Got to love a periodic table joke…
Too funny. I would a poster of this
Packed Like Protein Sardines
A couple weeks ago I gave you a quick and dirty lesson in how cells are not the neatly ordered bags of water that textbooks make them out to be. Now Harvard’s BioVisions and XVIVO animation bring us this amazing look at the crowded protein pandemonium inside every bit of you.
It’s kind of overwhelming, with all that Brownian twitching and enzymatic oscillation, eh? So overwhelming, in fact, that the only structures I could recognize by sight were the
myosin V walking down an actin filamentkinesin on a microtubule walking like a drunk with a shaky step, and some clathrin cages vibrating themselves in and out of vesicle formation. Recognize anything else?
Even if you have zero idea what’s going on, this is a beautiful look at a world beyond sight, informed by decades of study in protein structures and biophysics, and translated into a beautiful combination of sights and sounds. Enjoy this scientific journey!
In the mountains of Ethiopia, the BBC’s Steve Backshall and his Deadly 60 team track a group of graminivorous (grass-eating) gelada baboons to observe their amazing, lion-sized, canine teeth, which are central to the primates’ social communications. From Mary Bates at Wired’s Zoologic blog:
The gum-bearing yawn was most common with males, especially high-ranking ones. This kind of yawn exposed the gelada’s impressive canine teeth, which stood out against the reddish-pink color of their gums and the inside of their mouths. It was often accompanied by a loud call, and the researchers believe the yawn functions as a long-distance display. Males used this yawn during periods of tension, such as the time right before feeding, suggesting it may serve to intimidate other geladas.
The other two less intense types of yawns were seen most in females during friendly interactions. The researchers found these yawns to be more contagious, and observed females mirroring the intensity of other females’ yawns. They believe these yawns are part of a complex communication system between geladas that often engage in friendly interactions. The contagiousness of the yawns in these contexts suggests the behavior might play a role in synchronizing the activity between two geladas, strengthening the emotional connection between them, or signaling the quality of their relationship.
Gelada males and females might use yawns differently, but all three types of yawn contribute to the smooth workings of gelada society; they function to let everyone know who’s in charge and which geladas are friends.
According to the National Aquarium, March 20, 2014 is World Frog Day, so here is a little more information about our amphibian friends.
All frogs’ eggs require moisture to develop, and most frogs abandon their eggs once they’re fertilized. But not all eggs incubate underwater or without parental care. A few species carry their eggs in their vocal sacs or their abdomens. Others lay eggs in dry areas and keep the eggs moist with water or urine. Depending on the frog’s species and the climate in which it typically lives, the eggs can hatch in a few days to a few weeks.
In a few species, fully formed froglets hatch from the eggs, but most of the time the frog starts its life as a tadpole. While adult frogs are carnivores, tadpoles can be vegetarians or omnivores. Some are filter feeders that eat algae, and others have teeth and can eat anything from rotting vegetation to other tadpoles. Either way, tadpoles tend to be voracious eaters — it takes a lot of energy to complete their metamorphosis into frogs.
Tadpoles that live in temporary rainwater ponds often become frogs in a couple of weeks. The process can take months in species that live in permanent lakes, rivers and ponds. But most of the time, the transformation follows the same basic steps. First, the back legs begin to grow. Then, as the front legs are forming, the tadpole’s internal organs began to change. It develops a pair of lungs so it will be able to breathe air, and its digestive system changes to accommodate its adult diet. The tail gradually disappears as it’s absorbed into the body. When the froglet is ready to live on land, it usually has a little bit of tail left, but that gradually disappears.
Read on to find out including why toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads, and how the absence of frogs could affect human life.