made to discover rotation dynamics, flotation dynamics and the external surface area of both a giraffe and – for control purposes – a horse.
30 May 2010
Tags: Aquarium, Asia, Endangered, Japan, Nagoya aquarium, Nagoya Public Aquarium, Rare, Release, Scientists, sea turtles, Singapore., Tomomi Saito, Turtles, Underwater World Singapore, Yoshihiko Kanou
Thirteen endangered sea turtles bred in captivity in Japan have been given to a Singapore aquarium to prepare them for release into a natural habitat later this year, scientists said Friday.The hawksbill turtles, listed as a highly endangered species, were brought to Singapore by their Japanese caretakers Tomomi Saito and Yoshihiko Kanou from the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium.
The five one-year-old turtles and eight three-year-olds were turned over on Thursday to the Underwater World Singapore, which is collaborating with the Nagoya aquarium to release the animals.They are the offspring of hawksbill turtles donated by the Underwater World Singapore to the Nagoya aquarium in 1997 and 2002.
As part of the preparations, staff from the Singapore aquarium will monitor and conduct checks on the turtles to determine their fitness for the release scheduled in September.”With the success of their breeding… we would want to have some of these captive-bred turtles return to the wild,” said Anthony Chang, curator of the Underwater World Singapore.
23 Apr 2010
Tags: Baffling, Bending, Bizarre, Cockerill, DNA, Donato Matassino, eggs, Gender, Gender-Bending, Gianni, laboratories, mix, Naples, professor, Professor Donato Matassino, red-blooded rooster, rooster, Scientists, Tuscany, UN's Farm and Agriculture Organisation
Gianni started life as a red-blooded rooster and would often wake his Italian owners up crowing on his farm in Tuscany.But when a fox raided Gianni’s enclosure and killed all of the hens inside, Gianni felt it was time for a change.Within days the bird was laying eggs and trying to hatch them as he began his new life as a hen.The sex-change chicken has baffled scientists at the UN’s Farm and Agriculture Organisation, who are now planning to study Gianni’s DNA to see what made him change.
An expert at the centre said: ‘It may be a primitive species survival gene. With all the females gone he could only ensure the future of his line by becoming female.’
Professor Donato Matassino, who will be leading tests on Gianni, said: ‘This rooster-hen will be taken to the laboratories of Consdabi for a series of behavioural and genetic tests.’This will allow us to decipher this bizarre DNA mix up that appears to have literally given what looks like two chickens in one.’Professor Donato said the rooster-hen was transported by train to Naples where the laboratories are based.
14 Mar 2010
Tags: animal population, animals, asiatic lion, blackbuck, Duke University, Elephants, gir forest, Goat, human population, India, international, jackals, mammals, nilgiri, parks, Pigs, Scientists, species, survival, team, Tigers, Wildlife Conservation Society.
In a new study, an international team of scientists has determined that the long-term survival of many large species in the midst of rapid economic growth in India will require improving existing protected areas and establishing new protected areas and corridors.The study, carried out by researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Duke University, and other groups, found that country’s protected area system and human cultural tolerance for some species are key to conserving the subcontinent’s tigers, elephants, and other large mammals.
The researchers created models to estimate extinction probability for 25 large mammal species, determining current species distributions along with more than 30,000 historical records from natural history, taxidermy and museum records dating back 200 years.The models were used to gauge how factors such as protected areas, forest cover, elevation, and human demographics, and cultural attitudes impact extinction predictions.The results of the analysis found that all 25 species would experience some level of local extinction due to a variety of factors such as habitat loss and human population growth and development.
10 Mar 2010
Tags: Alien, Aquatic, aquatic environment, do fish feel pain, Dr Braithwaite, environment, feelings, Fish, Insects, limbs, lobsters., mammals, Scientists, so fish have feeling, symbolic, vegetarians, Victoria Braithwaite's, worms
To many, the notion that we should care about the suffering of fish seems absurd.For most, fish amount to little more than swimming protein, a healthy food to be plucked from rivers and seas.But, as a disturbing new book shows, scientists are now confident that fish, once symbolic of dumb, primitive stupidity, do not only feel pain, but have a complex emotional life, too.Indeed, as the book’s author says, there is ‘no logical reason why we should not extend to fish the same welfare considerations that we currently extend to birds and mammals’.
Do Fish Feel Pain? was written not by a militant vegan, but by a dispassionate marine biologist – who eats fish.But Victoria Braithwaite’s conclusion is particularly surprising, because we are not used to thinking about fish as sentient at all.Their expressionless ‘faces’, their lack of limbs and their alien aquatic environment make it ambiguous whether fish should be regarded on the same level as birds, reptiles and mammals, or lumped in with the worms, insects and lobsters.
28 Feb 2010
Tags: Butterflies, Common, Darwin’s, delicate butterflies, Genetics, H. erato, H. melpomene, hotspots, Mechanism, mimic, PLoS Genetics, Scientists, South America, Spots., toxins, UK, University of Cambridge, unpalatable., US, Zoology
How two butterfly species have evolved exactly the same striking wing colour and pattern has intrigued biologists since Darwin’s day. Now, scientists at Cambridge have found “hotspots” in the butterflies’ genes that they believe will explain one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world.Heliconius, or passion-vine butterflies, live in the Americas — from the southern United States to southern South America. Although they cannot interbreed, H. melpomene and H. erato have evolved to mimic one another perfectly.
These delicate butterflies have splashes of red and yellow on their black wings, signaling to birds that they contain toxins and are extremely unpalatable. They mimic one another’s colour and pattern to reinforce these warning signals.Scientists have studied these butterflies since the 1860s as a classic case of evolution in action, but only now is modern sequencing technology unlocking the underlying genetics.The Cambridge-led team of researchers from UK and US universities, which has been breeding the butterflies in Panama for the past decade, has been searching for the genes responsible for the butterflies’ wing patterns and the answer to the question of whether the same genes in two different species are responsible for the mimicry.