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Post Archive
2020 (0)2011 (12)
October (1)

Removing the fear
Sunday, October 9, 2011
July (1)

Natural Born Killers
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
June (1)

The Reality of Dreams
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
May (1)

A Minuet to Mothers
Sunday, May 8, 2011
April (2)

RAP Stars of the Animal Kingdom
Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Own Eureka Moment
Monday, April 4, 2011
March (1)

From the biggest to the smallest
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
February (3)

Alien Invaders!
Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Weird and Wild Ways Animals Have Sex
Monday, February 14, 2011

Thankfully, Mistakes in the Lab Are How We Learn!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
January (2)

Not Your Average Microbe
Friday, January 21, 2011

Extinction is forever
Monday, January 3, 2011
2010 (14)
December (2)

Aliens and Arsenic: A Love Story
Saturday, December 4, 2010

My New Theme Song
Saturday, December 4, 2010
November (2)

Feed Me!
Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Mentoring Roller-coaster
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
October (3)

Off To The Races!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I'd be doing if I wasn't doing science - A Musical
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My First Ever Video Book Review!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
September (1)

An Unexpected Surprise in London
Saturday, September 11, 2010
August (1)

The Best Week of the Year
Sunday, August 1, 2010
July (5)

A Little Bit About Me
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All the Bite Without the Risk
Monday, July 19, 2010

Ink-credible Invertebrates
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's What's on the Inside That Counts
Monday, July 5, 2010

The Effects of Oil on Wildlife
Monday, July 5, 2010
Blogger Profile

David Manly
Freelance Science Journalist
Toronto Ontario CAN

David Manly is a freelance journalist who will blog about a wide range of topics that all fall under the umbrella of zoology and ecology. While his expertise lies with reptiles and amphibians, he has a wide array of knowledge and interest in all animal species - from the sponge to the great ape. He hopes you will enjoy his blog, as he plans to make it both entertaining and enjoyable (as well as fill it with interesting facts, tidbits, photos and videos).

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Views: 2369 | Comments: 0
First off, I would like to apologize for not posting as recently as I would have liked to on LabSpaces. I've been with LabSpaces blogs since the very beginning, and I would never stop posting ... but, life got in the way.

Over the past few months, I've been busy writing and working, and I let a few things fall away.
So, I apologize for my absence, but I'm back now and will post more frequently. And, I have a very interesting post to share. I hope you enjoy!

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that a human can experience, and it can affect every human being on the planet. However, how do you categorize an emotion? People feel emotions in different ways, and some are more affected by them than others.

The etymology, or origin of the word, is not well known. According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, it comes from the Middle English fer or the Old English fǣr, which stands for sudden danger. This describes the event that caused the emotion, but not the emotion itself. The emotional state of fear was first noticed and defined in the late 12th Century, and is the same definition that we know of today. But is there a better one out there?

To define an emotion is a complex task, but to describe one . . . More
Views: 6645 | Comments: 4
Last by Alchemystress on Jul 10, 2011, 10:52am
Parents screamed, children cried and I looked on in horror at the scene unraveling around me in the Shamu tank at the San Diego Sea World in February 2010.

Death was up to his usual tricks.

The stadium was packed and the trainers were putting the whales through their paces. Birds circled above, eyeing the fish the trainers were using as rewards for Shamu and his pals performing their tricks

But then, a lone brown pelican, about the size of a poodle, landed on the far side of the tank to take advantage of the bounty.

The trainers didn’t notice. But Shamu did.

In an instant, Shamu dove under the water, swam up under the bird, opened his mouth and, with a splash, dragged it down. The trainers realized what happened when the carcass floated to the surface and the whales began fighting over the prize. They immediately stopped the show.

Instinct had trumped training, and Shamu was sent for the killer whale equivalent of a time-out.

A week later at Sea World in Florida, instinct won over conditioning yet again. Only this time, the victim was a female trainer. According to news sources, while the trainer lay down in a shallow area leading into the tank, her ponytail was floating and attracted the whale’s attenti . . . More
Views: 8583 | Comments: 10
Last by Emma Rose on Jun 04, 2012, 9:21am
The past few days have been very interesting and filled with questions and mysteries, but the surprising thing is that none of these events happened while I was awake. For the past four nights, I have experienced some of the craziest dreams in recent memory.

Four nights ago, I had a dream that I hunted poisonous snakes in my den using nothing but a woven blanket and my wits. There were copperheads, asps, king cobras and more. And yet, surprisingly, I only had to deal with one at a time.

It was like the snakes would wait their turn to be confronted by me and my most trusted sidekick, an old friend from elementary school who I hadn’t seen in well over a decade.

Three nights ago I dreamt that I was back in my high school and had to solve calculus equations that took up all the walls in the school. I was able to ask one person for help, so I invited Sheldon Cooper from TV’s The Big Bang Theory, but as soon as he saw them he ran away.

And the brutal taskmaster, my heavily accented calculus teacher from university, said that if I didn’t solve them all perfectly by the end of the school day, the school would blow up.

No pressure, eh?

Two nights ago resulted in one of the weirdest dreams, where space aliens took over C . . . More
Views: 5811 | Comments: 2
Last by Suzy on May 08, 2011, 9:33pm

Today, the second Sunday on May, is Mother’s Day. Right now, as you are reading this, families all over the world are celebrating this holiday in a multitude of ways. Kids that are all grown up may be celebrating with a dinner or breakfast, while new mothers might just be treated to a breakfast in bed (where it Is the thought that counts, not the actual food).

We owe our mother’s a lot of thanks, whether they are our biological ones or not. They raised us, cared for us, nurtured our growth and supported us throughout our lives. One day of thanks is not that hard to do, is it?

(That is not to say Father’s Day isn’t just as important, but that’s a post for the future).

My mom has been a constant source of motivation and support, considering the stories she and my father tell about my twin brother and I as kids. They usually will speak in a hushed tone, and almost marvel at the fact that they actually survived.

But, with all that our respective parents have done, there is one mother that does a lot more – The Pacific Giant Octopus.

Like most octopuses (the accepted plural form, along with octopi and octopodes … see the video here for the explanati . . . More
Views: 1609 | Comments: 4
Last by Suzy on Apr 24, 2011, 1:27pm
It may have been a while since my last post, but man do I have some good stuff to share with you!

Earlier this month, Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) selected the 20 most unique species that the program has found. According to the release, the species shown in the pictures below are "some of the most biologically surprising, unique, or threatened discoveries" ever found.

During the past twenty years, RAP programs have completed an incredible 80 surveys in 27 countries, and usually walked away with a new discovery or two. However, the sad part is that most of these amazing animals are already endangered and/or at risk from pollution, habitat loss, climate change and other human-caused problems.

Of the 20 animals listed, only seven had been previously known to science, but all will hopefully benefit from increased education, protection and involvement by CI and other environmental groups.

It may be too late for some species, but some can be protected. And after looking through the sheer variety of animals on this list, how could you not want t . . . More
Views: 897 | Comments: 4
Last by Ragamuffin on Apr 24, 2011, 7:19pm

Have you ever stopped to consider just how much you learned in school? If you ever take the time to really stop and appreciate it, there is a huge amount!

In school, I learned all about the hidden sub-texts in Macbeth and King Lear, how to write a proper essay, and how the universe was formed. I remember how the Canadian and US judicial systems work, how DNA replicates, and memorized atomic weights for all the commonly used elements in the Periodic Table. All that is just from school, and does not include what I learned through self-exploration.

If you really stop and think, the amount of knowledge stored in our brains is very impressive, but the drive to learn even more is better. Learning new things and expanding your mind to new possibilities and ideas is a fantastic thing to do, and one of the best ways to transfer new information to your brain, is to read.

The best part of reading is when you take something away from the book (which can be fiction or non-fiction) that you did not expect. Recently, I started reading a new book that shattered the foundation of something I learned about in high school and university.

It deals with a very specific type of human cell, what is known throughout the biological community as HeLa cells ( . . . More
Views: 986 | Comments: 8
Last by Suzy on Mar 09, 2011, 12:07am
Biology was always my “thing.”

Starting from a young age, I was always interested in the natural world, why things happen the way they do, and (of course) animals. For some reason, animals always fascinated me with their endless varieties and their amazing adaptations. I could learn everything possible about a particular species, and yet still want more.

I was obsessed with knowledge.

This fascination with animals didn’t start when I was in university, or even high school. No, I’ve been learning everything I could about animals since I was a little kid.

My parents still tell the story of when they signed me and my twin brother up for pee-wee soccer as children. Apparently, I could not have cared less about the ball, the score or the teams. All I cared about was sitting down on the grass and watching the ants crawling along, going about their daily routine, completely unaware of the giants lurking around them.

So, suffice to say, my parents were not in the least surprised when I showed an aptitude for biology.

But, what if I didn’t go into biology/zoology?

I expected to grapple with this question for this theme post for a while, and went through all the different branches of science that I would consider goin . . . More
Views: 423 | Comments: 6
Last by Dr. Girlfriend on Feb 27, 2011, 10:25am
It all began with an email from my thesis supervisor at my undergraduate university advising me on a job posting she saw recently.

The email contained an attachment with lots of details about the job, which did indeed sound perfect for me. It involved travel to exotic locals, adventurous situations and lots and lots of animals. Not only would you be a host of the television show, but you would also interact with the animals and inform the public about the dangers of invasive species!

Naturally, this was right up my alley.

There was one caveat: You needed to make an audition video featuring you and an exotic species. Naturally, I have handled tons of exotic species, from snakes and snapping turtles to tarantuals and chinchilla's. However, I didn't actually have any on me.

I contacted my friends, who were of no help. So, I contacted some pet shops and thankfully, the reptile and amphibian pet store Reptilia, agreed to help and provide me with some animals to use in the audition video. Sadly, they could not let me handle the big animals (despite the fact I was trained, just not by them), as I had hoped to use a crocodile.

But, they agreed to let me use a ball python (as well as a Burmese python, whic . . . More
Views: 19074 | Comments: 9
Last by Sex Chat on Feb 25, 2011, 3:15am
Happy Valentine's Day!

In celebration for this day where people give candy and Hallmark cards to the ones they love, I decided to share a few of the weirdest and wildest animal mating strategies I have ever come across. It almost make you feel lucky to be a Homonid!

Animals have been around much, much longer than us, and will most likely persist long after we are gone. So, animals are the true senseis of sex. They’ve been doing it longer, and are far better at it than we could ever be (yes, even better than the fabled Wilt Chamberlain).

And now, on to the main event!

I have combed through everything I have ever learnt about animals, and I have come up with a list of the five most bizarre, yet still interesting, animal mating strategies. Now, this is by no means a complete list, just the weirdest and most interesting. Believe me, there is a LOT more. If you like it, I’m sure I could be persuaded to write more.

5) Well, it IS stuck

Banana slugs look exactly as their name suggests, are about eight inch slugs the colour of a banana. The interesting thing about these animals is that since they are hermaphrodites, when mating time arises, they both possess female and male sex organs.

. . . More
Views: 1033 | Comments: 5
Last by Neil Losin on Feb 02, 2011, 10:59am
Hooray for Lab Spaces theme days!

The theme for today, if you haven’t already guessed, is the biggest lab mistake that you’ve ever done. And I have two really interesting stories to share with you. One I was (accidentally) responsible for, and one which still mystifies me and my lab mates to this very day!

Back in my undergrad, I started working in a lab the summer before my thesis began, so that I could learn all the procedures and protocol’s before I officially began. Therefore, when I had to start my thesis officially, I could just jump right in!

One of the most painstaking things to learn and master was crafting and developing proper buffer solutions for various experiments that I was running. The assays were always so finicky, that even if you did everything right, the experiment was still not guaranteed to work.

One day, I was titrating (basically changing a solutions pH) a buffer to its proper pH using hydrochloric acid. The procedure was simple, and one that I had done hundreds of times.

You place the solution into a beaker, add a magnetic stirrer, switch it on, insert a pH probe and start to slowly add HCl drop by drop by drop. It’s a boring process, as the pH will lower dramatically, and then stabilize almost back to the origin . . . More
Views: 320 | Comments: 2
Last by David Manly on Jan 21, 2011, 10:32am
A few weeks ago, I went through all my old books in order to donate the ones I had read but would not want to read again. While perusing my immense collection, I came upon one of my favorite books that I read in the past year. While it is not always a happy book, it is both interesting and thought provoking.

My interest in the subject of microbiology started when I took a course in 4th year of my undergraduate degree, due in large part to my mother saying I would enjoy it and having a passive interest in how the so-called "lower organisms" worked.

Man, was I wrong.

I learned to love microbiology and learning about bacteria and viruses – how they work, how they kill, how they fight and how they die. It all interested me, and I soaked up all that information like a sponge.

If there would have been more microbiology courses at my university, I would have taken them and perhaps changed my thesis into something microbial. I still love learning about bacteria and viruses, and will take any opportunity to expand my existing knowledge base.

That is why I was thrilled to get an advanced copy of Maryn McKenna's new book SUPERBUG in early 2010, which deals with the dev . . . More
Views: 572 | Comments: 8
Last by David Manly on Jan 04, 2011, 3:04pm
First off, happy 2011 to one and all! I hope this year started off well for everyone, and that it continues to do so.

Last week, I stumbled upon a book that stopped me dead in my tracks, and it takes a lot for me to stop doing whatever I’m doing (I’m a great multitasker). And yet, this book struck a cord with me, and I felt that I should share with other people interested in such a topic.

What inspired me was this video, embedded below. Before you read the rest of this post, take a seat and watch the video.

RARE from Joel Sartore on Vimeo.

The premise for the book is very simple – showcase some of the most endangered animals in America before they are gone forever. Film can be erased, negatives can be destroyed, but books scattered across the world have a chance to survive and to be shown long after these animals are gone.

The book is entitled, “RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species” by Joel Sartore. You . . . More
Views: 977 | Comments: 12
Last by David Manly on Dec 08, 2010, 8:07pm
Are there aliens among us?

Short answer – No, at least not yet.

Despite the journalistic frenzy that was the NASA press conference held a few days ago, the paper published in the journal Science about a rather unique organism that was hailed as “extraterrestrial” by the news media fell short of its promise.

Sadly, the organism they discuss is clearly terrestrial, albeit an odd one.

In the paper, the author’s discuss a bacterium that was able to use the element arsenic instead of phosphorus, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, a little information is needed regarding DNA.

DNA possesses a backbone of a phosphate bound to a sugar molecule. The phosphate is a phosphorous atom bound to four oxygen atoms. Now remember this, it is important.

Arsenic, which is directly below phosphorus on the periodic table, shares many of the same properties with phosphorous. In fact, arsenic can bind with four oxygen atoms to create arsenate, which behaves in a very similar way to phosphate.

Now, what the researchers did in the science paper was go to Mono Lake in California and find an “extremophile” bacteria, which is a bacteria that can survive in extremely harsh conditions (such as very high salt, temperature, high concentrations of . . . More
Views: 7699 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Dec 05, 2010, 2:02pm

Yesterday was just an odd day.

So, I decided to listen to a bunch of music to brighten my mood. And while I was listening to my happy music, I remembered a song that totally and completely defines ME.

Therefore, I decided to post this video here for you all to enjoy! And, if you've never truly understood me ... this video should help!

P.S. There are TONS more weird animals than are in the video, and eventually I'll do a post on the weirdest/most interesting.

P.P.S. Can you name all the animals in the video?

Views: 9492 | Comments: 5
Last by Evie on Nov 27, 2010, 2:12pm
Plants never quite held an interest to me. I understood their vital roles in the ecosystem, I admired their beauty and their survival in the harshest of climates, and I spent a long time learning how they grow, evolve and reproduce.

But, they never were able to keep my interest compared to animals, which is why I studied zoology and not botany.

However, there are a few species of plants that I do like, and here they are:


From the family Droseraceae, these plants look and act in an interesting way. At first glance, they appear to have some dew on the ends of their long leaves. But, like most plants, looks can be deceiving - they are true killers.

The droplets of dew are not dew at all, but a sticky substance known as mucilage that will trap any unlucky insect that happens to be attracted to the glistening globs.

Once the insect touches down to sample the fake dew, the true marvel of the Sundew is revealed. The plant then contorts its tentacles to the centre of the leaf, and traps the insect with a barrage of sticky globs of mucilage.

Once the insect is cornered, there is no escape.

It is survival of the fittest at its best.

*This entry conta . . . More
Views: 406 | Comments: 2
Last by Kenny on Nov 12, 2010, 12:07pm

To begin this post, I want to talk about the worst teacher I ever had. The reason is because this teacher almost ruined my love of science.

I was always a science kid, who would rather study the ants on the soccer field than run after the ball. I would rather go to the museum or read about animals than play T-ball.

But in grade 10, I had a science teacher (who we will call Mr. L) who was a very competent teacher, but was not the most encouraging person on the planet. He would ask questions on tests that were never covered, as well as ask questions in the most complicated way possible. If you asked him a question in class, he would just shrug it off and tell you to figure it out yourself.

But there is one incident involving a lab report that made me question pursuing science as a career.

The lab report was done in groups, and one of the people in my group had all the data. But, the day before the lab was due, his grandmother in Vancouver passed away, so he flew there with his family immediately. However, he took the lab stuff with him, so there was no way we could get it back.

When we tried to explain the situation to Mr. L, he wouldn’t have it.

He failed all of us on the lab, and wouldn’t even accept it a few days later when . . . More
Views: 464 | Comments: 6
Last by Prabodh Kandala on Oct 17, 2010, 8:56am
I was inspired to write this post based on a movie I saw this weekend entitled “Secretariat”. The movie, which is based on the amazingly true story about a horse that won the Triple Crown (a series of three big races in the United States) that has only been won eleven times.

The movie is inspiring, even though you know how it will end. I still found myself learning forward during the movie, enthralled by what was on the screen. It is definitely the best movie I have seen in the past few months.

But, this post will not be a movie review. Instead, I’m just going to talk about the amazing biology of horses so that you can understand just how amazing these animals are.

Horses evolved around 50 million years ago from Hyracotherium, which was about the size of a fox, but with elongated legs for running and four out of five toes touching the ground. After 20-25 million years, Mesohippus evolved due to the rapid evolution of the prairies. This allowed for widespread running, most of the body weight was distributed onto the third toe. And eventually, these animals evolved in the modern horse (Equus) that we know today.

Now, you are probably wondering - Why is he mentioning the toes of horse?

Well, the most amazing thing about horses are their legs. . . . More
Views: 1502 | Comments: 12
Last by labtech1981 on Oct 10, 2010, 10:27pm
Today's theme of, "What would you be doing if I wasn't doing science," is a very interesting question for me, as I have been into science my entire life! My parents still mention at their attempts to get me into pee-wee soccer, but realizing it was futile when I spent more time looking at the ants in the grass than on the actual ball.

All of my career goals have also been pretty much science related: Paleontologist, Biologist, Zoologist, Microbiologist, and science writer. But, even though I love science, there was one hard choice I made as a kid that could easily have been an alternate career path.

When I was a kid, up until the end of high school, I was an actor.

Ever since I acted in my first elementary school play, I was hooked! I went and saw plays, musicals, movies, etc... and fell in love with the wonderful world of acting.

So, I acted, and I ended up being thrust into the world of musicals. Yes ... musicals.

My first part was in a camp production of Beauty and the Beast, where I played Belle's horse, Phillip (pronounced PHILL-eep). I had one line, but I went after it like lion stalks a gazelle. And it was GLORIOUS. I still remember the line:
"It's getting dark out here, Belle. We better be careful *nei . . . More
Views: 925 | Comments: 6
Last by Jasonistheman on Oct 21, 2010, 9:03am
Howdy folks!

I've been wating to do another book review for some time, as the first one I did on my blog was a large success, but I wanted to try something different. So, I decided to put my band new iMac to work.

I decided that I would film and edit together a video review of a new book that I just finished reading entitled "The Nature of Human Nature," by Dr. Carin Bondar, PhD.

Just one note - This was a quick little video, and any in the future (if you like them), will become better quality. Remember, just like science, this will be a collaborative effort. So, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments section below!

. . . More
Views: 1434 | Comments: 4
Last by David Manly on Sep 13, 2010, 2:02pm
Well, I'm back from my trip to the UK and Europe! I went to Glasgow, London, Paris and Amsterdam for my trip and had an amazing time. I met a lot of great people, and saw sights that I have been wanting to see for a long, long time.

Did you miss me? I know I missed all of you!

Probably the best part of my trip was finally going to London, England. It's one of those places that is so steeped in culture and history, that you cannot help but be in sheer awe of it. I was there for a total of six days and still did not get to see everything I wanted.

But, that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about something that I experienced in a very unusual place in London that was probably the geekiest, and yet best, part of my time in England.

In London, my twin brother and I went with a few other people from our trip to one of the most famous churches and burial grounds in all of England – Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey was originally built for coronations in 1066, but the present church was begun by Henry III in 1245. It currently houses the resting places for seventeen monarchs, and many of the most important individuals in England's history are buried there.

But why am I mentioning this place? . . . More
Views: 1131 | Comments: 4
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 02, 2010, 9:41am
NOTE: This will be my last post for a few weeks, as I am going on a trip to the UK with my brother. But, I am sure I will have plenty of stories to share both here on LabSpaces and on Twitter.

There are certain times throughout the year where you cannot help but feel a sense of contentment – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc...

But not me. I mean, I like birthdays and holidays and spending time with friends and loved ones, but none of those are my favorite time of the year. Mine is a hell of a lot more interesting, dangerous and just plain old fun. And wouldn't you know it; the week begins today, August 1, 2010.

What is it, you ask?

It's Discovery Channel's Shark Week!!!

Since 1987, Shark Week has been delighting fans and scientists alike, and I am no exception.

So, in honor of this, the best time of the year, I present you with information regarding three of my favorite sharks.

Number three – The Hammerhead Shark (of the family Sphyrnidae)

One of the most easily identifiable sharks thanks to its distinctively shaped head, which is flattened into what is known as a cephalofoil. Located at the end of each of the stalks are the eyes, which allow the shark a huge 360-degree view and enha . . . More
Views: 1004 | Comments: 3
Last by David Manly on Jul 29, 2010, 3:32pm
Since I've started blogging for LabSpaces, people have asked me to introduce myself more and give a little background education on who I am. So, here are a few short little stories that show you just how exactly I am a scientist that loves to work with animals.

I was always interested in animals, but as a child, my passion was solely focused on dinosaurs. My parents would buy us (NOTE: I will keep referring to us, we, etc... because I am an identical twin, and we did a lot of stuff together as children) dinosaur books by the pound. We just could not get enough!

We were the types of kids that would correct the tour guide at the museum, the ones who would be content just to stare at a dinosaur skeleton for hours on end, and the kids who would annoy the librarian for new dinosaur books.
It got to the point that when our primary school librarian retired, she gave each of us our most requested and checked-out dinosaur books. To this day, I still have mine in my basement.
Oh, and for those who are wondering – my favorite dinosaurs are the Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl and Dimetrodon (and of course, the T-Rex, but everybody loves him).

My love for science and reading didn't stop as I grew older. My parents would try to introduce me to other activi . . . More
Views: 3770 | Comments: 4
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Jul 19, 2010, 3:17pm
In a lab, scientists are not building a better mouse-trap, but a better mosquito.

The Anopheles mosquito's transmit malaria, which affects approximately 250 million people worldwide, and kills around one million per year. And the battle to eliminate the disease, caused by the Plasmodium parasite, is a costly one. The parasite can rapidly become resistant to the drugs used against it, and that has been the main way to combat the terrible disease.

But, scientists at University at Arizona have decided to go a different route – by creating a genetically modified mosquito (GMM) that is completely immune to the parasite. The experiment was conducted on one particular mosquito species, Anopheles stephensi, but the researchers say that it could work with all other species that spread the parasite, such as Anopheles gambiae, in Africa.

While the mosquito would be physically fine, I am sad to say that it will still bite, just not transmit the parasite during the blood-meal.

The previous development of a GMM generated 97 per cent resistance to the malarial parasite, but in science, that is not enough. I mean sure, most of the parasite would be eliminated, but what about that three per cent? With thousands of parasites, the odds (however . . . More
Views: 1116 | Comments: 0
I will be the first to admit that I am not a big sports fan except when the Olympics are on, and only then do I become a sports fanatic. I will watch anything and everything I get my hands on, and I become a bit obsessed.

One sport I have never become that enthusiastic about is the World Cup of soccer, at least, not until this year. Why? Well, it has to do with an octopus named Paul located in Oberhausen, Germany.

Paul is the famous "oracle octopus" that was able to make eight correct predictions of who would win matches in the world cup, including the final match between the Netherlands and Spain. The odds of that being just chance are less than 0.004 per cent, which is very impressive. But it has re-invigorated a very interesting scientific debate within animal behaviourist and zoology circles: are octopuses intelligent?

Intelligence is a difficult word to place on an animal that differs so largely from us. You just cannot give an octopus an IQ test, or ask it complex questions to determine how smart it is. Simply put, its brain is too different than ours to quantify it in any standard way, similar with dogs or crows.

So, how can you determine if an octopus is intelligent, and not simply reacting?

I remember back in second year b . . . More
Views: 1689 | Comments: 3
Last by Simon on Jul 07, 2010, 5:38pm
For those that know me, whether in person or through my many multimedia outlets, they will know that I have a deep enthusiasm and interest in reptiles, especially snakes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I would write about them eventually.

I have handled, fed and cared for many species, and I have also been bitten on more than just one occasion. But, I know that it was not their fault, it was mine. They were just doing what came naturally to them.

It is commonly known that snakes, specifically pythons, will constrict prey and suffocate it, before swallowing it whole and digesting it slowly over a period of days. However, what happens to the prey once digested? And how does the snake's physiology change in order to accommodate it?

The Burmese python (Python molurus) is what is known as a 'sit and wait' predator, where it expends the very minimum amount of energy hunting its prey, so that it can survive long periods without food. However, since the organ systems within the python are operating at such a low capacity to conserve as much energy as possible, a huge increase in energy must be required in order to start extracting nutrients from its newly digested prey.

At the annual meeting from the Society for Experimental Biolo . . . More
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Last by Sharmaine Hansen on Dec 07, 2012, 11:26pm
The BP oil spill in the Gulf has been going on for approximately 70 days, and it shows no sign of slowing down. I am sure I am not the only one who has noticed a decrease in the amount of news coverage surrounding the spill in recent days, and I am not surprised. The public tends to get tired of the same stories re-told over and over, which is why I am going to discuss something that has not been widely discussed.

How exactly does oil affect animal life?

One of the best ways to describe the effects of oil on animals is to discuss some of the most documented casualties, which are birds and mammals.

Birds are some of the best known casualties of an oil spill, and I am sure we have all seen the pictures and videos of the oil soaked pelican struggling to remove itself from a pile of oil.

Through contact with the oil, birds and mammals will lose the insulation provided by the air pockets beneath their feathers or fur. This can result in them dying from hypothermia, or even weigh the animals down so much that they cannot remain buoyant in the water and drown.

When birds and mammals get covered in oil, they will try to clean it off, which causes them to ingest and/or inhale oil and coat their throats and sinuses. This alone can kill them, but . . . More