Let’s be honest, poop is kind of gross. It’s not something normally discussed in polite company. Yet, we can all agree it serves a purpose. Beyond the obvious purpose of eliminating wastes, what organisms excrete also can help both human and animal doctors diagnose illnesses and assess the general health of a patient. In the wild, “scat,” as it’s often referred to, has even greater significance. [Read more…]
In 1989, a paper appearing in the British medical journal The Lancet made an astounding claim. Two dermatologists reported how a patient decided to come in for an exam because her dog kept sniffing a mole on her leg. The dog even tried to bite it off at one point. Tests proved it was a malignant melanoma nearly two millimeters thick. When removed, the woman survived, and the study would eventually become known as the ‘First Lancet Letter’ or the first time in a peer-reviewed medical journal that an animal’s senses had been linked to the detection of disease. [Read more…]
Chances are, you’ve seen a gathering of cockroaches some place at some time. Conditions don’t even need to be especially filthy for these most reviled of insect pests to appear.
It’s Thanksgiving time again – that time for turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and, for many, sweet potatoes. While known for its nutritious qualities and sweet flavor, new research indicates that the sweet potato may also be the first known example of a naturally genetically modified food. [Read more…]
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the season for haunted houses filled with costumed ghosts. Real haunted houses–ones in which the occupants claim actually to have seen ghosts–often aren’t that fun. One professor of environmental engineering, however, thinks he might know how to get rid of the hauntings completely. Clean! [Read more…]
The moon jellyfish is a tough creature to figure out. For one, while experts argue that the species consists of numerous subspecies, it is nearly impossible to distinguish one from another without DNA testing, which leads other scientists to propose the distinction is meaningless. [Read more…]
If you’re looking for a strange sea creature, you can’t get much weirder than the giant pyrosome. With an appearance like a monster out of a science fiction movie, those who’ve had the good luck to see them have likened them to everything from unicorns, due to their rareness, to the Borg, because of how they stick together and seem to be part of a collective.
Genetic engineering is nothing new. In fact, it’s a practice that’s literally thousands of years old. For centuries, humans have selectively bred plants and animals in an attempt to pass along desired traits. Today, however, genetic engineering has taken the practice to a new level.
February is the month of the heart. Not only home to Valentine’s Day–the day to celebrate the love long-considered to originate from the heart–in the United States, February is designated as National Heart Month. [Read more…]
Are Belding’s squirrels heroes or villains? [Read more…]