MANTIS SHRIMP SIGHT
Even though the eye-catching mantis shrimp has 12 different color receptor cones (compared to humans’ three for red, blue, and green), it may be worse at discerning colors.
The dark areas of the eye are called the pseudopupil, is created by the facets of the eye that are looking directly at you. You will notice that the mantis shrimp often has three separate pseudopopils in each eye looking at you, this gives them trinocular depth perception in each eye independently. You will also sometimes see the pseudopupils get very large. This is when the animal points the acute zone of the eye at you. The acute zone has much greater resolution than the rest of the eye, and is analogous to our fovea.
Histology Look-a-like #115
Embryonic head (upside down) v Sam the Eagle (The Muppets)
An embryonic head (that looks like a Muppet) walks into his local Subway.
Sandwich Artist: What kind of sub can I get for you today sir?
Embryonic head (that looks like a Muppet): erm… *pauses* …I’ll have an ham…Do doo be-do-do
Eyes - developing mandibular bone (intra-membranous ossification)
Pupils - Meckel’s cartilage
Nose - developing tongue
Oral cavity - oral cavity
Chin - developing hard palate and, centrally, cartilage of nasal septum
City Lights Threaten Rainforests by Deterring Bats
by Paul Sutherland
Fruit-eating bats play an important role in forest regeneration, collecting and spreading seeds far and wide. However, human development may be stymying bat-mediated dispersal.
In a new study published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that fruit bats avoid feeding in light-polluted areas, which may significantly affect forest growth.
Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin (IZW), undertook the study in Costa Rica, and focused on Sowell’s short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli), a species found throughout Central America and Mexico. The findings of their study indicate that artificial lights may deter these bats from feeding on fruit and spreading seeds by 25 to 50 percent…
(read more: MongaBay)
Photograph by Alex Borisenko
A terrible disease and yet maybe a hope against osteroporosis?
"Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva" (FOP) skeletonizes body tissue and makes the victim imprisoned in its own body.
What you see in the photo is complete bone tissue.
You might not think about your bones very often unless you break one. When you break a bone, the bone heals itself and begins to regrow. But, what if your muscles, tendons and ligaments turned to bone? What if you formed a skeleton on top of the one you already have? That’s what happens with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, or FOP.
FOP patients’ bones fuse together, essentially forming a second skeleton out of the tendons, ligaments and muscles- a true metamorphosis. The skeleton is almost one solid piece, and sheets of bone exist where they should not.
In FOP patients, extra bone formation almost always starts at the neck, spine and shoulders. Only then does it move to the other joints. Eventually, people with FOP will probably lose most of their mobility. Joints lock, and bones can twist into odd positions. Often, the jaw fuses together either spontaneously or as a result of an injection for dental work, which makes eating and brushing teeth extremely difficult.
The skeleton will fuse into one position, and that is the position a person with FOP will stay in for the rest of his or her life. Any attempt to remove the extra bone only leads to more extra bone re-formation. Only 700 people worldwide are known to have FOP, which makes this disorder extremely rare.
The reason for this disease seems to be a mutation in the gene encoding Activin receptor IA (ACVR1), that is important for the regulation of ossification (the production of bone tissue). This gene helps control bone morphogenetic proteins, or BMPs.
In FOP, the gene is active without BMPs- operating like a leaky faucet. When BMPs are present, the faucet explodes with activity and lacks inhibition. So it initiates ossification processes that can’t be regulated anymore.
However, the positive aspect of this syndrome is: This genetical clue might someday help scientists figure out how to make extra bone for people who need it, like people with osteoporosis.
Image found on wikipedia
A mummy of an Egyptian woman dating back to 700 A.D. has been scanned and stripped to reveal a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael.
The discovery, announced by researchers at the British Museum over the weekend, was made during a research project that used advanced medical scans, including Computed Tomography (CT) images, to examine Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.
The woman’s body was wrapped in a woolen and linen cloth before burial, and her remains were mummified in the desert heat. As deciphered by curators, the tattoo on her thigh, written in ancient Greek, reads Μιχαήλ, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.
Curators at the museum speculate that the tattoo was a symbol worn for religious and spiritual protection, though they declined to offer additional details.
“There are more atoms in your eye than there are stars in all the galaxies in the known universe.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson (via harmonyoftheworlds)
Max Brödel - an observational drawing of early 20th century brain surgery.
What an adorable living toupee THAT WANTS YOU DEAD
#4. A Cuddly Caterpillar With Hidden Venomous Spines
That is the larval form of the Megalopyge opercularis moth, best known as the puss caterpillar because it looks like a total pussy … cat?
But you must resist the urge to frolic with the puss caterpillar, because it is one of the most venomous caterpillars in the United States.
…an extinct genus of paenungulate mammals that lived during the late Eocene and the early Oligocene of northern Africa. Although Arsinoitherium looks like a rhinoceros its actually more closely related to elephants, sirenians, desmostylians and hyraxes. Arsinoitherium boasted a pair of enormous knife-liked horns that projected from above their nose, their exact function is unknown but it is suggested that they might have been hollow and used as a sound resonator. Arsinoitherium probably inhabited tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps and would of feed on plant matter. Their large size would of rendered them immune to predation. However, creodonts might have preyed on their young and sick.
Bacterial transformation is a widely used method where foreign DNA is introduced into a bacterium, which can then amplify, or clone the DNA. Cells that have the ability to readily take up this DNA are called competent cells. Although transformation is naturally occurring in many types of bacteria, scientists have found ways to artificially induce and enhance a bacterial cell’s competency.
Check this video to know more about one of these ways, the heat shock transformation.
For the first time in its history, the Vancouver Aquarium has bred Panamanian golden frogs – a species so rare it is considered nearly extinct in the wild.
The brightly coloured, poisonous frog – scientific name Atelopus zeteki – has experienced what the aquarium calls a “catastrophic population decline” in the wild, with about an 80 per cent decrease in the past decade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies it as “critically endangered.”
The depopulation is largely attributed to chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease caused by an aquatic fungal pathogen, as well as habitat deforestation and collection for the pet trade. The Panamanian golden frog is native to the tropical, mountainous forests of western-central Panama, of which it is the national animal.
In efforts to save the Panamanian golden frogs from extinction, the government of Panama provided a number of the frogs to zoos and aquariums around the world – including the San Diego and Maryland zoos – to breed “assurance populations.” This marks the first season that the Vancouver Aquarium has joined those efforts.
“Since this species is in critical danger of disappearing from its natural habitat, a number of institutions throughout the world, including ours, are working to maintain the genetic diversity of this species with the goal of one day re-populating their native ecosystem,” said Dennis Thoney, the aquarium’s director of animal operations, in a statement.
The aquarium now has 15 adult Panamanian golden frogs – five males and 10 females – along with the countless tadpoles that are still being hatched.
A young Klaas’s Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx klaas), being fed by his host parent, a sunbird.
Photo: Jacek Nalepa.