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September 19 2014

Mammals Respond Instinctively To The Cries Of Other Species' Babies


If you've ever found yourself moved by the sound of a mewling kitten, or a whimpering pup, you know that our species can and does respond to the cries of other animals – but newly published findings suggest this quality is not unique to humans.

In the latest issue of The American Naturalist, biologists Susan Lingle, of the University of Winnipeg, and Tobias Riede, of Glendale Arizona's Midwestern University, report that mother deer will hurry in the direction of distress calls uttered by other infant mammals.

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September 19 2014

Furious Monkeys Rejecting Unequal Pay Explained


Monkeys, chimps and other primates go ballistic when they receive unequal pay, much in the way that humans fume under similar circumstances, according to a new study that also helps to explain the reaction.

The angry response to perceived unfairness evolved in order to support long-term cooperation, according to the research, published in the journal Science.

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September 19 2014

Could You Use A Placebo To Calm Your Anxious Dog?


When a dog is left alone, it can be scary for them. Some dogs get so anxious that they destroy your stuff, scratch up your front door, and bark so loud it annoys your neighbors. But now it looks like there might be a solution - and it involves a simple placebo.

The placebo effect is traditionally thought to require some sort of conscious awareness. The sugar pill you just took helps your headache only because you think it will work. Recent research with rats challenged that assumption, and now it looks like placebos can fool dogs too.

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September 19 2014

People Really Do Look Like Their Dogs, And Here's Why


An experiment Nakajima conducted in 2009 showed that people were, at a rate significantly higher than chance, able to match dogs and their owners simply by looking at photographs of their faces. His findings were similar, he says, to those of previous studies. Taken together, he told The Huffington Post in an email, the evidence from his and other scientists' research shows that the popular belief in dog-owner physical resemblance is empirically valid.

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September 19 2014

Bowl Half Empty: Dogs Can Be Pessimists


If you ask a dog "How are you?" it will probably just wag its tail and wait for you to start playing. "Optimist" would be a fair label for dogs in general. But are some pups, notwithstanding all of the tail-wagging, inherent pessimists?

New PhD research out of the University of Sydney by Dr. Melissa Starling, from the school's Faculty of Veterinary Science, sought to find out if dogs had underlying personalities that tended toward either optimism of pessimism.

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September 18 2014

Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered


More than 3,300 years ago, in a newly built city in Egypt, a woman with an incredibly elaborate hairstyle of lengthy hair extensions was laid to rest.

She was not mummified, her body simply being wrapped in a mat. When archaeologists uncovered her remains they found she wore "a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head"


Photos here

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September 18 2014

Killer Chimps Reveal Why Violence Persists


Chimpanzees and humans share much in common, including cooperating to kill perceived rivals, and now a new study finds that this kind of lethal aggression -- at least among chimps -- is "normal" and sadly all too common.

"Normal," in this case, means that the behavior results from natural and evolved tendencies and does not, as some other researchers have suggested, emerge in response to human pressures, such as habitat loss.

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September 18 2014

Shark skin-like surfaces may ward off hospital superbugs


A material that mimics shark skin, covered with tiny ridges and groves, may help reduce the spread of bacteria in hospitals, a new study suggests.

The study examined how well the shark skin-like material which has bumps that are too small for the eye to see could prevent the growth and spread of disease-causing bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, which are resistant to the antibiotics typically used to treat staph infections, and are known for causing infections in hospitals.

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September 18 2014

Each tree species has unique bacterial identity, microbiome research shows


Each tree species has its own bacterial identity. That's the conclusion of University of Oregon researchers and colleagues from other institutions who studied the genetic fingerprints of bacteria on 57 species of trees growing on a Panamanian island.

"This study demonstrates for the first time that host plants from different plant families and with different ecological strategies possess very different microbial communities on their leaves".

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September 18 2014

Boosting armor for nuclear-waste eating microbes


A microbe developed to clean up nuclear waste and patented by a Michigan State University researcher has just been improved.

In earlier research, Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist, identified that Geobacter bacteria's tiny conductive hair-like appendages, or pili, did the yeoman's share of remediation. By increasing the strength of the pili nanowires, she improved their ability to clean up uranium and other toxic wastes.

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September 18 2014

This Bizarre Organism Builds Itself a New Genome Every Time It Has Sex


Oxytricha trifallax lives in ponds all over the world. Under an electron microscope it looks like a football adorned with tassels. The tiny fringes are the cilia it uses to move around and gobble up algae. What makes Oxytricha unusual, however, is the crazy things it does with its DNA.

Unlike humans and most other organisms on Earth, Oxytricha doesn’t have sex to increase its numbers. It has sex to reinvent itself.

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September 18 2014

How drugs are entering UK water systems through urine


As drugs - both legal and illegal - pass through us, they enter the UK's waterways. But can this really lead to a change in the feeding habits, and even the sex, of wildlife?

"At a biochemical, molecular level, a fish is extraordinarily similar to you and I," he explains. "So almost every drug target in a human - receptors, enzymes, ion channels - is present in fish. And they do the same thing."


Related: Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium?

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September 18 2014

Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists


Artificial sweeteners may contribute to soaring levels of diabetes, according to a controversial study that suggests the additives could exacerbate the problem they are meant to tackle.

Researchers in Israel found that artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks and other foods can disrupt healthy microbes that live in the gut, leading to higher blood sugar levels – an early sign of diabetes.


Related: Sugar substitutes linked to obesity

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September 18 2014

People are attracted to the body odor of others with similar political beliefs


A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other's body odor.

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September 18 2014

How Smiling Can Backfire


You may fool others, but it is hard to fool yourself

If you’re reading this at a desk, do me a favor. Grab a pen or pencil and hold the end between your teeth so it doesn’t touch your lips. As you read on, stay that way—science suggests you’ll find this article more amusing if you do. Why? Notice that holding a pencil in this manner puts your face in the shape of a smile. And research in psychology says that the things we do—smiling at a joke, giving a gift to a friend, or even running from a bear—influence how we feel.

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September 18 2014

Teen drug and alcohol use continues to fall, new federal data show


Drug and alcohol use among America's teens continues to trend downward, according to new numbers released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. From 2002 to 2013, the average American teenager's odds of regular (at least monthly) tobacco use nearly halved. Recreational use of prescription painkillers saw a similar decline.

Teen marijuana use, a contentious topic now that several states have legalized marijuana sales, is also on the decline.

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September 18 2014

What’s Up With That: Why Do All My Friends Like the Same Music?


Music has chemistry, both in maintaining friendships and helping us forge new ones. But science is still pretty far behind in understanding music’s power to create social bonds. “To this day, it hasn’t struck people that there must have been tremendous evolutionary pressure for music,” said Petr Janata, a psychologist who studies music and the brain at UC Davis. But this doesn’t mean we are completely without answers. Since at least the late ’80s, researchers have been studying how music affects peoples’ social lives.

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