The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most expensive in the Atlantic Ocean region. Hurricane Harvey hit in mid-August 2017, followed just a few weeks later by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September. Each of these storms had winds in excess of 125 mph, with Irma up to 170 mph. Damage from totals for the hurricane season topped $282 billion.
It isn't just human adults who regard youth as disease factories, in many species the young are often more susceptible to infection than adults, even after accounting for prior exposure to infection.
Evolution has an explanation for that. But like a lot of things in evolution, it may seem puzzling.
It shouldn't make sense, since dying young or becoming infertile due to infection means organisms will be unable to reproduce, but many species may have evolved to prioritize growth over immunity while maturing. And that complexity may be why immunity varies with age in different species.
From a young age, children have a nuanced understanding of how free markets work. A new study
in Child Development
indicates that children as young as five incorporate market concerns—the idea that what you get is in line with what you give or offer—into their decision making, and increasingly do so with age.
Some people think children are innately selfish, they want to get goodies for themselves, while others insist they are more communist, each will do more to help those who can't or won't do enough. By studying how children engage in different types of exchanges, researchers hope to discern the origins of these behaviors, as well as their developmental course.
It sounds gross to humans - unless you read those "Twilight" books in which case maybe it's sexy - but a lot of animals consume blood. That's right, even your cat familiar.
The question is why? Blood is actually a poor source of energy. It consists of 78 percent liquid and what is left is 93 percent proteins and only one percent carbohydrates (1). Blood provides very little in the way of vitamins. Not only that, a blood-based diet exposes animals to blood-borne pathogens.
And yet some bat species (order Chiroptera) feed exclusively on blood and have managed to survive evolution that should have killed them, and their reliance on low-grade nourishment, off.
How do you miss an organ important for the function of all organs, most tissues and the mechanisms of most major diseases? Easy, you don't look for it.
In graduate school, I earned beer money by modeling for life drawing classes in various art departments. (Don’t judge, grad school doesn’t pay well and beer isn’t free.) In the long hours standing around, I would survey the room and count how many of the aspiring artists were left-handed. Later in my career, I did the same thing — counting lefties, not standing around naked — in the biology classes I taught.
Funny thing, in any given class, around 10 per cent of the students were lefties. It turns out this is true for all human populations, not only middle-America university classes. Globally, about 90 per cent of people are righties. But why?
Move over, Bornean and the Sumatran orangutans. Scholars have identified a third orangutan species, the Tapanuli orangutan, that sits alongside the Pongo abelii, living on the island of Sumatra, and the Pongo pygmeaeus, endemic to Borneo, on the evolutionary tree.
In determining the gender of offspring, fathers may be getting shortchanged.
Because mothers can influence their offspring in a number of ways, from copulation to birth, while fathers have control over sperm only, it has long been assumed mothers are more important. In mammals, it is also believed that offspring sex ratios can only be determined by the mother, since fathers have always been thought to inseminate an equal proportion of X and Y sperm, having a random effect on offspring sex that they could not shift from equality, or 50:50.
It won't matter if all the ice melts and seas rise 100 feet, even if frogs rain from the skies and dogs and cats are living together, one species will be around until the sun explodes.
That species is the eight-legged micro-animal tardigrade, the world's most indestructible species.
Ah, life is good lately; can’t stop winning. Almost never recommend anybody, ‘cuz humans disappoint, but if I do, its winners. Remember that “Erectus walks among us
” guy with his “Out of Europe
” theory? Yep – that’s the one I recommended
, the most despised of the low. I only recommend those who are near my level. Well, ok, that orange fat disappoint I endorsed for POTUS is obviously not anywhere near my level, but that’s another story – I knew he would win and I just love to “Told’yer so!”