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Posts Tagged "reproduction"

Bering in Mind

Voices Carry (Signals of Your Sexual Intent and Reproductive Value)

If you really want to know if someone is into you – as in, wants to have your babies – never mind what they say. It’s all in how they say it. A team of researchers led by Juan David Leongómez, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, has discovered that certain “paralingual” features of [...]

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Culturing Science

Why Sociable Weavers Nest Together

assimilation-1-small

Dillon Marsh’s photographs of sociable weaver nests, taken in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, beautifully illustrate traditional nature–the realm of wild animals–overlapping with human civilization. The apparent bales of hay draped over the tops and sides of telephone poles are home to hundreds of songbirds, which construct and maintain their monstrous nests communally. While [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The Incredible Mr./Mrs. Limpet: The Endangered, Sex-Changing Sea Snail

limpet

Understanding how an endangered species breeds and reproduces can be one of the first steps toward learning how to save it from extinction. A team of scientists working to conserve the nearly extinct sea snail known as the ribbed Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea) have discovered an important clue about its reproductive strategy: it can change [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sperm Bank and Reproductive Research Could Help Save Tasmanian Devils from Extinction

Tasmanian devil

A diseased and emaciated Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was found last week on a golf course in the town of Zeehan on Tasmania’s west coast. Like many of its kind, the animal suffered from the deadly, transmittable cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which has wiped out at least 70 percent and possibly [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Last Wild Camels in China Could be Saved with Embryonic Transfer Technique Perfected in U.A.E.

The critically endangered wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) is so rare and lives in such remote areas that it was only recognized (after a few years of scientific debate) as its own species in 2008, decades after China started using one of its few habitats, the the Lop Nur Desert, to test nuclear bombs. Amazingly, [...]

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Guest Blog

Getting to Know Whale Vaginas in 7 Steps

Credit: Gregory "Greg" Smith via Flickr

It’s not easy to study a whale vagina. But it is necessary. Right now, penises get far more attention than vaginas in the science world. (It’s also apparent in the museum scene, too—sadly, today, there’s no vagina equivalent to rival the Icelandic Phallocological Museum). Surprisingly, the research imbalance is likely due to longstanding gender stereotypes [...]

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Guest Blog

Superfetation: Pregnant while already pregnant

Some weeks back, I came across a case report published in 1999 in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology [1]. It presented a twin pregnancy wherein one of the fetuses seemed to be at a younger developmental stage in its mother’s womb compared to its sibling. It wasn’t the first time that I had [...]

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Guest Blog

I don’t have a 28-day menstrual cycle, and neither should you

Most of us are familiar with a 28-day menstrual cycle, which, divided in half, comprises the follicular phase – that’s when the dominant follicle, or egg, is growing and preparing for ovulation – and the luteal phase – when the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, is preparing for possible conception and implantation. If implantation [...]

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Guest Blog

We all need (a little bit of) sex

"The males of the four salamander species whose genomes can be found in unisexual species. From left to right: A. jeffersonianum, A. tigrinum, A. laterale and A. texanum."

Sex costs amazing amounts of time and energy. Just take birds of paradise touting their tails, stags jousting with their antlers or singles spending their weekends in loud and sweaty bars. Is sex really worth all the effort that we, sexual species, collectively put into it? Despite many teenage frustrations and MTV, most biologists think [...]

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Observations

Baby Mice Born from Eggs Made from Stem Cells

mouse egg stem cell babies

Stem cells have been coaxed into creating everything from liver cells to beating heart tissue. Recently, these versatile cells were even used to make fertile mouse sperm, suggesting that stem cell technology might eventually be able to play a role in the treatment of human infertility. Now two types of stem cells have been turned [...]

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Observations

Moss Sperm Smells Sweet Enough for Sex

moss uses bugs to spread sperm

Moss, that cushy, moisture-loving ground cover, is more promiscuous than we thought. These plants might not have the sexy flowers of a peony, but according to new research, they do manage to attract small pollinators with a subtle sweet smell. Previously, scientists had presumed that these primitive plants needed a layer of water for their [...]

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Observations

For Unendowed Fish, a Fake Dinner Leads to Sex

fish lure sex food

The promise of a nice dinner might not always win over a woman, but for some male fish, a tasty-looking lure seems to get the girl pretty reliably. The trick is to make sure the offering resembles the local cuisine and then they can reel in the ladies hook, line and sinker. Swordtail charachin (Corynopoma [...]

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Observations

Poor Diets Lower Sperm Counts

sperm count

Fellas, want a better chance of passing along your genes? Try laying off the fried food. A more healthful diet will not only help you get fitter, but, new research indicates, it might also increase the odds that your sperm are in better shape, too. A whole host of factors might impair male fertility—including alcohol [...]

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Observations

Dogma Overturned: Women Can Produce New Eggs [Video]

A study led by Jonathan Tilly of the Massachusetts General Hospital overturns the decades-long idea that women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. It reports that women of reproductive age carry ovarian stem cells, meaning that they can produce new eggs. Tilly’s team, which made a similar finding in mice in [...]

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Observations

Jurassic Mammal Moves Back Marsupial Divergence

Juramaia sinensis

A newly described pointy-nosed, rat-like animal did not just crawl out of some unsuspecting city’s sewers. Rather, this now-extinct species spent its time scampering among prehistoric trees some 160 million years ago during China’s Jurassic period. Its modern appearance might seem unremarkable, but its advanced anatomical features—both internal and external—are exactly what have drawn the [...]

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Observations

The warm, fuzzy side of climate change: Heftier marmots

marmot that has gotten bigger with climate change, longer summers

While polar bears flounder in the face of shrinking ice floes, another furry creature has gotten a boost from climate change. In the past three decades yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) have been fruitful—and multiplied—thanks to longer summers, according to a new study. In the Rocky Mountains, these marmots usually hibernate for seven to eight months [...]

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Observations

Which sperm will win the race to the egg: the green one or the red one?

Once they’re inside the female reproductive organs, sperm pull out all the stops to outrace their rivals to the egg—especially if the opponent comes from another male. The process that determines which sperm wins, called "postcopulatory sexual selection," has been difficult to tease out, until now. By genetically engineering fruit flies that express green or [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Eggs Need Helpful Bacteria To Stay Healthy, Too

We’re just learning how important certain microbes can be to our own health. They can help us digest foods and protect us from harmful invaders. New research suggests that certain bacteria are also crucial for octopuses—especially when they’re just starting out. The findings were published online in Aquaculture Research earlier this month. A team of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Female Octopus Strangles Mate, Then Eats Him

octopus

Octopuses do the darndest things. Like kill their mate during mating—by strangling him with three arms, according to new observations from the wild. Enterprising scientists Christine Huffard and Mike Bartick watched wild octopuses in action. They found that, for males, mating can be a dangerous game. Especially when your lady has long limbs. Some of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Mating Octopuses Prefer Crab Legs

octopus diet

Male octopuses don’t usually wine and dine prospective mates. But prior to mating, both males and females do seem to be in the mood for one date-worthy food: crab, according to new research published online in the Journal of Shellfish Research. Scientists studied two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in the Bay of Los Angeles in the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Does the Octopus Really “Fart” Ink?—and Other Strange Facts [Video]

octopus

It’s true that the octopus is super weird. These animals have blue blood and three hearts. And as online personality and humorist Ze Frank points out in his latest video creation, it seems that they can also “fart ink at a moment’s notice”—pointing to this as “evolution at its finest.” The video’s tongue-in-cheek tone might [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How To Grow a Patagonian Red Octopus

octopus eggs

Octopuses are tricky animals to keep in captivity. They’re smart, strong and slinky. But surely their eggs much be easier—being naturally contained and all. Not always, it turns out. Researchers in Chile have been on a quest to grow a local octopus species in captivity after it was overfished in the wild. The results of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

16 Arms + 6 Hearts = Love? Watch an Octopus Blind Date Live

octopus date love

  This Valentine’s Day, two octopuses are getting set up on a blind date. And you can watch what happens. Ace, a male giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) between 40 and 50 pounds and two-and-a-half to three-years old, and YoYo, a female of a similar size and age, will be introduced for the first time [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

National Zoo’s Octopus Dies in the Company of Her Favorite Toy—a Kong

pandora octopus

Pandora, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) died at her Washington, D.C. home (tank) Wednesday at the advanced age of five. She stretched more than eight feet across and was the zoo’s longest-lived octopus. Earlier this week, Biologist and keeper of the invertebrate exhibit, Tamie DeWitt, wrote in an email that, “for [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Odd Male Octopus Flaunts 2 Unexpected Arm Phalluses

octopus arm phallus hectocotyli

Is that a case of bilateral hectocotylization, or are you just extra happy to see me? Or so might a female octopus say if she met the young subject of a new report about a certain biological oddity—or oddities. A rare juvenile octopus was captured off the coast of Alaska flaunting not one but two [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Make Food for Weird Critters

octopus feed

Along with us humans, a range of hungry hunters prey on the scrumptious octopus. The boneless octopus must avoid becoming lunch for sharks, eels, fish and even killer whales. But not all of the organisms that feed on octopuses are such charismatic megafauna. Octopuses, both dead and alive, are part of the delicate, detailed food [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Happy Octopus Day! The 8 Best Octopus Discoveries

October 8 might be International Octopus Day, but October 31, 2013 is Octopus! day. My book Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea is publishing today. For the book I was able to travel the world, searching high and low for the most astounding octopus experiences. It was a nine-month whirlwind, spending vacation days [...]

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Running Ponies

You’ll have to be hotter than that, virgin moths

Even moths can’t escape the tribulations of being a virgin. New research by scientists at the University of Utah has revealed that when a male virgin Helicoverpa zea moth picks up the scent of a female, it will stop at nothing to get to her as soon as possible, even if that means taking off [...]

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