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Tomato frog (Dyscophus)

Tomato frogs are any of the three species of genus Dyscophus (family Microhylidae): D. antongilii, D. insularis, or D. guineti. They are endemic to Madagascar. When threatened, a tomato frog puffs up its body. If a predator grabs a tomato frog in its mouth, the frog’s skin secretes a thick substance that gums up the predator’s eyes and mouth, causing the predator to release the frog to free up its eyes. The gummy substance contains a toxin that occasionally causes allergic reactions in humans. The lifespan of the tomato frog can be from 6 to 8 years. They tend to eat small insects and invertebrates.

photo credits: lonestardigital, Franco Andreone

Diatoms

WHAT’S THAT?
Diatoms
are tiny, mostly single-celled algae that live in water. They’re known for their mesmerizing shapes and symmetry, but don’t let their beauty fool you: these guys contribute up to 45% of the ocean’s total source of organic nutrients and 20% of the oxygen you breathe.

WHAT’S THE LATEST?
Recent research
has found that diatoms are sensitive to their climates. Warmer climates throughout Earth’s history have caused a decrease in diatom diversity. It’s believed that warming climates now will jeopardize the extinction of a large number of diatoms, which could harm worldwide ecosystems and food chains that humans depend on. Scientists warn it’s still too early to extrapolate this data to manmade global warming.

Image by Christian Gautier/Nikon Small World.

mouseyfox said [reply to this post]:

…I don’t think they really understand how genes are passed down. There is no magical strand that says darker skin = no red hair. There ARE people with dark skin with red hair. It exists, it’s really actually a thing.

And here I thought the three separate times I said “stop asking for science when you don’t even understand science” would suffice. Apparently, I must spell this out for people, considering how many are replying with this bit of information.

Apparently we ARE still stuck in 1844 if I have to explain to people that race is a social category as opposed to a biological one. Hair color does not dictate race. 

And as a last ditch effort to keep this from running completely off the rails, here’s an article that magnius159 left in the notes about why haircolor changes after you die, and why many mummies have reddish hair. [note: there is a photo of a preserved dead human body at the link.]

And if I have to explain what henna is I think I might have to just give up forever, so please can we not?

Vision Gene Found in Blind Water Beetles

A team of scientists from Australia has discovered that a species of blind water beetle called Limbodessus palmulaoides – living underground for millions of years – expresses a vision gene (opsin) that is usually only found in beetle species with eyes. The researchers say their discovery challenges the classic Darwinian view of evolution.

“Opsin proteins form visual pigments which turn photons of light into a signal that is sent to the brain,” said Dr Simon Tierney of the University of Adelaide, the first author of a paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

“We expect to find opsin in beetles living above ground but to find them in those living in the dark is extraordinary.”

He added: “the presence of these gene products is unusual, not only because there is no light to activate the signalling pathways underground, but because these beetles are also eyeless.”

Continue Reading.

Cell’s recycling team helps sound alarm on pathogens

Just as households have garbage disposals and recycling bins for getting rid of everyday waste, the cell has its own system for cleaning up unnecessary or defunct components. This process, known as autophagy, is also an efficient method of eliminating unwanted visitors like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

But when it comes to combatting a fungal invader, Duke researchers have found that the cleanup crew takes a less straightforward approach. Rather than killing fungal invaders directly, autophagy is used to chew up a molecule that would otherwise hold back the immune response. It’s sort of like breaking the glass on an alarm to allow the button to be pushed.

The finding appears January 22 in Nature Communications.

"The real frontline killers of fungi are (white blood cells called) neutrophils, but they are kept at bay by a molecule called A20," said Mari L. Shinohara, Ph.D., senior study author and assistant professor of immunology, molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine.

Citation: “Autophagy enhances NF?B activity in tissue-dependent macrophages by sequestering A20 to boost anti-fungal immunity,” Masashi Kanayama, Makoto Inoue, Keiko Danzaki, Gianna Hammer, You-Wen He and Mari L. Shinohara. Nature Communications, Jan. 22, 2015. DOI: NCOMMS6779

Normal neutrophil in a smear (Source)

Burying beetle (Nicrophorus germanicus). Via Phys.org: Researchers find evolutionary reasons for homosexual behavior in beetles:

In studying the data, the researchers found that as the availability of females was reduced, the male beetles increasingly became more accepting of both male and female beetles, suggesting that as their chances for reproducing became slimmer and slimmer, they became more likely to mate with any beetle they encountered regardless of its gender, leading to increased instances of SSB (Same-sex Sexual Behavior). In contrast, the trend was very clearly reduced as more and more females were introduced into containers holding males.

WILD DOLPHINS EXCHANGE NAMES WHEN THEY MEET AT SEA

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), is one of very few animals that, through vocal learning, can invent novel acoustic signals and copy whistles of conspecifics. Furthermore, receivers can extract identity information from the invented part of whistles. In captivity, dolphins use such signature whistles while separated from the rest of their group. However, little is known about how they use them at sea. If signature whistles are the main vehicle to transmit identity information, then dolphins should exchange these whistles in contexts where groups or individuals join. We used passive acoustic localization during focal boat follows to observe signature whistle use in the wild. We found that stereotypic whistle exchanges occurred primarily when groups of dolphins met and joined at sea. A sequence analysis verified that most of the whistles used during joins were signature whistles. Whistle matching or copying was not observed in any of the joins. The data show that signature whistle exchanges are a significant part of a greeting sequence that allows dolphins to identify conspecifics when encountering them in the wild.

Shuvuuia deserti

Source: http://malvit.deviantart.com/art/Shuvuuia-deserti-317980011

Name: Shuvuuia deserti

Name Meaning: Desert Bird

First Described: 1998

Described By: Chiappe, Norell & Clark

ClassificationDinosauria, Sauirschia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Maniraptoriformes, Maniraptora, Alvarezsauria, Alvarezsauroidea, Alvarezsauridae, Parvicursorinae, Mononykini

Shuvuuia is our last alvarezsaur, and is arguably one of the most famous ones, given its appearance in Dinosaur Planet. It was found in the Djadochta Formation in Mongolia and lived in the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous, about 75 million years ago. It lived alongside such famous dinosaurs as Velociraptor and Protoceratops. It was probably about 60 centimeters long, and is one of the smallest known dinosaurs. It was very well preserved, with feather impressions, and is known from several individuals. It was lightly built, with a long and slender jaw, and only had one functional finger, though it still did have reduced second and third fingers. It probably was a fast runner and primarily ate insects. 

In other news, I hate the new tumblr layout and it made making this factfile 1000000% harder. Oh my god xkit guy come back I need your help with the tags. 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuvuuia

http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/s/shuvuuia.html

Shout out goes to plebeiantologist!

30.01.15 @9:42am

Finally finished all my Biology homework! I’m so proud of myself :) Even though cells (and everything related) has always been my favourite topic, I am pleased to have gotten everything in order before I start back at school on Monday.

Just a few techie things, I highly recommend using the Pomodoro app if you struggle with stamina whilst doing work, because your breaks (once you get the timing and everything right) really replenish you. Also, I really enjoy my set up because it doesn’t hurt my neck, although my touch typing skills need to be sharpened a little aha!

Did Genes Linked to Health Problems Once Hold Benefits?

Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, can cause rashes that itch and sting. So why would a genetic susceptibility to this and other ailments persist for hundreds of thousands of years, afflicting our ancient ancestors, and us?

That’s the question scientists are asking after discovering that genetic variations associated with some modern maladies are extremely old, predating the evolution of Neanderthals, Denisovans and contemporary humans.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2015/01/did-genes-linked-health-problems-once-hold-benefits

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Did you now whales amplify sound with their skull bones?

The skull bones of fin whales (and probably those of other baleen whales ) vibrate and amplify low frequency sounds direct to ear bones. The finding transforms our understanding of baleen whale hearing and provides a means to predict auditory sensitivity across a broad spectrum of sound frequencies.
The din of man-made ocean noise has increased steadily over the past half century. This research provide valuable data for regulatory agencies and concerned large-scale industrial users of the ocean and deep marine environment.

I am a new studyblr and I follow back medblrs/smartblrs/studyblrs (I follow from my primary blog ‘velvetsquats’ 

I’m Sapphire, an aspiring medical student from the UK. I’m having to take my single Chemistry and Biology GCSEs again due to depression and anxiety which ruined my grades last year. This September I am studying psychology, biology, chemistry and history. 

expect: 

  • studyspo (obviously) 
  • mental health/relaxation techniques 
  • pictures of cats 
  • occasional feminist ranting