Tag Archives: Physiology (e.g. Exercise Physiology)

Mystery of Australia’s five-legged animals cracked

Ever wished you had a spare leg to help you get around? Some Australian mammals had that thought and, well, went out and evolved one. And now we know what drove them to do such a thing. Kangaroos were recently confirmed to use their tail as a fifth leg. While most ground-dwelling mammals simply use […]

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Polar bear metabolism cannot cope with ice loss

Polar bears’ metabolism does not slow very much during the summer months when sea ice melts and food becomes scarce, according to a study published 16 July in Science. With the Arctic warming faster than the global average, the finding does not bode well  for the bears (Ursus maritimus), who use the ice as a […]

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Why offspring cope better with climate change: It’s all in the genes

In a collaborative project with scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, the researchers examined how the fish’s genes responded after several generations living at higher temperatures predicted under climate change. “Some fish have a remarkable capacity to adjust to higher water temperatures over a few generations of […]

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Why offspring cope better with climate change: It’s all in the genes

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In a world first study, researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University have unlocked the genetic mystery of why some fish are able to adjust to warming oceans. In a collaborative project with scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in […]

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* The physics of swimming fish

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Fish may seem to glide effortlessly through the water, but the tiny ripples they leave behind are evidence of a constant give-and-take of energy between the swimmer and its aqueous environment — a momentum exchange that propels the fish forward but is devilishly tricky to quantify. Now, new research shows that a fish’s propulsion can […]

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Missing link found between brain, immune system; major disease implications

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In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout […]

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Researchers analyze the structure of bird feathers to create hues without dye

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Work from a research team is seeking to produce synthetic particles that mimic the tiny packets of melanin found in feathers. These tiny packets of synthetic melanin produce structural color, like in a bird’s feather, when they are packed into layers. Structural color occurs through the interaction of light with materials that have patterns on […]

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How the brain balances hearing between our ears

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UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localizing sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage. The landmark animal study also provides new insight into hearing loss and is likely to improve cochlear implants and hearing aids. The findings […]

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Secrets of the seahorse tail revealed

A team of engineers and biologists reports new progress in using computer modeling and 3D shape analysis to understand how the unique grasping tails of seahorses evolved. These prehensile tails combine the seemingly contradictory characteristics of flexibility and rigidity, and knowing how seahorses accomplish this feat could help engineers create devices that are both flexible […]

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Clues to aging from long-lived lemurs

When Jonas the lemur died in January, just five months short of his thirtieth birthday, he was the oldest of his kind. A primate called a fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Jonas belonged to a long-lived clan. Dwarf lemurs live two to three times longer than similar-sized animals. In a new study, Duke University researchers combed through […]

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* Researchers reveal how hearing evolved

Lungfish and salamanders can hear, despite not having an outer ear or tympanic middle ear. These early terrestrial vertebrates were probably also able to hear 300 million years ago, as shown in a new study by Danish researchers. Lungfish and salamander ears are good models for different stages of ear development in these early terrestrial […]

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* Why do zebras have stripes? Temperature counts

A team of life scientists led by UCLA’s Brenda Larison has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live. In the January cover story of the Royal Society’s online journal, Open Science, the researchers make the […]

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Heart arrhythmias detected in deep-diving marine mammals

A new study of dolphins and seals shows that despite their remarkable adaptations to aquatic life, exercising while holding their breath remains a physiological challenge for marine mammals. The study, published January 15 in Nature Communications, found a surprisingly high frequency of heart arrhythmias in bottlenose dolphins and Weddell seals during the deepest dives. The […]

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How do small birds survive cold winters?

Norway’s small birds face many challenges during the winter, including short days and long energy-intensive nights, tough weather conditions and food shortages, along with the risk of becoming a meal for hungry predators. Many of the smallest birds live on the edge of survival with this enormous physical pressure. Northern winters are the limiting factor […]

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The brain thinks, the spinal cord implements: Research team identifies important control mechanisms for walking

Even after complete spinal paralysis, the human spinal cord is able to trigger activity in the leg muscles using electrical pulses from an implanted stimulator. This has already been demonstrated in earlier studies conducted in Vienna. Now, as part of a joint international project, a team of young researchers at the Center for Medical Physics […]

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* How birds get by without external ears

Unlike mammals, birds have no external ears. The outer ears of mammals play an important function in that they help the animal identify sounds coming from different elevations. But birds are also able to perceive whether the source of a sound is above them, below them, or at the same level. Now a research team […]

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* Origin of the unique ventilatory apparatus of turtles: How the tortoise’s ribs got embedded in its shell

Through the careful study of modern and early fossil tortoise, researchers now have a better understanding of how tortoises breathe and the evolutionary processes that helped shape their unique breathing apparatus and tortoise shell. The findings published in a paper, titled: Origin of the unique ventilatory apparatus of turtles, in the scientific journal, Nature Communications, […]

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* Heart’s own immune cells can help it heal

Most of the time when the heart is injured, these beneficial immune cells are supplanted by immune cells from the bone marrow, which are spurred to converge in the heart and cause inflammation that leads to further damage. In both cases, these immune cells are called macrophages, whether they reside in the heart or arrive […]

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Running robots of future may learn from world’s best two-legged runners: Birds

Although birds are designed primarily for flight, scientists have learned that species that predominately live on land and scurry around on the ground are also some of the most sophisticated runners of any two-legged land animals. These characteristics may have been evolving since the time of the dinosaurs and, some would say, now transcend the […]

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* Improving bladder function among people with spinal cord injuries

People who have suffered spinal cord injuries are often susceptible to bladder infections, and those infections can cause kidney damage and even death. New UCLA research may go a long way toward solving the problem. A team of scientists studied 10 paralyzed rats that were trained daily for six weeks with epidural stimulation of the […]

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Dolphins are attracted to magnets: Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals, French researchers say

Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals, French researchers say. Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects. So says Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Université de Rennes in France, in a study in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften — The Science of […]

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Female baboons with male companions live longer

Numerous studies have linked social interaction to improved health and survival in humans, and new research confirms that the same is true for baboons. A long-term study of more than 200 wild female baboons from the plains of southern Kenya finds that the most sociable females — measured by how often they engaged in social […]

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How hummingbirds evolved to detect sweetness

Hummingbirds’ ability to detect sweetness evolved from an ancestral savory taste receptor that is mostly tuned to flavors in amino acids. Feasting on nectar and the occasional insect, the tiny birds expanded throughout North and South America, numbering more than 300 species over the 40 to 72 million years since they branched off from their […]

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Running for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column

One of the riddles of mammal evolution explained: the strong conservation of the number of trunk vertebrae. Researchers of the NaturalisBiodiversityCenter and the University of Utah show that this conservation is probably due to the essential role of speed and agility in survival of fast running mammals. They measured variation in vertebrae of 774 individual […]

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Possible new plan of attack for opening, closing blood-brain barrier

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Like a bouncer at an exclusive nightclub, the blood-brain barrier allows only select molecules to pass from the bloodstream into the fluid that bathes the brain. Vital nutrients get in; toxins and pathogens are blocked. The barrier also ensures that waste products are filtered out of the brain and whisked away. The blood-brain barrier helps […]

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Nanoparticles make turkey eggs tough to crack

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The eggs of the Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami) repel moisture that can harbor harmful microbes. Australian brush turkeys incubate their eggs where few might — in moist piles of rotting vegetation. The eggs are kept warm by the heat generated as microbes in the soil and compost decompose organic matter, but those same microbes […]

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Gut capacity limits bird’s ability to adapt to rapid climate change

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An ornithologist at the University of Rhode Island who studies the physiological changes that birds undergo to migrate has found that the capacity of a bird’s gut to change with environmental conditions is a primary limiting factor in their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. And he believes that most other animals are […]

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* Running geese give insight into low oxygen tolerance

A new study into how the world’s highest flying bird, the bar-headed goose, is able to survive at extreme altitudes may have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans. An international team of scientists recently tracked the bar-headed goose while it migrated across the Himalayas. Now they have shown how these birds are […]

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Ancient shrimp-like animals had ‘modern’ hearts and blood vessels

In 520 million-year-old fossil deposits resembling an ‘invertebrate version of Pompeii,’ researchers have found an ancestor of modern crustaceans revealing the first-known cardiovascular system in exquisitely preserved detail. An international team of researchers from the University of Arizona, China and the United Kingdom has discovered the earliest known cardiovascular system, and the first to clearly […]

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Researchers examined how muscle physiology effects leanness

We all know the type: The friend or colleague who stays slim and trim without much effort and despite eating the same high-calorie fare that causes everyone else to gain weight. As it turns out, the way the muscles of the inherently thin work may give them the edge. Daily physical activity is an inherited […]

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