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Catching up with Science 2

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Killing animals a regular practice in zoos 


 Zoos have always been a grey area when it comes to animal lovers and conservationist. While some argue that it offers a safe haven for endangered animals who have lost their habitat in the wild, (thanks to our voracious need to spread ourselves on the planet), some argue that confining these creatures is as good as torture. But the argument against zoos has become stronger because of the practice of Zoothanasia – a common practice of zoo to put down perfectly healthy animals because they don’t fit their economical budget. You can read more about it here.  

Animals showing morals values 

if you thought that morals and values were traits that were exclusively human, you are gravely mistaken. Time and again, researchers, conservationist world over come face to face with instances where animals have shown compassion, morality a sense of right and wrong (or at least come close to it). It just goes to show how much we really know about animals. …

Catching up with Science!

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There is a lot that is going around in the world and there is only so much time on our hands. Because we do so much of reading (you know, for obvious reasons) we are happy to bring to you the most interesting stories every month, published on other blog, news sitesand university website feeds. 
Worms that have three sexes
Now here’s a fun story that you can throw around in a group discussion to grab a few head turns. The worm in question is the Auanema rhodensis, a curious little (quite little) being that is found in the Connecticut and Virginia. Now three sexes in invertebrates are not uncommon, from earthworms to snails and even many fish are hermaphrodites. But what makes these A rhodensis so special is that they are self-fertilising   hermaphrodites, which is not heard of, at least till now. Diane Shakes professor of Biology at the College of William and Mary is one of the authors of the paper that speaks about these curious little specimens. You can read the full article here.
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Animals that live on Sunlight!

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We have long since known that plants and algae are capable of using sunlight to synthesize their own energy. They essentially create their own food, and that was, by far, the clear distinction that separated plants and animals. However, nature just blurred that distinction further! Scientists have found that there are some pretty incredible animals that have been doing what we thought was a skill exclusively gifted to plants - photosynthesis.
These unique animals dubbed, ‘photobionts’ are capable of surviving only with light and air. One such animal is the solar powered, sacoglossan mollusc or the sea slug. Now one would imagine that this must be some sort of symbiotic relationship being maintained between a photosynthetic plant and the slug. On the contrary, the sea slug steals the photosynthetic apparatus from the plant/algae it engulfs. It doesn’t just stop at that, it also retains the photosynthetic genes from its meal! And like all animals, the sea slug is not selfish, it also thi…

How quickly can you spot a leader?

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We all have our 'I-told-you-so' moments with our friends and most of predictions come true. But, how good are our predictions when it comes to guessing about strangers? How quickly can we gauge people and draw conclusions about them?
Less than two minutes is all it takes for us to pass judgments about people and identify them from a crowd. A study conducted by University of British Columbia, revealed that it takes lesser than 120 seconds for people to recognize a leader from a bunch of strangers. So, on what basis do we identify these individuals from the rest? Well, according to the study, there are only two factors that we take into consideration. One, the skills of the person and second, his/her dominance. So, we are likely to see an aggressive person as our leader.
Very likely, your next question is How did they find this? 
An initial group of 200 participants was first asked carry our certain activities in groups. After the activity, the participants were asked to rate the d…

You are what you eat

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I’m sure all of us must have, at some time or the other, been drilled to eat our veggies, because they were undoubtedly the healthiest anything could get. But recent scientific studies say that this belief may not be entirely true. Although veggies help in improving eyesight, providing nutrition, etc. the genomes of these plants are believed to have a negative impact on human health.

A study done by a Chinese team indicated that micro RNAs present in vegetables enter the human bloodstream after consumption. Genomes of plants were observed to have health consequences, and some bio molecules were observed to be active even after digestion!

The team tested hundreds of volunteers for a study and, nearly 50 types of plant micro RNAs were found present in the blood samples of the volunteers. In the study it was also observed that the molecule MIR168a commonly found in rice, paired with human RNA led to removal of unwanted LDL cholesterol present in the bloodstream.

So, all is not bad after all…

Salt intake and Kidney Stones

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There are several medical mysteries that are yet to be solved but here is one mystery which was solved recently.
A study conducted by University of Alberta researchers indicated the link between high salt intake leading to kidney stones and osteoporosis. The human body has a molecule which plays a dual role of regulating the levels of calcium as well as absorption of sodium. Sodium is expelled from the body when the intake is high and along with sodium, even calcium is expelled in the urine. On one hand high calcium level in urine leads to formation of kidney stones and the inadequacy of calcium can lead to osteoporosis which is a condition where the bone density is reduced. Statistics in the United States show that 10% of adults are likely to suffer from kidney stones at least once in their lifetime and about 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. High sodium intake in the daily diet can lead to these medical consequences and hence a low sodium diet should be adapted.
It is observ…