Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brain 'GPS' Illuminated in Migratory Monarch Butterflies

A new study takes a close look at the brain of the migratory monarch butterfly to better understand how these remarkable insects use an internal compass and skylight cues to navigate.

Dr. Steven Reppert from the University of Massachusetts Medical School explains that information from both eyes is integrated and time compensated for the sun's movement by a circadian clock so that flight direction is constantly adjusted to maintain a southerly bearing over the day."

Dr. Heinze says, our results reveal the general layout of the neuronal machinery for sun compass navigation in the monarch brain and provide insights into a possible mechanism of integrating polarized skylight information and solar azimuth," concludes. "More generally, our results address a fundamental problem of sensory processing by showing how seemingly contradictory skylight signals are integrated into a consistent, neural representation of the environment.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quantum robins go ahead the way

Researchers have been investigating the mechanism which enables birds to detect the Earth's magnetic field to help them navigate over vast distances. This ability, known as magneto reception, has been linked to chemical reactions inside birds' eyes.

The experiment showed that the magnetic compass used by robins could be disrupted by extremely small levels of magnetic 'noise'. When this noise, a tiny oscillating magnetic field, was introduced it completely disabled the Robins' compass sense which then returned to normal once the noise was removed - good news for robins which have to navigate on the long migration route to Scandinavia and Africa and back every year.

In their analysis the Oxford/Singapore team shows that only a system with components operating at a quantum level would be this sensitive to such a small amount of noise.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mother Tiger Adopts Baby Pigs

In a Californian zoo a tiger gave birth to three tiger cubs. Due to complication in pregnancy the cubs died. The mother tiger was depressed with her triplet tiger cubs’ death and her health was wretched so the veterinarians came up with a decision. They took orphan piglets and wrapped them in tiger skin and placed the babies around the tiger.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 'Ark' Eco Building in Future

The housing of the future as envisioned by Russian architect Alexander Remizov could be constructed quickly, withstand environmental disasters, and house 10,000 people at a time. The eco-friendly dome, 'The Ark,' is designed to withstand biblical flood levels and can be built on land or sea.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Newborn lions in Argentina

Three white lion cubs showed their presence for the first time in Argentina. According to a survey these are the first white lions to be born in South America.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Mites are not insects

Common dust mites in the home are not actually insects at all. Instead, they belong to the class Arachnids -- which includes spiders and the subclass acarina that includes ticks. Long believed to be solitary animals in general, several species of spiders and one species of mites, spider mites, have been shown to cooperate within species groups in building nests and raising young. This is the first evidence that house dust mites share some rudiments of sociality.

House dust mites, nearly microscopic creatures that inhabit every crevice of our lives and make us sneeze has long been assumed to be solitary in behavior. Now new research has shown that they are actually quite social.

A group of ethologists -- animal behaviorists -- have demonstrated that these mites migrate through our homes in crowds. They like the occasional communal road trip, and they follow each other using some signal, perhaps chemical, to chose the route more traveled.