Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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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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#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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