Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay performs the semi-serious song “Clonie” — about creating the ultimate companion.
Perhaps judging a man by his cologne isn’t as superficial as it seems.Duke University researchers, using sophisticated machinery to analyze hundreds of chemical components in a ringtailed lemur’s distinctive scent, have found that individual males are not only advertising their fitness for fatherhood, but also a bit about their family tree as well.”We now know that there’s information about genetic quality and relatedness in scent,” said Christine Drea, a Duke associate professor of biological anthropology and biology. The male’s scent can reflect his mixture of genes, and to which animals he’s most closely related. “It’s an honest indicator of individual quality that both sexes can recognize,” she said.Lemurs, distant primate cousins of ours who split from the family tree before the monkeys and apes parted ways, have a complex and elaborate scent language that until recently was completely undiscovered by humans. Drea said it’s language that is undoubtedly richer than we can imagine.”All lemurs make use of scent,” she said. “The diversity of glands is just amazing.”Ringtailed males have scent glands on their genitals, shoulders and wrists, each of which makes different scents. Other lemur species also have glands on their heads, chests and hands. Add to these scents the signals that can be conveyed in feces and urine, and there’s a lot of silent, cryptic communication going on in lemur society.Wearing a scent-based nametag declaring one’s genetics is probably useful in avoiding aggression with closely related males, Drea said. It’s also quite likely to help prevent inbreeding by signaling family relationships to females, but the research to prove that is still ongoing.For this study, Drea and postdoctoral fellows Marie Charpentier and MarylÃ¨ne Boulet focused solely on male ringtailed lemurs living at the Duke Lemur Center.The males have a gland and spike on each wrist that is used to scratch and mark saplings with highly aromatic scents. A pair of glands on the shoulders “like misplaced nipples” manufacture squalene, a scent molecule that works like glue to keep the more aromatic compounds in place longer. Males can be seen dabbing the wrist gland on the chest gland and then scratch-marking. The wrist glands are also central to the “stink fighting” of ringtails, in which they rub the glands along the length of their bushy tails, and then foist them into each others’ face to express dominance.Most importantly, the male also has a scent gland on his scrotum that becomes critical to marking territory and advertising fitness during mating season. He does a handstand and rubs this gland directly onto a tree trunk to let any interested lemurs know who he is and what he’s made of.Scent not only speaks volumes, it’s physiologically expensive to make, Drea said. When a lemur is ill or socially stressed, its scent changes dramatically. “If he loses his signals, it’s quite likely its because he’s less genetically fit,” Drea said. “And his sexual or social partners can know that.”Female ringtailed lemurs have just one scent gland in the genital area, but their scent is more complex than the males’. Via scent, females may advertise not only their fertility, but the presence of a pregnancy and how far along it is, Drea said….source and more
Snakes, fish, chickens, and humans all begin life in much the same way. Early in their transformation from an amorphous blob of cells into a fully developed animal, growing cells pinch off into a string of identical segments destined to become individual vertebrae, which will later sprout blood vessels, peripheral nerves, and muscle. These repeated segments ensure that the rod-like spinal column can hunch, arch, and twist.The segmentation process also helps establish some key differences in the body plans of different organisms: while humans have 33 vertebrae, frogs have 10 or fewer, and snakes can have more than 300. …
NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander performed its first wet chemistry experiment on Martian soil flawlessly yesterday, returning a wealth of data that for Phoenix scientists was like winning the lottery.”We are awash in chemistry data,” said Michael Hecht of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA, instrument on Phoenix. “We’re trying to understand what is the chemistry of wet soil on Mars, what’s dissolved in it, how acidic or alkaline it is. With the results we received from Phoenix yesterday, we could begin to tell what aspects of the soil might support life.””This is the first wet-chemical analysis ever done on Mars or any planet, other than Earth,” said Phoenix co-investigator Sam Kounaves of Tufts University, science lead for the wet chemistry investigation.About 80 percent of Phoenix’s first, two-day wet chemistry experiment is now complete. Phoenix has three more wet-chemistry cells for use later in the mission.
Four Stone Hearth, the Lard Edition is here, at Paddy K Swedish Extravaganza. Four Stone Hearth is a blog carnival covering all of anthropology.The home page for Four Stone Hearth is here.. I want to get you excited about this blog carnival, because I am hosting it next time around, for the July 2 edition. Please send me your stuff!
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dog bites and respiratory illness are among the top concerns for travellers to china. Continue reading Going to China? What are your health risks?
Is this some kind of sick joke?Do you remember when Bill Gates retired from Microsoft? There was even a YouTube video about it:That was, like, six months ago.So why do we see this reported on the BBC web site: Continue reading Bill Gates: WTF, man?
to get is phone. He even brought some muscle. Some tough looking guy.He tried to claim the fish was his, of course. He was like “Yea, I had that in my pocket. I was gonna eat it later” and shit. But I didn’t even listen ’cause I remembered it from last month, not making it home from the store in all. It was in the car the whole time.Which all leads me to ask: What ARE all those spaces where things can fall into and get lost in your car doing there? Can’t they be designed OUT of the system?