Tag Archives: animals

Lack of oxygen delayed the appearance of animals on Earth

Geologists are letting the air out of a nagging mystery about the development of animal life on Earth.

Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn’t flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth’s surface. Animals began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period, about 800 million years ago — but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there also was plenty of oxygen? (more…)

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Unchecked Antibiotic Use in Animals May Affect Global Human Health

The increasing production and use of antibiotics, about half of which is used in animal production, is mirrored by the growing number of antibiotic resistance genes, or ARGs, effectively reducing antibiotics’ ability to fend off diseases – in animals and humans.

A study in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that China – the world’s largest producer and consumer of antibiotics – and many other countries don’t monitor the powerful medicine’s usage or impact on the environment. (more…)

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UCLA Professor Leads Effort to Protect Africa’s Rainforests from Ravages of Climate Change

UCLA professor Thomas B. Smith will head an international research project investigating the effects of climate change on biodiversity in Central Africa’s rainforests, under a $4.95 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

UCLA will receive $3 million through the NSF’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program, the agency announced this week. Smith, the director of UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research and a professor with joint appointments at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, will lead the team of U.S. and international researchers. (more…)

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Targeted Micro-Bubbles Detect Artery Inflammation, MU Study Finds

Procedure done in pigs could potentially detect heart disease early in humans

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Heart disease is a leading cause of death throughout the world. Doctors say that it is important to detect heart disease early before it becomes too serious. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found a way that they believe could help detect heart disease before it progresses too far as well as identify patients who are at risk for strokes.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Isabelle Masseau, an assistant teaching professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, found that she could use targeted micro-bubbles to detect artery inflammation in pigs. She says that this procedure may help detect patients with heart disease or who are at risk for strokes before those ailments become too serious by monitoring artery inflammation, as that is an early warning sign of health problems. She says this procedure may also help monitor the effectiveness of artery inflammation treatments. (more…)

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Five-Limbed Brittle Stars Move Bilaterally, Like People

Brittle stars and people have something in common: They move in fundamentally similar ways. Though not bilaterally symmetrical like humans and many other animals, brittle stars have come up with a mechanism to choose any of its five limbs to direct its movement on the seabed. It’s as if each arm can be the creature’s front, capable of locomotion and charting direction. Results appear in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It appears that the brittle star, the humble, five-limbed dragnet of the seabed, moves very similarly to us.

In a series of first-time experiments, Brown University evolutionary biologist Henry Astley discovered that brittle stars, despite having no brain, move in a very coordinated fashion, choosing a central arm to chart direction and then designating other limbs to propel it along. Yet when the brittle star wants to change direction, it designates a new front, meaning that it chooses a new center arm and two other limbs to move. Brittle stars have come up with a mechanism to choose any of its five limbs to be central control, each capable of determining direction or pitching in to help it move. (more…)

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Another World, Magnified

UA undergraduate researcher Ersilia Anghel has been collecting artistic photographs of minerals, plants, animals and humans, illustrating the intersections between the arts and sciences.

Scientists and artists have long collaborated to produce illustrative images and paintings of medical procedures, human anatomy and botanical displays.

But with the emergence of new, advanced technologies, scientists have begun to more readily produce their own photographic works, often times revealing the aesthetics of another world around us. (more…)

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Helping Your Fellow Rat: Rodents Show Empathy-Driven Behavior

*Rats free trapped companions, even when given choice of chocolate instead*

The first evidence of empathy-driven helping behavior in rodents has been observed in laboratory rats that repeatedly free companions from a restraint, according to a new study by University of Chicago neuroscientists.

The observation, published today in Science, places the origin of pro-social helping behavior earlier in the evolutionary tree than previously thought. Though empathetic behavior has been observed anecdotally in non-human primates and other wild species, the concept had not previously been observed in rodents in a laboratory setting. (more…)

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