Polyhedral shapes in natural crystals.
Oct 13 148 notes
Oct 13 1,283 notes
October is Save the Kiwi Month!
The National Zoo, in Washington D.C., boasts the nation’s only “Meet a Kiwi” program, where visitors can observe our young male, Pip, up close and learn about conservation efforts. Meet and greets take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m.
The Zoo has contributed greatly to the Brown Kiwi Species Survival Plan; Maori (father) and Nessus (mother) produced six chicks from February 2006 to March 2012. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., also has a breeding pair of kiwi and hatched a chick January 2013.
Native to New Zealand, brown kiwis (Apteryx mantelli) are nocturnal, flightless birds. The remaining wild population of the brown kiwi is estimated at roughly 24,000, down from 60,000 in the 1980s. The kiwi population is stabilizing in areas where conservation efforts occur. #WeSaveSpecies
Photo Credit: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
(via: Smithsonian’s National Zoo)
Adipose cells or adipocytes are specialized connective tissue for the storage of fat. The large adipocytes are held in place by strands of collagen fibers and a fine network of reticular fibers. A large capillary is seen near the cell surface.
Credit: Dr. Richard Kessel & Dr. Randy Kardon/Tissues & Organs/Visuals Unlimited, Inc.text from Daily Anatomy
Oct 13 183 notes
Many people have no opinion or assume octopuses are stupid, spineless creatures.
But their brains are the largest of all the invertebrates. Their neurons are massed into lobes like ours. Their brains runs on a a decentralized nervous system, two-thirds of which is distributed in the eight arms and legs.
Recent evidence shows that octopuses possess intelligence. For example, they can:
Open jars (video)
Mimic other sea creatures (video)
Did you know that when threatened, an octopus may turn white and puff up to scare the predator. It’ll then shoot ink to distract the predator and zig-zag through water to quickly camouflage itself among the coral. (Video)
In a test done by Oxford biologist N.S. Sutherland, Octopuses were given a treat if they picked one shape over the other. They soon learned that a rectangle was a rectangle no matter how it was oriented.
Octopuses proved to have excellent memory. Scientific journals have publish research papers on octopus learning, octopus personality, octopus memory. Now the octopus has even made it into the pages of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.
It’s important to note that intelligence here, is defined in a different way. It’s suited towards their conditions and environment.
Oct 05 12,223 notes
How plankton gets jet lagged
A hormone that governs sleep and jet lag in humans may also drive the mass migration of plankton in the ocean, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found. The molecule in question, melatonin, is essential to maintain our daily rhythm, and the European scientists have now discovered that it governs the nightly migration of a plankton species from the surface to deeper waters. The findings, published online today in Cell, indicate that melatonin’s role in controlling daily rhythms probably evolved early in the history of animals, and hold hints to how our sleep patterns may have evolved.[…]
[The researchers] discovered a group of specialised motor neurons that respond to melatonin. Using modern molecular sensors, [they were] able to visualise the activity of these neurons in the larva’s brain, and found that it changes radically from day to night. The night-time production of melatonin drives changes in these neurons’ activity, which in turn cause the larva’s cilia to take long pauses from beating. Thanks to these extended pauses, the larva slowly sinks down. During the day, no melatonin is produced, the cilia pause less, and the larva swims upwards.
“Step by step we can elucidate the evolutionary origin of key functions of our brain. The fascinating picture emerges that human biology finds its roots in some deeply conserved, fundamental aspects of ocean ecology that dominated life on Earth since ancient evolutionary times”
Read more @EMBL
Sep 29 388 notes