Creepy Crawlers’ Powers: Spider Venom to Give Hope to Human Medicine?

Spiders are creepy enough to cause goosebumps, but what’s «creepier» is that their venom is way too complex that it is eyed as a potential source of pharmaceutical drugs. Some scientists are enthralled even more to understand its composition.

(Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
There are 46,000 spider species in the world, and around 22 million distinct venom compounds, now collectively termed as «venome.» Through the lens of molecular biology, the spider venom is now being understood and explored for possible pharmaceutical drugs and anti-venoms that can be formulated from it. 
A group of scientists, led by Greta Binford of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and Dr. Jessica Garb of the University of Massachusetts, has wittingly brought spider venom into a higher level. With the dangers posed by exploring this strand of knowledge, Binford and Garb’s team c… Read more

Holy Cow! Ancient Manatee Swimming in Spanish Stone

The fossil of the ancient manatee was found in the stone slabs that had been laid down over two decades ago in the town of Girona in northern Spain. A cobbled street in the Spanish town of Gerona or Girona. (Photo by Mick Russell/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Paleontologists finally have the key to filling in the gaps in sea cow evolution: the fossil of an ancient manatee in a slab of pavement on a Spanish street. The fossil was found in the stone slabs that had been laid down over two decades ago in the town of Girona in northern Spain. Phys.Org reported that a local geologist had submitted a picture of the suspected fossil to Paleourbana, an online database of urban fossils worldwide, attracting the attention of paleontologists worldwide.
In a research presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dr. Manja Voss and Dr. Oliver Hampe of the… Read more

Your Cat Doesn’t Understand You: Here’s How Feline Lovers Can Deal With Their Solitary Pets

Cats can’t connect your yelling with his behavior simply because they are creatures who evolved as solitary hunters and did not develop the ability to catch social cues. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo : Christopher Furlong / Staff)
Don«t take it the wrong way, but your cat doesn»t get you and is maybe even a bit scared of you. You may love them unconditionally, but cats are natural solitary creatures with no understanding of social cues and human behavior, according to a report from Wired.
There are dog people and cat people as a report from Reader’s Digest classified, but the key is understanding how to treat both animals according to their natural inclinations. Tony Buffington, a veterinarian at Ohio State University, explained that few so-called cat people know how to really listen and understand their companion felines.
When dogs — pack anima… Read more

Mutant Mosquitoes in Brazil Unleashed to Wipe Out Their Disease-Carrying Kin

Brazil scientists are working on unleashing around a million genetically modified mosquitoes to try and wipe out their cousins that are carrying and spreading tropical diseases across the country. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo : Mario Tama / Staff)
The answer to mosquito-borne illnesses? Perhaps even more mosquitoes.
According to a report from Phys.Org, Brazil scientists are working on unleashing around a million genetically modified mosquitoes to try and wipe out their cousins that are carrying and spreading tropical diseases across the country.
British firm Oxitec, which developed the new breed mosquitoes, will acclimate with the ordinary species including Aedes aegypti, which brings with it different diseases that have plagued Brazil, such as Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
The method of these factory-bred species is simple… Read more

Antarctic Bay to Become the World’s Largest Marine Reserve

The new marine protected area (MPA) will be established in a 600,000 square miles of the waters of the Ross Sea, which is considered to be one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world.
(Photo : Frances M. Ginter/Getty Images)
A large area in the Antarctic, nearly as big as Alaska, will soon become the world’s largest marine reserve after all member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) reached an agreement putting the Antarctic Bay under special protection from human activities.
The new marine protected area (MPA) will be established in a 600,000 square miles of the waters of the Ross Sea, which is considered to be one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. According to CNN, about 50 percent of ecotype-C killer whales, 40 percent of Adelie penguins and 25 percent of emperor penguins live in the area that wil… Read more

New Study Spotlights Brain Region Responsible for Placebo Response in Pain

A Northwestern University-led team of researchers has identified a region in the brain responsible for the ‘placebo effect’ in pain relief, when a fake treatment actually results in substantial reduction of pain.

In the study, whole-brain degree count maps, collected before the start of treatment, were used to identify potential brain regional markers for placebo propensity. Group differences in whole-brain maps for degree count (number of connections of any location to the rest of the brain) between placebo responders and non-responders identified four brain regions that differentiated placebo responders from non-responders. The highest significant difference was seen for the right midfrontal gyrus. Abbreviations: r-MFG – right midfrontal gyrus; ACC – anterior cingulate cortex; PCC… Read more

Common Swifts Can Stay Ten Months in Air without Landing, Claim Ornithologists

Common swifts ( Apus apus ) remain airborne for 10 months of their non-breeding period, according to a new study by Lund University ornithologists.

A common swift ( Apus apus ). Image credit: N. Camilleri.
While there had been examples of birds remaining in flight for periods of months, including frigate birds and alpine swifts, the evidence on common swifts sets a new record.
“This discovery significantly pushes the boundaries for what we know about animal physiology. A 10-month flight phase is the longest we know of any bird species — it’s a record,” said lead author Prof. Anders Hedenström, from the Department of Biology at Lund University, Sweden.
“When the common swifts leave their breeding site in August for a migration to the Central African rainforests via West Africa, they never touch ground un… Read more

New Study Spotlights Brain Region Responsible for Placebo Response in Pain

A Northwestern University-led team of researchers has identified a region in the brain responsible for the ‘placebo effect’ in pain relief, when a fake treatment actually results in substantial reduction of pain.

In the study, whole-brain degree count maps, collected before the start of treatment, were used to identify potential brain regional markers for placebo propensity. Group differences in whole-brain maps for degree count (number of connections of any location to the rest of the brain) between placebo responders and non-responders identified four brain regions that differentiated placebo responders from non-responders. The highest significant difference was seen for the right midfrontal gyrus. Abbreviations: r-MFG – right midfrontal gyrus; A… Read more

Common Swifts Can Stay Ten Months in Air without Landing, Claim Ornithologists

Common swifts ( Apus apus ) remain airborne for 10 months of their non-breeding period, according to a new study by Lund University ornithologists.

A common swift ( Apus apus ). Image credit: N. Camilleri.
While there had been examples of birds remaining in flight for periods of months, including frigate birds and alpine swifts, the evidence on common swifts sets a new record.
“This discovery significantly pushes the boundaries for what we know about animal physiology. A 10-month flight phase is the longest we know of any bird species — it’s a record,” said lead author Prof. Anders Hedenström, from the Department of Biology at Lund University, Sweden.
“When the common swifts leave their breeding site in August for a migration to the Central African rainforests via Wes… Read more

Let There Be Light! Bioluminescence Breakthrough in Shrimp Can Track Brain Activity

Vanderbilt scientists have developed a probe that causes brain cells to glow in the dark using a bioluminescent species of shrimp. In this image, «Azzam» sails into the night through a field of bioluminescent photo-plankton in the Gulf. (Photo by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race via Getty Images)
Vanderbilt scientists have developed a probe that causes brain cells to glow in the dark. The key ingredient in this research? A bioluminescent species of shrimp.
Carl Johnson, Stevenson professor of Biological Sciences, spearheaded the research that was published in the journal Nature Communications  on October 27, 2016. «For a long time, neuroscientists relied on electrical techniques for recording the activity of neurons,» Johnson stated. “These are very good at monitoring individual neurons but are limited to small numbers of neurons. The… Read more

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