Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for May 2017

Improving endurance exercise

  We all know that aerobic exercise is good for us because it helps improve muscle function and our ability to move well. For fish, aerobic exercise helps animals escape predators, catch prey as well as improve reproduction success. When we exercise, our muscles adapt by altering the metabolism of energy, the way calcium is handled as well as the type of contractile proteins present in the muscle. Together these changes […]

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Why flamingos stand on one leg

  Scientists think they have discovered the reason why flamingos (Phoenicopteridae) stand on one leg. In a new study published in Biology Letters scientists studied both live flamingos and carcasses. What they found was that standing on leg requires less energy or effort than standing on both legs. In fact, the researchers found carcasses could be made to stand on one leg quite easily. As stated in the article: “By contrast, the cadaveric flamingo could […]

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Obesity gene found in Labrador retrievers

  Researchers at the University of Cambridge in Britain recently studied ‘willpower’ in pet Labrador retrievers. After allowing each dog to smell a hot dog, the researchers placed the hot dog in a hamster cage and sealed it shut with duct tape. While some dogs showed only mild interest in the sealed-up hot dog, others were fixated on the out-of-reach treat. One dog, named Ash, broke apart the contraption to obtain the treat. […]

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Competition horses calmed by lavender

  While lavender aromatherapy has been documented to reduce stress in humans, little is known about its potential for reducing stress in veterinary medicine. Horses can develop elevated heart rates and stress hormone levels when they are confined to horse trailers and transported to new competition venues. Therapies to reduce stress in competition horses are regulated and often prohibit the use of sedatives or oral supplements. Kylie Heitman, an undergraduate student […]

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Meet the star (nosed) of the show

  Dr. Kenneth Catania from Vanderbilt University presented his work with star-nosed moles at the Experimental Biology meeting last month in Chicago. These animals are really cool. Here are some facts from Dr. Catania about these crazy-looking creatures you may not know: If participating in a bug-eating contest, they would win hands down every time because they are the fastest-eating mammal known. In fact, they can identify and consume a bug in a […]

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