Tag Archives: university of calgary

Stress makes snails forgetful

Snail study reveals that stress is bad for memory.

New research on pond snails has revealed that high levels of stress can block memory processes. Researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Calgary trained snails and found that when they were exposed to multiple stressful events they were unable remember what they had learned.

Previous research has shown that stress also affects human ability to remember. This study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that experiencing multiple stressful events simultaneously has a cumulative detrimental effect on memory. (more…)

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Small, Speedy Plant-Eater Extends Knowledge of Dinosaur Ecosystems

Bethesda, MD — Dinosaurs are often thought of as large, fierce animals, but new research highlights a previously overlooked diversity of small dinosaurs. In the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, a team of paleontologists from the University of Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and University of Calgary have described a new dinosaur, the smallest plant-eating dinosaur species known from Canada. Albertadromeus syntarsus was identified from a partial hind leg, and other skeletal elements, that indicate it was a speedy runner. Approximately 1.6 m (5 ft) long, it weighed about 16 kg (30 lbs), comparable to a large turkey.  

Albertadromeus lived in what is now southern Alberta in the Late Cretaceous, about 77 million years ago. Albertadromeus syntarsus means “Alberta runner with fused foot bones”. Unlike its much larger ornithopod cousins, the duckbilled dinosaurs, its two fused lower leg bones would have made it a fast, agile two-legged runner. This animal is the smallest known plant-eating dinosaur in its ecosystem, and researchers hypothesize that it used its speed to avoid predation by the many species of meat-eating dinosaurs that lived at the same time.   (more…)

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March of the Pathogens: Parasite Metabolism Can Foretell Disease Ranges under Climate Change

Knowing the temperatures that viruses, bacteria, worms and all other parasites need to grow and survive could help determine the future range of infectious diseases under climate change, according to new research.

Princeton University researchers developed a model that can identify the prospects for nearly any disease-causing parasite as the Earth grows warmer, even if little is known about the organism. Their method calculates how the projected temperature change for an area would alter the creature’s metabolism and life cycle, the researchers report in the journal Ecology Letters. (more…)

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Gecko Feet Don’t Stick Around

The lizards have gained and lost adhesive toes many times

Who wouldn’t envy the little gecko as it dashes up a smooth wall or hangs from a ceiling by a toe?

An engineer’s dream, gecko feet combine the best of duct tape and Post-It® Notes: They stick, but they don’t stay stuck.

The drive to duplicate gecko feats technologically is a hot area of research. Would-be designers of such a technology should note a new study of geckos’ evolutionary history that could simplify their task immensely. (more…)

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Global Extinction: Gradual Doom as Bad as Abrupt

*In “The Great Dying” 250 million years ago, the end came slowly*

The deadliest mass extinction of all took a long time to kill 90 percent of Earth’s marine life–and it killed in stages–according to a newly published report.

It shows that mass extinctions need not be sudden events.

Thomas Algeo, a geologist at the University of Cincinnati, and 13 colleagues have produced a high-resolution look at the geology of a Permian-Triassic boundary section on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. (more…)

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