Biology



14 January 2014

Primate metabolism study reveals disconnect between exercise and calorie burning


A new study reveals that humans and other primates burn 50 percent fewer calories each day than other mammals. Interestingly, the study also reports that primates in zoos expend as much energy as those in the wild, suggesting that physical activity may have less of an impact on daily energy expenditure than previously thought...

20 June 2013

Population growth makes wildlife conservation pointless, concludes new report


"You can do all the conservation in the world that you want, but it's going to be for naught if we don't keep the human population in check," say the scientists behind a new study into the outlook for threatened species...

21 May 2013

The pirate ant: scientists mull bizarre pigmentation of new species


Scientists working in the Philippines have discovered a new enigmatic species of ant with a bizarre pigmentation pattern that has no equivalent anywhere else on the planet...

5 February 2013

Significant bacterial populations found in upper atmosphere


Using a DC-8 aircraft to scoop-up air samples from the troposphere, scientists have identified significant numbers of living microorganisms - mostly bacteria - six miles above the Earth's surface...

18 December 2012

New type of cell division discovered


Scientists trying to understand the cellular mechanics of how cancer begins have discovered a new type of cell division which they have named klerokinesis. The researchers believe that klerokinesis could be an evolutionary failsafe mechanism, the function of which is to "rescue" a range of cell functions during embryonic development...

13 December 2012

Rethink creation of life in terms of information, argues new theory


Attempts to recreate the emergence of life by mixing and reacting basic chemicals are wrong-headed, argue two US scientists, who instead propose that it is the informational architecture of a system's chemical networks that allows it to gain causal purchase over its components and become alive...

23 October 2012

Precognition may exist in biological processes, suggests new review


After reviewing more than 30 years worth of studies into "anomalous anticipatory activity," researchers at Northwestern University think the phenomenon of presentiment might be related to recent findings in the field of quantum biology...

14 September 2012

Bolivian park may be most biodiverse area on planet


The Wildlife Conservation Society says a remote park in northwest Bolivia may be the most biologically diverse place on Earth, boasting 11 percent of the world's birds, more than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties...

6 June 2012

Social behavior shared across all vertebrates


Humans, birds, fish and frogs appear to share the same ancient neural circuits that are responsible for a range of social behaviors, from flashy mating displays to aggression and monogamy...

25 May 2012

Quantum effect in photosynthesis leaves researchers mystified


Using ultrafast spectroscopy, scientists have observed what happens at the subatomic level during the very first stage of photosynthesis and uncovered a much more fundamental interaction than had previously been considered possible...

6 March 2012

Tiny jellyfish has proto-eye linked to stingers


The first steps in the evolution of an eye may be evident in the hydra's stinging tentacles, say scientists who have discovered the tentacles are light sensitive and operate in fundamentally the same way as the eyes in animals and humans...

16 February 2012

Tiny new reptile species discovered


Four new species of miniaturized lizards have been identified in Madagascar. Zoologists believe the tiny size of the chameleons may represent a case of "double" island dwarfism...

22 December 2011

Return of wolves triggers renaissance in Yellowstone ecosystem


Fifteen years after the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park a beautifully revitalized ecosystem is emerging. Researchers studying the park say their observations provide "persuasive" evidence of the importance of top predators to biodiversity and ecosystem health...

8 December 2011

Biologists hack cellular signaling to create eyes on-demand


By manipulating the natural bioelectrical communication signals that travel between cells, US scientists were able to trigger the growth of eyes on tadpoles outside of the head area...

10 October 2011

Fish frequent flyers


A new study into how fish behave when stranded on land suggests that excursions onto dry land may be a much more frequent event than previously thought...

20 September 2011

Cool findings from yawning research


Very little research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning and there is still no consensus about yawning's purpose. Now, Princeton researchers propose that yawning is triggered by increases in brain temperature and its function is to cool the brain...

6 September 2011

See-through critters get biologists excited


A ground-breaking new chemical reagent developed in Japan turns biological tissues transparent, opening the door to experiments and biological investigations that haven't been possible before...

17 August 2011

Analysis of biosynthesis in plants reveals a "perplexing disparity"


Researchers using the tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals have discovered that nature skews biosynthesis to favor the creation of rarer chemicals...

11 August 2011

Scared of the wrong things? Enzyme imbalance may be the cause


Do you run when you should stay? Are you afraid of certain things for no logical reason? An enzyme deficiency might be to blame, say the authors of a new study...

20 July 2011

Inactive cells modified to generate and transmit electrical current


By genetically modifying normally "unexcitable" cells, bioengineers have turned them into cells capable of generating and passing electrical current; a breakthrough which could have broad implications in treating diseases of the nervous system or the heart...

22 June 2011

Humans may be able to "see" magnetic fields


Humans are not considered to have an innate magnetic sense but new research shows that a protein expressed in the human retina can sense magnetic fields...

14 June 2011

Living cell turned into a laser


Researchers have genetically engineered a single cell to express green fluorescent protein that amplifies photons into pulses of laser light...

29 March 2011

Aphrodisiac plants put under the microscope


The scientists who examined findings from recent research into the aphrodisiac properties of plants say that both ginseng and saffron appear to enhance sexual function and there is evidence that other plants can increase sexual desire...

14 February 2011

Invasive plants can improve biodiversity, ecosystem health


Scientists have found that human-introduced, invasive species of plants can - contrary to prevailing ideas - have positive effects on ecological communities. The research has wide implications for the way environmental managers respond to ecosystem maintenance...

28 June 2010

Fundamental misreading of cell signaling revealed


In new research that will impact our understanding of basic biological processes, scientists have discovered that the way cells "talk" to each other is far more complicated and nuanced than previously thought...

18 June 2010

Sense of direction hard-wired into brain


First suggested by 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant, scientists now have empirical evidence for the theory that a pre-wired spatial framework is present in mammalian brains...

6 May 2010

Organic farming "a luxury we can't afford," concludes UK report


Organic farming is perceived as wildlife friendly, but the benefits to birds, bees and butterflies don't compensate for the lower yields produced, according to a new study from the University of Leeds...

4 February 2010

Viagra found to enhance fetal growth


Not content with erections, Pfizer have been funding left-of-field studies for other potential applications for their stiffy dysfunction treatment. The latest finding to come from Pfizer's, er, benevolence? That the drug can enhance fetal growth - at least in pregnant sheep...

11 January 2010

Gardeners half-correct about midday watering


Gardeners have always maintained that watering plants in sunlight can damage the foliage, but new research shows that it isn't quite that simple...

10 November 2009

Biologists plot concept of "organismality"


A new paper argues that high levels of cooperation and low levels of conflict - from the genetic level on up - give a living thing its "organismality," whether it's an animal, a plant, a bacterium, or a colony...

3 November 2009

Nutrients from animal carcasses a missing piece of biodiversity jigsaw


A new study demonstrates an unforeseen link between the hunting behavior of wolves and biochemical hot spots on the landscape that provide vital nutrients for plantlife...

16 October 2009

False memories implanted into flies


By directly manipulating the activity of individual neurons, scientists have given flies memories of a bad experience they never really had...

28 August 2009

Ant species goes female-only


It was thought that all social insect species could produce, when needed, a crop of males who would go forth and fertilize new queens, but researchers now say the ant Mycocepurus smithii reproduces without fertilization and males of the species are nonexistent...

21 August 2009

Appendix redux


Charles Darwin was wrong: the appendix is much more than an evolutionary remnant. Not only does it appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected...

14 August 2009

Potent pathogen cocktail found in deserted hives


Honeybees in colonies affected by colony collapse disorder (CCD) have higher levels of pathogens than their non-affected counterparts, but no individual pathogen can be singled out as the cause of CCD, according to a new international study...

12 August 2009

The strange case of the zombie ants


A fungal parasite that attacks carpenter ants is able to control them and force them into dying in just the right spot for the fungus to grow and reproduce...

11 August 2009

"Flying frog" discovered in Eastern Himalayas


More than 300 new species, including a flying frog and a 100 million-year old gecko, have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas, a biological treasure trove that scientists say is now threatened by climate change...

27 July 2009

Ants trump humans in decision-making


US researchers have shown that ants can accomplish a task more rationally than humans. The scientists explain that it is not the case of humans being "stupider" than ants, rather that humans often make irrational choices when faced with challenging decisions...

23 July 2009

Predator-prey relationships a key driver in nature's synchronicity


Synchronicity in nature is seen in beating hearts and the simultaneous rise and fall of populations across vast reaches. Now, scientists have identified that predator-prey interactions are the "conductors" of this synchronicity in living organisms...

16 July 2009

Short-term memory observed in 30-week-old fetuses


In a new study from the Netherlands, scientists have found evidence of short-term memory in fetuses at 30 weeks...

7 July 2009

The joy of sex - courtesy of parasites


Why do we have sex? From an evolutionary perspective, the answer is not as obvious as you might think. And now, a new study suggests that sex may have evolved mainly as a defense against parasites...

19 June 2009

New computational methodology could revolutionize evolutionary biology


Detailed, accurate evolutionary trees that reveal the relatedness of living things can now be determined much faster and for thousands of species with the help of a novel computing method...

18 June 2009

Bacteria found to exhibit anticipatory behavior


Bacteria can anticipate future events and prepare for them, according to new research that explores how a microorganism's genetic networks are hard-wired to "foresee" what comes next in a sequence of events...

29 April 2009

Constructal law unifies animate and inanimate designs of nature


A Duke University engineer believes that he has now unified both the biological and geophysical principles of nature's design through the constructal law, which can also be viewed as the physics of evolution...

23 January 2009

Female companions boost male fertility


Living with a female mouse can extend the reproductive life of a male mouse by as much as 20 percent, according to a study which scientists say has significant implications for the maintenance of male fertility in wildlife, livestock and even human populations...

13 November 2008

Ovulation triggers female risk-taking behavior


It has long been recognized that women's preferences for masculine men change throughout their menstrual cycle, but a new study from the Kinsey Institute pinpoints the areas of the brain that change around ovulation and reveals how these changes affect both sensory discrimination and risk processing...

23 July 2008

Two Bees? Aw, Not Two Bees...


The cause of the widespread decline in pollinating bee populations has still not been explained, but new research has revealed an alarmingly rapid spread of the pathogen Crithidia bombi from commercial bees to their wild pollinating cousins...

19 June 2008

Microbe Colonies Show Sophisticated Learning Behaviors


A cross-disciplinary team of biologists and engineers investigating how simple biochemical networks can perform sophisticated computational tasks have observed bacterial colonies anticipating coming changes in their environment and adjusting their behaviors accordingly...

11 June 2008

Omega-6 Intake Can Determine Offspring Gender In Sheep


Researchers at the University of Missouri have established that maternal diet can influence the gender of offspring in sheep, and a diet enriched with omega-6 fats offers a significantly higher chance of male offspring...

3 June 2008

Anchovies A Tasty Entrée Into The Marine World For Toxoplasma Gondii


Not content messing with the brains of land mammals, cat parasite T. gondii is now making significant inroads into the marine world thanks to the humble anchovy...

8 May 2008

Biodiversity: It's In The Water


A new method for predicting biodiversity, described by its creators as "ridiculously simple," uses only the geomorphology of a river network and rainfall measurements to accurately predict the biodiversity of species in a river system...

24 April 2008

More Evidence Of Link Between Reproductive System And Aging


Eliminating the cells that make eggs and sperm in fruit flies extends the flies' lifespan, suggesting that molecular signals from the reproductive system are directly linked to aging and metabolism in animals...

2 March 2008

Citizen Scientists And The Web Of Life


A new online resource will allow scientists and "citizen scientists" to collaborate on an unprecedented project called the Encyclopedia of Life, which will eventually contain detailed entries for every living creature on Earth...



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