Study Gives Scientists A Sense Of How Animals Bond


Scientists have pinpointed how a key hormone helps animals to recognise others by their smell.Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that the hormone vasopressin helps the brain differentiate between familiar and new scents.The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that when the hormone fails to function, animals are unable to recognise other individuals from their scent.

The ability to recognise others by smell is crucial in helping animals to establish strong bonds with other animals.The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), may offer clues about the way people make emotional connections with others through smell and deepen our understanding of the role scent plays in memory.Many scientists think a failure in this recognition system in humans may prevent them from forming deep emotional bonds with others.


Amazing Ant That Carries 100 Times Its Body Weight


An incredible image of a tiny ant carrying 100 times its own body weight, while hanging upside down from a glass-like surface, has won first prize in a national science photo competition. The amazing picture was snapped by scientists at Cambridge University by a team in the department of zoology investigating the extraordinary sticky feet of ants and other insects.

The image, taken by Dr Thomas Endlein, shows an Asian weaver ant, upside down on a smooth surface, carrying a 500mg weight in its jaws. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) science photo competition included a crow using a stick to fish food, a killer whale and a salmon caught in a net.

“It won first prize because it was a beautiful image and managed to convey complex science,” said the BBSRC.Weaver ants use their feet and their legs to achieve their sticky feats.Dr Endelin: said: “Ants can change the size and shape of the pads on their feet depending on the load they are carrying. If they have to carry heavy loads they increase the contact area, and when they need to run they decrease it.”