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The Real Question

Why are there millions of people who are so poorly informed about basic science, that they think that evolution is about our having evolved from modern-day monkeys. Why are there millions of people who are happy to take an adamant stance about a subject that they should have flunked in high school if they gave these sorts of erroneous answers, and to think themselves smarter than the world’s scientists despite their being badly misinformed?

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Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

The platypus is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.  The fur is waterproof, and the texture is akin to that of a mole. The platypus uses its tail for storage of fat reserves. It has webbed feet and a large, rubbery snout; these features appear closer to those of a duck than to those of any known mammal. Monotremes are the only mammals known to have a sense of electroreception: they locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions. The platypus is a carnivore: it feeds on annelid worms, insect larvae, freshwater shrimps, and freshwater yabby that it digs out of the riverbed with its snout or catches while swimming. It uses cheek-pouches to carry prey to the surface, where it is eaten.

photo credits: wiki, creatures etranges, gifte, TwoWings, zoochat

Novel mechanism for Crohn’s disease uncovered              

Crohn’s disease is one of a family of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). While it has already been proven to have genetic causes, scientists have now shown that the presence of certain intestinal bacteria also plays a role. A study reported in the Gut journal has shown that in mice, bacterial imbalance in the gut can lead to an inflammation similar to Crohn’s disease, and this can be transmitted to other animals. With this knowledge, researchers plan to further develop the existing practice of transplanting “healthy” bacteria into patients’ intestines and establish this as a conventional treatment for Crohn’s disease.

Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) have now shown that an unfavorable configuration of bacterial networks in the gut really can cause inflammation. As part of the study, they transplanted the intestinal microbiome from sick animals into the intestines of germ-free mice. These mice developed symptoms specific to Crohn’s disease in their small intestine.

“Although we used mice that had an increased genetic disposition towards Crohn’s-type inflammation, they did not develop symptoms until we implanted the intestinal bacteria of affected animals,” explains Prof. Dirk Haller, TUM Chair of Nutrition and Immunology.

Publication:Dysbiotic gut microbiota causes transmissible Crohn’s disease-like ileitis independent of failure in antimicrobial defence; Monika Schaubeck, Thomas Clavel, Jelena Calasan, Ilias Lagkouvardos, Sven Bastiaan Haange, Nico Jehmlich, Martin von Bergen, Aline Dupont, Mathias Hornef, Marijana Basic, André Bleich, Dirk Haller; Gut Published Online First; DOI:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309333: http://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2015/04/16/gutjnl-2015-309333

Caption: The images show Paneth cells in the small intestine. These cells play an important role in immune defense. In mice with Crohn’s-type inflammation, the Paneth cells produce less lysozyme, an important anti-microbial enzyme. Left: Healthy cells producing high levels of lysozyme (light green); right: Damaged Paneth cells producing low levels of lysozyme. Credit: M. Schaubeck / TUM).

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Thanks to new high speed images, it seems knuckles crack when a bubble forms (and not the other way around!).

As tension increases, a cavity suddenly opens between joints that air rushes into; this creates the loud “crack”. The bubble then remains for about 20 minutes until slowly dispersing, making it impossible to crack until the bubble is completely gone. 

Researchers aren’t actually sure why the sound is so loud so research is still ongoing. As for cracking knuckles giving you arthritis? Research points to the ability of being able to crack knuckles as a sign of healthy joints, provided you don’t force it.

(Sciencenews)

Austroraptor cabazai

Source: http://paleo-studies.tumblr.com/post/18364205746/austroraptor-information-sheet

Name: Austroraptor cabazai 

Name Meaning: Southern Thief 

First Described: 2008

Described By: Novas

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Eusaurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Maniraptoriformes, Maniraptora, Pennaraptora, Paraves, Eumaniraptora, Dromaeosauroidea, Dromaeosauridae, Unelagiinae 

Austroraptor was a fairly large species of raptor from the Bajo de Santa Rosa locality of the Allen Formation, in Río Negro, Argentina. It lived in the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous, about 70 million years ago. It actually is on the upper end of dromaeosaurid size, growing up to 5 meters long and 1.5 meters tall. Only Achillobator and Utahraptor approach its length. It is also the largest dromaeosaur found in the Southern Hemisphere. Its known from a partial skull fragment and partial skeletal remains. It had relatively short front limbs, similar to Tianyuraptor and Mahakala. It had conical, non-serrated teeth like spinosaurids. It had a long, narrowing skull, rather than a box like one like most dromaeosaurids. It lived alongside many early mammals, pterosaurs and the titanosaurids Saltasaurus and Rocasaurus, which it may have eaten. 

Sources:

http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/a/austroraptor.html

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

Shout out goes to edorable-ginger!

Oceans are ‘worth US$24 trillion’

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is one of Australia’s leading marine scientists and director of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute in St Lucia. He is also the lead author of Reviving the Ocean Economy, a report published on 23 April by the conservation group WWF, which attempts to estimate the value of the ocean and proposes steps for its safeguarding.

Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2015.17394

The ocean’s riches: a school of brown-striped snapper (Xenocys jessiae), pictured near the Galapagos Islands. David Fleetham/NPL/WWF

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Tetrodotoxin (TTX) - a potent natural toxin

Tetrodotoxin is a potent neurotoxin which derives its name from the fish order Tetraodontiformes that include the *pufferfishes, who are packed with this neurotoxin. A bite from a blue-ringed octopus, eating poorly cooked fugu or crab dishes, and prolonged skin contact with poisonous invertebrates are the potential ways TTX enters the human body. Dr. William H. Light who worked with TTX at the California Academy of Sciences said, “It is 10 to 100 times as lethal as black widow spider venom (depending upon the species) when administered to mice, and more than 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide.”

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Does The Placebo Effect Work On You?

Have you ever heard of the placebo effect? How does it work, and are some people more likely to feel its full effect?

Read More:
Placebos work – even without deception
The placebome: Where genetics and the placebo effect meet
The Powerful Placebo in Cought Studies?

By: DNews.