A jawfish nurses a clutch of his own eggs in the shallow waters of the Philippines near Coron Island. The male fish incubates around 400 eggs inside his mouth but has to open it slightly for the water to circulate and provide oxygen for the eggs. Breeding with jawfish works when a female lays her eggs in a male’s mouth and he fertilises and incubates them.He will hide the eggs in a burrow while feeding on zooplankton as they float by.
Picture: Zafer Kizilkaya/Photoshot/Solent News (via Pictures of the day: 21 March 2014 - Telegraph)
The orchid mantis is a VERY popular critter these days, and rightly so. Native to southeast Asia, they are BEAUTIFUL examples of how intricately the forces of natural selection can operate on a genome. The reasoning behind such mimicry is pretty apparent, right? The mantis mimics an orchid flower and thus, has easy access to unsuspecting prey.
Not so fast…
Despite its popularity, there is not a lot of literature out there that has looked at the ecology of the orchid mantis. For starters, it is totally unknown as to what flower, if any, the mantis is mimicking. What little data exists shows that the orchid mantis is frequently found on the flowers of Straits rhododendron (Melastoma polyanthum). A study done in 2013 looked at whether or not the mantis’ disguise offers an attractive stimulus to potential prey. Indeed, there is some evidence for UV absorption as well as convincing bilateral symmetry that is very flower-like. They also exhibit the ability to change there color to some degree depending on their background.
The most interesting aspect of all of this is that the most convincing (and most popular) mimicking the orchid mantis displays is during the juvenile phase. Indeed, most pictures circulating around the web of these insects are those of immature mantises. The adults tend to look rather drab, with long, brownish wing covers. However, they still maintain some aspects of the juvenile traits.
The fact of the matter is, we still don’t know very much about this species. To date, no orchid has ever been identified as being the driving force behind this mimicry. It is speculated that the mimicry is both for protection and for hunting. It just goes to show you how easily popular misconceptions can spread. Until more studies are performed, the orchid mantis will remain a beautiful mystery.
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
Just a reminder that your whole is far greater than the sum of your parts.
At least we know and care who they are!
Top 5 misconceptions about evolution: A guide to demystify the foundation of modern biology.
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Here’s an updated version of the common misconceptions about evolution. I much prefer this one, on account of correctly spelling “descent” vs “decent” :)
Peripheral nerves of a mouse embryo
Unlike the brain and spinal cord that are housed in protective bone, peripheral nerves connect regions of the body to the central nervous system like telephone cables. Peripheral nerves relay movement information from the brain to the muscles, for example, or sensory information from the skin to the brain. Remarkably, and also different from the brain and spinal cord, peripheral nerves have a tremendous capacity to regenerate when injured. Severed peripheral nerves grow about 1 mm per day (about an inch per month) until the two severed ends reconnect and innervate a once paralyzed muscle.
Image by Zhong Hua, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
MRI scan of a human subject from the cranium to the feet.
I can’t be the only one that sees prosciutto, right?
I looked at this and thought about how the fat is marbled through the muscle, like this is a leg roast I’m looking at buying. The stomach-to-thigh transition is the most interesting one as the image spirals and tapers to the knee.
3D printing with stem cells could lead to printable organs
A potentially breakthrough 3D-printing process using human stem cells could be the precursor to printing organs from a patient’s own cells.
Some day in the future, when you need a kidney transplant, you may get a 3D-printed organ created just for you. If scientists are able to achieve that milestone, they may look back fondly at a breakthrough printing process pioneered by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in collaboration with Roslin Cellab, a stem cell technology company.
The printer creates 3D spheroids using delicate embryonic cell cultures floating in a “bio ink” medium. They end up looking like little bubbles. Each droplet can contain as few as five stem cells. Basically, this comes down to the printer “ink” being stem cells rather than plastic or another material.
Dr. Will Shu is part of the research team working on the project. “In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression, and the problem of transplant rejection,” Shu said in a release from Heriot-Watt.
Perhaps most importantly, the stem cells survived the printing process and remained viable. Shu says this is the first time human embryonic stem cells have been 3D printed. Printing out organs may be far down the line, but it’s just one potential application. The method could also be used to print out human tissue for drug testing.
The research results have just been published in Biofabrication under the title “Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates.”
Hangover Mastery of the Day: Become a partying champion with this handy hangover how-to from AsapSCIENCE. There’s a lot of dubious drinking advice out there, so it’s good to have the straight-up, scientific dope all in one place.
This was a great addition to their mini-series on hydration and alcohol. watch all of them, it’s currently at three videos but I’m sure Mitch and Greg would love and be so encouraged by having a larger audience.
‘Brinicle’ Ice Finger of Death - BBC
As sea water freezes to form surface ice, the remaining brine sinks, being much denser and colder than the surrounding water. As it descends, the surrounding water freezes upon contact, creating a ‘brinicle’, a frozen sheath of ice that grows downward towards the sea floor. When it touches the sea floor, it kills anything it touches, encasing them in a tomb of ice.
If you ever visit Melanasia and Australia one cannot help but be amazed by the striking blond hair of some of its inhabitants, since these Pacific islands are populated by some of the darkest skinned people in the world. The Aboriginal people of Australia and the South Pacific islands, such as the Solomon Islands,Vanuatu, and Fiji at birth are born with blond hair. In maturity the hair usually turns a darker brown color, but sometimes remains blond. Now, a study of people from the Solomon Islands shows that they evolved the striking blonde trait independently of people in Europe. These Aborigines are the oldest continuous population outside of Africa. The modern Aborigines are the direct descendants of the first explorers to leave Africa and arrive in the South Pacific 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. Scientist believe this genetic mutation appeared in Europe only about 11,000 years ago during the last ice age. THE ORIGINAL BLONDS…….
I saw this with a comment trail of ignorance so i decided to reblog the OP because this is just cool. I knew of none of this, I wonder what evolutionary benefit there is for people in this part of the world to have such light hair when compared to most other people with skin that dark. This honestly is fascinating.
Toronto becomes first city to mandate green roofs
Toronto is the first city in North America with a bylaw that requires roofs to be green. And we’re not talking about paint. A green roof, also known as a living roof, uses various hardy plants to create a barrier between the sun’s rays and the tiles or shingles of the roof. The plants love the sun, and the building (and its inhabitants) enjoy more comfortable indoor temperatures as a result.
Toronto’s new legislation will require all residential, commercial and institutional buildings over 2,000 square meters to have between 20 and 60 percent living roofs. Although it’s been in place since early 2010, the bylaw will apply to new industrial development as of April 30, 2012. While this is the first city-wide mandate involving green roofs, Toronto’s decision follow’s in the footsteps of other cities, like Chicago and New York.
Under the direction of Mayor Richard Daley the city of Chicago put a 38,800 square foot green roof on a 12 story skyscraper in 2000. Twelve years later, that building now saves $5000 annually on utility bills, and Chicago boasts 7 million square feet of green roof space. New York has followed suit, and since planting a green roof on the Con Edison Learning Centre in Queens, the buildings managers have seen a 34 percent reduction of heat loss in winter, and reduced summer heat gain by 84 percent.
But lower utility bills aren’t the only benefit of planting a living roof. In addition to cooling down the city, green roofs create cleaner air, cleaner water, and provide a peaceful oasis for people, birds and insects in an otherwise polluted, concrete and asphalt-covered environment.