Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Researchers are working on decoding “fowl language”

Chickens are notoriously chatty animals. Although most people may only associate clucking noises with chickens, the birds make quite a variety of sounds. Poultry scientists and engineers at the University of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology have teamed up with farmers to try to decode the so-called “fowl language” spoken by chickens. The goal is to help farmers better understand what their animals are communicating. They recorded chicken vocalizations […]

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Health risks of being social

When I think of rainbow trout, the first image that comes to mind is usually something like this: In the wild, they look more like this: …not as appetizing, but a lot more fascinating.  When salmonid fish like rainbow trout are in environments with limited food or space, they form social hierarchies. In one study of limited food availability, Grobler et al., found that when they placed 4 rainbow trout […]

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Man catches rare warm-blooded fish

This past weekend a man caught a very rare fish, called an opah (aka moonfish), off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. What makes this fish so rare is that it is the only known warm-blooded fish. In fact, they are able to keep their whole body about 5 degrees Celsius above the water they swim in. Other fish lose heat generated from muscle movements to the environment as the […]

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Evidence your dog may be red-green color blind

You would think that Thanksgiving is already over when visiting most stores as there are Christmas decorations and merchandise everywhere. Reds and greens are popular colors for Christmas decorations and dog toys. However, a new study suggests that your dog may be red-green color blind. The study examined the ability of dogs to detect colors by exposing animals to a colored image on a screen and measuring the eye, head […]

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Pallid bats vs Arizona Bark Scorpions

I don’t know about you, but I am terrified of scorpions.  As if scorpions were not spooky enough, the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) is the most venomous scorpion in North America. Gulp. Enter the pallid bat. Clearly not as intimidated, pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus) often dine on Arizona bark scorpions. Researchers at the University of California at Riverside wanted to examine whether the bats were truly resistant to the […]

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#1: Is there an evolutionary advantage to “being stupid”?

And the #1 blog entry published thus far in 2017 discussed whether there was an evolutionary advantage to being stupid: —- As I was looking through the scientific literature the other day, I came across an article published in 1973, “The Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid.” With a title like that, how could I not read it? In this article Dr. Eugene D. Robin discussed how larger and more complex brains are […]

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