Filed under biological research

Killer Whales Kill Rare Whales

Killer Whales Kill Rare Whales

This is from the i paper, showing Orcas deserve their reputation as killers and the threats to endangered species are not entirely from humans: For the first time, killer whales have been spotted killing and eating a rare species of whale. A team of researchers led by Rebecca Wellard, of Curtin University, has been joining … Continue reading

Nobody is Safe Without NHS

Nobody is Safe Without NHS

Our much loved free healthcare is under threat but if it fails it won’t be just the poor who suffer. NHS provides mass immunisation so diseases that killed people on the past have been wiped out. Smallpox is an obvious example that killed vast numbers, rich and poor. Without jabs it could rdgutm with a … Continue reading

Smallpox in Hampshire 1774

Smallpox is a disease which caused lots of fatalities but inoculation against was discovered in the 18th century, so fear of it has long since faded. This is from the Hampshire Chronicle of March 1774: We hear that the small-pox is broke out at Bishops Waltham, a dread of which distemper has induced many of … Continue reading

Misunderstood Sloths and Slothery

Misunderstood Sloths and Slothery

My favourite animal has long been the 2 toed sloth, with a top speed when chased by a predator of 0.5mph. You don’t get more laid back than that, but if they are so inefficient, how have they managed to survive? This article from the i a few weeks back, by Becky Cliffe provides some … Continue reading

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Since albatrosses are in the same family as seagulls who stamp on the ground to imitate rain, which draws their favourite food, worms, to the surface, this article fits with their family behaviour. This is by Tom Bawden in the i paper: Albatrosses secure much of their food using an extraordinary technique which involves furiously … Continue reading

Koko the Gorilla

Last week I watched a documentary on Koko and her 45 year relationship with Dr Penny Patterson formerly of Stamford University. When Dr Patterson was working on her thesis, she planned to train a higher ape to learn sign language, after earlier work had shown that apes did not have the physical characteristics to learn … Continue reading

Antibiotic-fed Cows Emit More Methane

This is from the i paper a few days ago, and should surprise nobody who has ever taken antibiotics: Feeding antibiotics to farm animals is having an unintended consequence – fuelling global warming by almost doubling the amount of methane cattle produce. antibiotics are being so widely used in agriculture that cow dung is now … Continue reading

Mothers and Fathers as Parents

There tends to be a general assumption that mothers are better at parenting; it makes sense, as they have carried the child, given birth to it, and generally breastfeed, so it seems reasonable that their bond, their commitment to the child, should be stronger than the father. But new research sheds some doubt on this. … Continue reading

Space Mice and Liver Damage

This is from yesterday’s i paper, and may put on pause any plans for human space exploration: Hopes of sending astronauts to mars and beyond have suffered a setback with the discovery of early signs of liver damage in orbiting ‘spacemice’. Mice that spent 13.5 days aboard Nasa’s space shuttle, Atlantis, and samples of their … Continue reading