Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for October 2017

#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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#3: Zebra Finches Reward Themselves for singing well

The #3 post so far this year explored how zebra finches reward themselves for singing well:   Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons in the brain of zebra finches do in fact decrease dopamine signals when the birds hear an […]

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#4: Komodo Dragons have antibacterial blood

Komodo Dragon

Here is the 4th most popular post so far this year:   Researchers studying komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) at George Mason University discovered 48 previously unknown peptides in their blood that might have antimicrobial properties. Their findings were published in the Journal of Proteome Research. For the largest lizard, these peptides may help prevent the animals from getting infections from their own saliva, which is host to at least 57 species of bacteria. With this […]

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#5: Competition horses calmed by lavender

In looking back over the history of the blog, I thought it would be fun to take another glimpse at the top 5 most popular posts in 2017 thus far… 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 […]

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Back by popular demand: the Venezuelan poodle moth

It is hard to believe that I have been sharing my passion for comparative physiology and its application to human and animal health with you for over 7 years now! In reminiscing over the last 7 years, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts. So, here goes… The most popular blog post since 2010 featured the adorable Venezuelan poodle moth… ____ Posted August […]

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New species of giant rat discovered in Solomon Islands

A new species of giant tree rats (Uromys vika) has been confirmed in the Solomon Islands! These rats can reach over 2 pounds and an impressive 1.5 feet in length. They can even break through coconuts with their teeth. I would not want to cross paths with one of these critters.   Sources: Video: YouTube TH Lavery, H Judge. A new species of giant rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon […]

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