Filed under biological research

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

Fungi for Building

This is an oddity from yesterday’s i paper: Mushrooms used as stools are a staple of children’s fiction, but researchers from British Columbia in Vancouver have used fungus to grow material for a range of furniture. The 6 benches, made from hexagonal bricks and resembling snippets of honeycomb, currently sit outside the university’s campus bookshop. … Continue reading

Climate Change and Earth’s Axis

Here’s an unexpected effect of what is claimed to be climate change, but this is only one of several factors casing an increase in demands on water supplies in the Indian sub continent. This is from the i, 9 April Groundwater levels on the Indian subcontinent have been depleted so badly by climate change intensive … Continue reading

Northsealand or Doggerland

Northsealand or Doggerland

Most of us are vaguely aware that Britain was once part of mainland Europe, and if you listen to Radio 4’s nightly Shipping Forecast, you have heard of a region called ‘Dogger’ which covers part of it. I have also come across a few accounts of North Sea Fishermen finding the remains of huge old … Continue reading

Wolves Changing Rivers

This is az brilliant short film by George Monbiot, showing the effect of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone. It has increased the number and variety of animals and plants, but also changed rivers, so have had an impact on geography.

Animals in Medicine – update

Here’s an update from (I think) 30/3/16: Scientists in East Africa plan to exploit rats’ highly developed sense of smell to carryout mass screening for TB among inmates of crowded prisons in Tanzania and Mozambique. ..Apopo, with funding from the Unites States Agency for International Development plans to train more rats to carry out prison screening, … Continue reading