Animals, Biology, News

The seemingly chaotic, but elegant movement of the octopus: how it pulls it off

octopus arms

Despite lacking a rigid skeleton, octopuses have a remarkable coordinated locomotion. Using high-speed cameras, a group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found the octopus achieves this by precisely and independently moving one or more of its eight legs to crawl its body, even when its facing a different direction. Moreover, there is no discernible rhythm or pattern to this undulating leg movement, making the octopus unique in this respect. It’s controlled chaos, and only the octopus itself completely knows how it pulls all this off.

Anatomy, Anthropology, Biology, Did you know?, News

Why in the world do we have chins? Maybe, because we evolved from being just brutes

Man with prominent chin and missing teeth. Etching by Wenceslas Hollar.

Ever wondered what chins are good for? Upon a quick reflection, you might think it actually has some practical value, supporting your jaw against the massive chewing forces. But that’s nonsense. It doesn’t do any of that, as a recent research concludes. In fact, the chin – the last facial feature to stop growing – actually makes the jaw less resistant to the bending stress of chewing as we age. Though still a mystery, scientists believe the chin is actually a side effect of the rest of the face having become smaller. Much smaller than that of early ancestors or cousin Neanderthals, at least.

Biology, Genetics, News

Why the Dutch are the tallest on the planet: sexual selection

tall men

European males are on average 11 centimeters taller now than they were in the 1870s, which is quite a lot by all means. Everybody makes fun of Napoleon for being short, but as a matter of fact he was actually standing above average height! Thank better nutrition and medicine for that. Even so, what in the world are the Dutch eating that makes them this tall? The average Dutchman now stands over six feet tall, and while the rest of the world seems to have stopped, they’re still riding a growing trendline. The answer by actually be evolutionary – the tall Dutchmen have more babies.

Biology, News

Invasive Koi Fish – 3,000 Feral Fish Dumped into Colorado Lake

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Dealing with invasive species is one of the challenges that accompanies globalization and in many areas of the world, it’s becoming harder and harder to tackle this issue. In the Colorado Lake, 3,000 Koi fish (Japanese carp) are now swarming the water, wiping out native species and dramatically altering the environment.

Biology, Geology, News

Tyrannosaur injuries reveal cannibalistic past

The animal may not have died fighting, but shows signs of being eaten.

When tyrannosaurs ruled the world, no one was safe from them – not even other tyrannosaurs. The skull of an unfortunate adolescent tyrannosaur shows signs of brutal fight; the individual was defeated and then eaten by members of its own species, new research shows.

Biology, Mind & Brain, News

Arachnophobia may be embedded in your DNA

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Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common phobias humans have. But out of all the spiders that live today, really very few are dangerous – so why is it that we fear them so much then? Researchers from Columbia University believe they might have found the answer to that – and it’s strictly related to human evolution.

Alien life, Biology

British professor claims he found alien life floating 25 miles above Earth

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Dr. Milton Wainwright is trying to convince the world that the found alien life floating some 25 miles in our planet’s atmosphere – but while tabloids gobbled up his story like no tomorrow, the scientific community is much more reluctant to accept his results. Is there any truth to these¬†claims? Let’s have a look. If you’d actually find life at

Biology, Health & Medicine, News

Presenting the first brain-gene interface: thought-controlled protein production

brain computer interface

You’ve heard all about controlling robotic arms or prosthesis with thoughts, but what about genes? In a deceptively simple experiment, bioengineers in Switzerland combined a classical brain-computer interface with a biological implant, which effectively allowed a genetic switch to be operated by brain activity. Imagine wearing a “funny” cap fitted with electrodes and a tiny implant, then controlling your mood by thinking the perfect “pure” thoughts that would cause a cascade of feel good chemicals. The same could be made for painkillers, so you can deliver just the right amount. Really, there’s a lot of potential floating around this thing.

Biology, Health & Medicine

The ultimate bandaid: synthetic spider silk

Image courtesy of international chemistry conglomerate BASF (scanning electron microscope).

There aren’t blood vessels you’re seeing, but itsy bitsy strands of artificial spider silk. For some years, researchers have been investigating synthesizing spider silk for a variety of very good reasons. Spider silk is the toughest known natural material, and has been explored in its synthetic variety for use as bulletproof vests, synthetic skin, biodegradable water bottles and even computer electronics. These strands presented above, however, serve a different purpose: as a bandaid meant to help regenerate skin and heal wounds.

Biology, News

Brontosaurus is back! New research puts the genus back into the spotlight

brontosaurus

Just like Pluto, the iconic dinosaur genus was demoted decades ago and classified under another sauropod genus. But a more sophisticated taxonomy recently published by researchers in the UK and Portugal warrants a revisit of the shelved, but never forgotten Brontosaurus.