This thread shows promise. I will subscribe.
The Javan Rhino – And then there was one – Phenomena: Laelaps
How do we know when a species no longer exists in a given area? The process, as explained by Brian Switek, is grimly fascinating. Scientists used dogs to find piles of rhino poop between October of 2009 and April of 2010. They found 22 dung piles, but DNA analysis showed that 17 of those belonged to a single rhino. After that rhino was killed by poachers, the rhino footprints vanished and no new piles of scat appeared.
The Lab Accident That Led to the Discovery of Supertasters - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
Supertasters, taste scientists have shown, possess certain gene variants. Supertasters have more of those bumps on their tongues, which are technically called fungiform papillae and contain the taste buds. Not only can supertasters taste some bitter substances that normal (or non-taster, as per the scientific literature) people can't, but many tastes are more intense for them.
Venom: The Bite That Heals - Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine
Ironically, the properties that make venom deadly are also what make it so valuable for medicine. Many venom toxins target the same molecules that need to be controlled to treat diseases. Venom works fast and is highly specific. Its active components—those peptides and proteins, working as toxins and enzymes—target particular molecules, fitting into them like keys into locks. Most medicines work the same way, fitting into and controlling molecular locks to thwart ill effects. It’s a challenge to find the toxin that hits only a certain target, but already top medicines for heart disease and diabetes have been derived from venom. New treatments for autoimmune diseases, cancer, and pain could be available within a decade.
“We aren’t talking just a few novel drugs but entire classes of drugs,” says National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer Zoltan Takacs, a toxinologist and herpetologist. So far, fewer than a thousand toxins have been scrutinized for medicinal value, and a dozen or so major drugs have made it to market. “There could be upwards of 20 million venom toxins out there waiting to be screened,” Takacs says. “It’s huge. Venom has opened up whole new avenues of pharmacology.”
Shark-eating seal among rare and stunning scenes documented off South Africa
But during two recent expeditions they captured wildly spectacular scenes that may never have been photographed: that of a voracious cape fur seal boldly snacking on large sharks;
Maniacal Laugh, Maniacal Laugh, Maniacal Laugh
Great thread idea.
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