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Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Daily Defecation Outputs of Mountain Gorillas

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Output takes center stage in this new study of what some gorillas left behind:

Daily Defecation Outputs of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda,” Elie Sinayitutse, David Modry, Jan Slapeta, Aisha Nyiramana, Antoine Mudakikwa, Richard Muvunyi, and Winnie Eckardt, Primates, epub 2020. (Thanks to Damien Caillaud for bringing this to our attention.)

The authors, at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International; the University of Rwanda, Butare; the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Czech Republic; the Czech Academy of Sciences; the University of Sydney, Australia; the University of Rwanda; and the Rwanda Development Board, report:.

“We weighed 399 wet fecal samples deposited at nest sites and on trails between nest sites by gorillas of varying age and sex, determined by lobe diameter, from five social groups (n = 58 gorillas) that range in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. We found increasing daily average defecation outputs with increasing age-sex class (infants, 435 g; juveniles, 1346 g; medium-sized gorillas, 2446 g; silverbacks, 3609 g). Gorillas deposited two– to threefold the amount of feces at nest sites compared to on trails, suggesting that nest sites may function as hotspots for enteric pathogen infections through direct contact or when gorillas ingest foods contaminated with infectious larvae during site revisits in intervals matching the maturation period of environmentally transmitted gastrointestinal parasites.”

PERSONAL (by Marc) NOTE: In my 9th grade biology class the teacher gave me an F on a book report, because she insisted I was concocting the details. The details were about observing gorilla droppings. The book, I’m pretty sure, was either by or about Dian Fossey. The teacher was so angry at me that, even after I retrieved the book from the library and showed her the things I had described she still insisted on giving me an F for that report. It’s the only F I ever got, and I am still proud of it.

The Consortium for Research About Profanity

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

“Welcome to the Consortium for Research About Profanity,” says the Consortium for Research About Profanity, then pausing ever so slightly before explaining:

“The Consortium for Research About Profanity is a collection of researchers working on understanding how profanity functions in minds, between people, and across societies.”

Who are they? They are a lively bunch:

Why Wild Giant Pandas Frequently Roll in Horse Manure

Monday, December 7th, 2020

The question of the wild giant pandas frequently roll in horse manure is explored in a new study called “Why Wild Giant Pandas Frequently Roll in Horse Manure.”

Why Wild Giant Pandas Frequently Roll in Horse Manure,” Wenliang Zhou, Shilong Yang, Bowen Li, Yonggang Nie, Anna Luo, Guangping Huang, Xuefeng Liu, Ren Lai, and Fuwen Wei, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 7, 2020. The study includes videos of the activity.

The authors, at the Chinese Academy of Science, report:

“In nature, it is extremely rare to observe attraction to fecal matter between wild mammalian species. Horse manure rolling (HMR) behavior described in this study is frequently observed in QIN pandas at low habitat temperature. Based on integrated analysis from climatic data, animal behaviors, and molecular assays, HMR is found as a temperature-, chemical-, and TRPM8-related behavior that may contribute to pandas’ cold tolerance. This study sheds light on how wild animals actively seek and utilize potential chemical resources from their habitat for survival adaptation.”

Word is spreading. Katherine Wu interviewed some scientists about this, for the New York Times, and other reports are proliferating.

The Pee Tape: How Mammals Pee So Expeditiously

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

David Hu, head of the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize-winning urination-duration-research team, has a new animated video explaining that research:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang, David Hu, Jonathan Pham, and Jerome Choo, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

They explain that research in detail, in the study “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size,” Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 33, August 19, 2014, pp. 11932–11937.

Patricia Yang and David Hu, together with additional colleagues, were awarded a second Ig Nobel Prize four years later. The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang, Alexander Lee, Miles Chan, Alynn Martin, Ashley Edwards, Scott Carver, and David Hu, for studying how, and why, wombats make cube-shaped poo.

They explain that research in detail, in the study “How Do Wombats Make Cubed Poo?” Patricia J. Yang, Miles Chan, Scott Carver, and David L. Hu, paper presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Abstract: E19.0000, November 18–20, 2018.

Effects of Cashew Gum and Nanoparticles on Cooled Stallion Semen

Friday, October 9th, 2020

The number of published research studies about the effects of cashew gum and nanoparticles on cooled stallion semen has increased by one, with the arrival of this new study:

Effects of Cashew Gum and Nanoparticles on Cooled Stallion Semen,” Kahynna Cavalcante Loureiro, Isabel Bezerra Lima-Verde, Anders Johannisson, Theodoros Ntallaris, Alessandro Jager, Petr Štěpánek, Marcelo da Costa Mendonça, Patrícia Severino & Jane M. Morrell, Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, vol. 62, no. 31, 2020.

The authors are at the Institute of Technology and Research (ITP), Brazil, Tiradentes University (UNIT), Brazil, the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Czech Republic, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

(Thanks to Silvan Urfer for bringing this to our attention.)

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