Mother nature invented the gear

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Humans came up with the invention of the gear in mechanics, but it seems at least one insect beat them to it.

The appropriately-named planthopper uses gears in its hind legs to leap on a level Superman might be amazed to see. An article posted September 12 in the Health & Science section of the Washington Post website notes the planethopper uses its “hind legs that mesh and rotate to synchronize the timing of each limb’s release during a jump.”

Amazing stuff.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

USFWS puts the brakes on wolf delisting proposal

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At least for now, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has halted a peer-review process for removing wolves from the Endangered Species List.

Defenders of Wildlife reports 16 respected scientists were barred from advising on the proposal. An email I received today includes a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

 “While we still disagree on the merits of this premature delisting proposal, at least the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service understands the magnitude of the issue. It’s a relief that the Service has listened to the voices of wildlife supporters nationwide who have called the integrity of their peer review process into question. Cherry-picking scientists is not a good way to do business. To ensure impartiality and scientific integrity, we recommend that the Service turn the peer review over to the National Academy of Sciences instead of trying to manage the process itself. Either way, we look forward to a fair peer review of the science behind this ill-advised delisting proposal, and we hope the Service turns to the best experts in the field regardless of whether they have written letters about the use of their science in the proposal.”

How in the world is it that scientists were going to be banned from a panel that was set to evaluate the delisting of gray wolves nationwide? It is a growing problem in this country, where a growing effort is working against science education and science in general.

Too often, pure greed is behind the movement to block science and the movement to block protections for animals.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Important study shows dogs recognize the faces of their own species

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An important study is advancing our knowledge of dogs, in showing they can recognize other dogs of their specific species, by viewing images of their faces.

Scientific American published the findings. And in the article I found about this news, I really like some other statements made about dogs, including this – “” When interacting with us, dogs can read and use our facial expressions to gauge where our attention lies and sometimes what we’re feeling. “”

And this one is equally as important – “” Dogs also display a range of facial expressions themselves, which researchers believe are used for communicating with other dogs, whether it’s to impart hostility, friendliness, fear, and so on. “”

I am really excited about the recent advancements made in the study of animals and their level of intelligence and their connections to us. We are learning so much about them.

But unfortunately, it will take more time to convince the anti-science side of the room. Over the last few years, too much press have been given to the anti-science side.

Science needs to be moved deeper into the discussion and debate about animal-welfare laws and regulations. We must advance these protections into the 21st Century.

 

Scientific American lists the Top 10 Science Stories of 2012

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Scientific American covers a vast array of topics in its publication and on its website. This week, it list the Top 10 Science Stories of 2012.

One of the most troubling stories on the list, as it relates to our regular topics here at Pack Mentality, is the record loss of Arctic sea ice. This will will have regional and global impacts and is really bad news for the wildlife in the region, particularly animals such as polar bears that depend on that ice.

 

Amazing advancement in treating paralysis in dogs

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Multiple news sources are reporting this week on an amazing advancement in treating paralysis in dog, where olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC), which the body uses for the repair of nerve fibres in the nose, are being used on spinal injuries.

Smithsonian.com notes the nose is the only part of the body where nerve fibers continue to grow in adults. This study in animals could lead to advancements in the treatment of paralysis in humans.

Professor Robin Franklin co-authored of the study from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute at Cambridge University. He is quoted as saying,  ‘Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement”

Read the BBC report here.

Study shows baboons have rudimentary reading skills

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A French university study has found baboons could very well have rudimentary reading skills. The baboons have been able to distinguish between actual words and scrambled letters.

Four-year-old Dan has an 80-percent success rate in identifying words and has reportedly learned 308 four-letter words.

An Associated Press reports makes this assertion –

“” The study shows that reading’s early steps are far more instinctive than scientists first thought and it also indicates that non-human primates may be smarter than we give them credit for. “”

The results of the study were published earlier this month in the journal Science.

And the best aspect of this story involves the testing methods used. The baboons were not locked in rooms and forced to engage in the testing. They could go into 10 computer booths any time they wanted to. Some worked more than others.