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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

THE TRUE ORIGIN OF COCKATOOS PARROTS TRASH BIN CULTURE!

Soo, pal, parrots have their own culture, that is they have different issue-related behaviours not as a consequence of ecological and genetic variation among them, but 'cause of, precisely, different cultural tracts.


Aaand of course this happens in the most animal wild place on Earth: Australia.


Behavioural ecologist Dr. Barbara C. Klump and a bunch of colleagues led by Dr. Lucy M. Aplin
(of the Cognitive and Cultural Ecology Research Group of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany) indeed (P) in a paper on Science described "the emergence[, in Sydney,] of an evolving set of behaviors [(meaning cultural tracts)] in response to human-generated resources [(meaning the presence of garbage bins with lid to be opened to get to yummy-for-animals-food inside)], in sulphur-crested cockatoos [(meaning the parrots in question)] (see).


The feathered brains, as a matter of fact, displayed social learning skills, and managed to develop "
foraging cultures" (P) in that they acquired the capability to open the lids of waste bins in different (and city area specific) ways.

By the way, pal, Aussies have filmed the birds while even beating the human countermeasures: meaning that human dudes put bricks and other heavy stuff on top of the lids to make it hard, for the birds, to lift said lids, but the canny parrots just beak-pushed the things off the lids, and then proceeded with the party (see video).


Anyway, back to the research paper. Dr. Aplin and colleagues observed "the geographic spread of bin opening from three suburbs to 44 in Sydney, Australia, by means of social learning. Analysis of 160 direct observations revealed individual styles and site-specific differences"
(P), meaning the various groups of cockatoos have their own garbage bin's lid opening culture, and this passes around via observation and imitation, that is, as said, social learning.


This dumb blog, in the following cartoon, provides you a plausible genesis of the fenomenon.

Asutralian Cockatoos and the Trash Cans' lid opening (by @sciencemug)
Asutralian Cockatoos & the trash cans' lid opening (by @sciencemug) (by @sciencemug)
[The tree parrots
pic by Stephen , and the meadow parrots pic by Kelli McClintock, are free ones (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]

Oh dear reader, don't be fooled, cultural tracts are not a sulphur-crested cockatoos'
exclusive. It is well known since decades, for instace, that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have lots of cultural differences.

As of 1999, putting together 151 years of observation from seven long-term studies performed in Africa on as many chimpanzee groups (1), scientists counted "39 different behaviour patterns, including tool usage, grooming and courtship behaviours" (1). Some of these chimps' cultural tracts are: nuts opening (stones vs wooden hammers vs tree root anvils) (1)(2), termites and ant fishing using sticks and other tools (1), the usage of leaves as seats or to clean the body (1), the usage of leafy sticks to fan flies away (1), "[h]and-clasp (clasp arms overhead, groom)" (1) and the "[r]ain dance (slow display at start of rain)" (1).

Ciao!

 

The paper this minipost is about (P

- Klump, B.C., Martin, J.M., Wild, S., Hörsch, J.K., Major, R.E., and Aplin, L.M. (2021). Innovation and geographic spread of a complex foraging culture in an urban parrot. Science 373, 456–460.

Bibliography

1- Whiten, A., Goodall, J., McGrew, W.C., Nishida, T., Reynolds, V., Sugiyama, Y., Tutin, C.E.G., Wrangham, R.W., and Boesch, C. (1999). Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature 399, 682–685.

2- Luncz, L.V., Mundry, R., and Boesch, C. (2012). Evidence for Cultural Differences between Neighboring Chimpanzee Communities. Current Biology 22, 922–926.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

THE TRUE REASON WHY COELACANTHS CAN LIVE 100 YEARS!

Soo, dear reader, a fish, the "living fossil" (given it is already around 240 million years ago, in the Triassic Period) African coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) discovered to be still alive & swimming in East London, South Africa, in 1938 and thought to have gone extinct instead by the end of the Mesozoic era (1) (meaning around 65 million years ago), weeeeell, this already surprising fish manages to surprise once more, as it apparently has a lifespan of about 100 years.

This is, indeed, what three European researchers (aka the EuRs) find out after analyzing, by microscopy, the signs of growth of the scales of 27 specimens of African coelacanth (Ac) (13 females, 11 males, 1 juvenile, and 2 embryos) caught off the coast of the Comoros Islands (Indian Ocean, at large of Central/South Eastern Africa) between 1953 and 1991.

The new discovery, published (P) in the science journal Current Biology, contradicts two previous studies (P) (both of which investigate the same 12 specimens) that gave our - at this point - beloved fish a life expectancy of only 20 years, top.

The EuRs say that a long life suits the characteristics of the Ac. The beast's "biological features including low oxygen-extraction capacity, slow metabolism, ovoviviparity, and low fecundity, [are indeed] typical of fish with slow life histories and slow growth" (P).

We're talking, dear reader, of a swimmer that "has among the lowest growth rates of marine fish for its size" (P) that, by the way, at birth is pretty large already (around 35 cm), and "can reach up to 2 m in length and [...] up to 105 kg [in weight]" (P).

Moreover, with a gestation about 5 years long (so no surprise if the coelacanths "produce a relatively small number of offspring" (P)), and a maturation that takes about 55 years, these fishes have "one of the slowest life histories of all fish" (P).

So, buddy, to sum up, the African coelacanth takes it really slow, and kicks the bucket after a century. And, for this, it can be more in danger than previously thought, because "long-lived species with slow life histories are extremely vulnerable to natural and anthropogenic [meaning human driven] perturbations" (P).

Now, pal, all the above said, this dumb blog shows, in the following cartoon, what's the real secret of African coelacant's longevity...

African coelacanth's interview (by @sciencemug)
African coelacant explains the secret of its longevity (by @sciencemug)
[Fish pic, by 
Zoo Firma, is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license (source: Wikimedia Commons); adapted by @sciencemug]
 

 

 

The paper this minipost is about (P

- Mahé, K., Ernande, B., and Herbin, M. (2021). New scale analyses reveal centenarian African coelacanths. Current Biology 0.

References

1- Smith, J.L.B. (1939). A Living Fish of Mesozoic Type. Nature 143, 455–456.

Monday, May 31, 2021

OF PLASTICS & HUMAN PLACENTA: MEET THE "PLASTICENTA" (Pt 4/4 - PLASTIC POLLUTION)

Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, mesoplastics, macroplastics, megaplastics, nanoplastics, pollution, pollutants, environment, fetus, foetus, placenta, placentas, birth, women, pregnancy, health, human health, food, food chain, food safety, additives, plasticizer, plasticizers, ocean, oceans, marine fauna, sea, seas, zooplankton, shellfish, fish, fauna, animals, Anthropocene

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)

 

Plastic pollution
Plastic pollution (by @sciencemug)
[Frog pic, by Alexas_Fotos is a
free to use (for editorial use only) image (source: pixabay.com); adapted by @sciencemug]
 

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor

See the YouTube video

 Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

su iTunes 

su Anchor

Guarda il video in italiano su YouTube 


Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing reader, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while rolling, just to see what happens, a perfect, but surprisingly less expensive than one could think, replica of the dices Einstein’s god actually left on the cosmic green table once done with them, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human. 

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what twerking is to elegance. 

Today I’m gonna tell you the last part (the first three are here, here, aaand here) of a story about human placentas and plastics! 

A group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains, aka the ITBs) finds microplastics fragments (MPs), that is plastic particles smaller than half a centimeter, in placentas of women in good health and who have had normal pregnancies and deliveries.

The study is lead by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli, in Rome, and Dr. Ragusa and colleagues’ research is told in a paper (P) published on the science journal Environment International. 

Aand, dear reader, at the end of the post be sure not to miss reading the answers kind Doctor Ragusa gave to this blog’s three questions for the "Oddities & Bloopers: The Researcher's Fun Corner". 

Oook, so, people, read the previous posts to learn what the Italian Brains did to finally make their troubling discovery.

I just remind you that microplastics most probably enter human body via inhalation and ingestion, and that they are dangerous for human health, and, of course, for a developing fetus. 

Aaaaand in this fourth and final part of the post, then, we’re gonna find out how massive and widespread plastic presence in the environment be and therefore how often and easily you humans are exposed to plastic pollution, and how harmful this kind of pollution be to life-forms in general, and you sapiens people in particular.

Let’s start with the “massive and widespread plastic presence in the environment” topic.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

OF PLASTICS & HUMAN PLACENTA: MEET THE "PLASTICENTA" (Pt 3/4 - THE WAY IN)

Keywords: plastics, plastic, microplastics, pollution, placenta, placentas, birth, women, pregnancy, medicine, biology, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, lungs, intestine, bloodstream, immune system, lymphatic system, epithelium, endocytosis

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 4 is here 

(Read other plastic related stories here & here)

 


 

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor

 


 Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

su iTunes 

su Anchor

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while assessing the financial risks of buying seventy-six hundreds tons of pineapples with the idea to resell them to the Italian pizza industry, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.

Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what Cosmic Sin sf movie is to something even remotely different from a cosmic waste of money aaand a sin committed by the director, screenwriter, producers, cast and film distributors towards the audience, and the gods of storytelling. 

Today I’m gonna tell you the third part (the first two are here, and here) of a story about human placentas and plastics!

A group of Italian researchers (aka the Italian Brains, aka the ITBs) study human placentas in search of microplastics fragments (MPs), that is plastic particles smaller than half a centimeter. In doing so, the researchers for the first time ever find such pollutants in the placentas of women in good health and who have had normal pregnancies and deliveries.

The Italian research team is lead by Medical Doctor Antonio Ragusa, Head of the Department of Woman, Mother and Newborn of the San Giovanni Calibíta Fatebenefratelli Hospital, in Rome, and the group publishes its study (P) on the science journal Environment International

Now, people, so far I’ve told you: how the Italian Brains select the pregnant women for their study, how they design and execute a plastic free protocol to collect the placenta samples, what kind of technique they use to analyze them, aand finally what are the characteristics of the microplastics found in said placenta samples. 

In this episode, dear listener, I’m gonna tell you the Italian Brains’ idea of how the darn super-tiny pieces of plastics manage to travel from the outside world all the way deep down into the placenta, that is the organ in charge to basically feed and protect the developing fetus.

Well, dear listener, doctor Ragusa and colleagues think that the MPs most probably reach the placenta via

Sunday, March 21, 2021

OF FOOD PRODUCTION IN URBAN AREAS: MEET THE URBAN HORTICULTURE! (PT 1/2)

Keywords: food, food security, food production, urban areas, horticulture, urban horticulture, soil-based horticulture, controlled environment horticulture, urban agriculture, research, city, Sheffield, UK, United Kingdom, Great Britain

 


 Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes
on Anchor
 

Parole chiave: cibo, sicurezza alimentare, produzione alimentare, aree urbane, orticoltura, orticoltura urbana, orticoltura basata su suolo, orticoltura in ambientale controllato, agricoltura urbana, ricerca, città, Sheffield, Inghilterra, Regno Unito, Gran Bretagna

 
 

 
Ascolta l'episodio in italiano  

su iTunes 

su Anchor

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on zazzle.com which tells you science stories while studying a lot for a degree in “How to read Icelandic volcanoes names without making your tongue need to get into therapy and your brain start working hard on a de-evolution five-nanoseconds plan, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human. Aaand which does all of this in English-question-mark, a language that is to proper English what a record-breaking snowstorm in NY this winter is to something disproving global warming. 

Today I’m gonna tell you a story about urban areas and food production!

Vegetables in a supermarket stand
Veggies and the urban horticulture style (by @sciencemug)
[The
pic by Scott Warman is a free one (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]

In assessing the potential of urban horticulture (UH) as a concrete source of food for urban areas inhabitants, a bunch of researchers of the University of Sheffield, England, UK, lead by Dr. Jill L. Edmondson, build a case study by which they show that there is way enough land available within the city of Sheffield to feed its people with all the fruit and vegetable they need. Dr. Edmonson and colleagues - aka the E-Science-Pack – then publish