Posts

November 26, 2014

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2:35 PM | Illusion Makes People Speak with the Voice of Their Avatar
Think you’re in control of your own body? A simple virtual-reality session could not only make you feel like an avatar’s body is your own, but make you speak more like the digital character. First there was the rubber-hand illusion, a classic experiment that showed syncing up someone’s touch perceptions with what they see happening […]The post Illusion Makes People Speak with the Voice of Their Avatar appeared first on Inkfish.

Banakou D & Slater M (2014). Body ownership causes illusory self-attribution of speaking and influences subsequent real speaking., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25422444

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November 21, 2014

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1:58 PM | Termite Queen Clones Herself by Making Eggs Impervious to Sperm
Even kings and queens that have six legs and live underground aren’t immune to royal machinations. In one Asian termite species, queens choose to shut their mates out of the picture when it’s time to breed a successor. They simply clone themselves to make new queens. To keep the king’s genes away, the queen makes […]The post Termite Queen Clones Herself by Making Eggs Impervious to Sperm appeared first on Inkfish.

November 19, 2014

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2:53 PM | Mongoose Lookouts Carefully Weigh Risks (and Sing While They Do It)
If you were assigned to watch a dozen dwarf mongooses on the savannah, would you know how to keep them safe? Or would half of them get snatched by snakes before you finished checking the dictionary to make sure they weren’t really a dozen mongeese? Luckily these animals don’t need us to watch their backs. […]The post Mongoose Lookouts Carefully Weigh Risks (and Sing While They Do It) appeared first on Inkfish.

November 14, 2014

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4:19 PM | Worm Defies Tradition, Stores Gut Bacteria in Gills Instead
What—just because they’re called gut microbes, you’ve been keeping them in your colon? How unoriginal. This is Bankia setacea, also called the Northwest or feathery shipworm. Humans usually pay attention to shipworms only when they perform their namesake activity: burrowing face-first into our boats or docks and eating their way through. Shipworms are bivalves, like clams […]The post Worm Defies Tradition, Stores Gut Bacteria in Gills Instead appeared first on […]

O'Connor, R., Fung, J., Sharp, K., Benner, J., McClung, C., Cushing, S., Lamkin, E., Fomenkov, A., Henrissat, B., Londer, Y. & Scholz, M. (2014). Gill bacteria enable a novel digestive strategy in a wood-feeding mollusk, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1413110111

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November 11, 2014

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3:24 PM | Found: The Ideal Fatness for Elephant Seals
Like many new mothers, a female elephant seal puts herself on a strict diet after giving birth. She dives into the Pacific and spends two months eating everything she can find. It’s only by working hard at building up her blubber stores that she can get back her ideal body. Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) […]The post Found: The Ideal Fatness for Elephant Seals appeared first on Inkfish.

Adachi, T., Maresh, J., Robinson, P., Peterson, S., Costa, D., Naito, Y., Watanabe, Y. & Takahashi, A. (2014). The foraging benefits of being fat in a highly migratory marine mammal., Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281 (1797) 20142120-20142120. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2120

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November 07, 2014

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3:01 PM | Powerful Ravens Sabotage Others’ Relationships
  If we’re lucky, this is behavior we haven’t seen since high school. The coolest individuals can’t stand to see others gaining social status, so they cut down any peers who are starting to elevate themselves. Ravens have to live with this behavior all the time. When the top-dog birds see others building new relationships, […]The post Powerful Ravens Sabotage Others’ Relationships appeared first on Inkfish.

Massen, J., Szipl, G., Spreafico, M. & Bugnyar, T. (2014). Ravens Intervene in Others’ Bonding Attempts, Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.073

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November 03, 2014

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12:31 PM | For Stress-Free Penguins, Use a Rover
The first time a colony of Antarctic penguins sees a towering human striding toward them, it must be like First Contact. They’ve never seen a species our size on land before, or anything that moves like we do. Even after penguins have interacted with researchers, the approach of a human is a physiologically stressful experience. […]The post For Stress-Free Penguins, Use a Rover appeared first on Inkfish.

October 31, 2014

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11:53 AM | Biologically Accurate Halloween Cards
      Earlier: Biologically Accurate Valentines. Spider-tailed horned viper photo by Omid Mozaffari (video and more information here). Crab spider photo by Lynette Schimming (via Flickr). Big brown bat photo by Matt Reinbold (via Flickr).The post Biologically Accurate Halloween Cards appeared first on Inkfish.

October 30, 2014

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1:57 PM | Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes
When a new developer comes to town and starts aggressively building up the empty property around your home, you can get mad—or you can move in. That’s what tiny crustaceans in the Georgia mudflats have done. Facing an invasive Japanese seaweed, they’ve discovered that it makes excellent shelter, protecting them from all kinds of threats. […]The post Resourceful Crustaceans Turn Invasive Seaweed into Homes appeared first on Inkfish.

Wright, J., Byers, J., DeVore, J. & Sotka, E. (2014). Engineering or food? mechanisms of facilitation by a habitat-forming invasive seaweed, Ecology, 95 (10) 2699-2706. DOI: 10.1890/14-0127.1

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October 28, 2014

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1:51 PM | Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly
Scientists love the data they get by attaching electronic tags to animals, but these devices can be a literal drag. For animals that fly or swim, tags can mess up their mechanics and force them to spend more energy. That’s what scientists expected to see when they studied dolphins with data loggers suction-cupped to their […]The post Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly appeared first on Inkfish.

van der Hoop JM, Fahlman A, Hurst T, Rocho-Levine J, Shorter KA, Petrov V & Moore MJ (2014). Bottlenose dolphins modify behavior to reduce metabolic effect of tag attachment., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25324344

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