Sunday, March 30, 2014

This week in biology/medicine (March 24-30, 2014)

Bizarre: Tamisiocaris (illustration, pictured) swam using flaps down either side of the body and had large appendages in front of its mouths to catch prey. These appendages were made up of jointed segments, which could curl like fingers to grasp prey

A European group has identified a fossil of a new, whale-like species that filtered plankton, showing that Cambrian ecosystems were closer to modern ecosystems than has been previously thought.

A photographic exploration of the oldest living things in the world.  Not research findings, but worth checking out anyway.

Being underweight is as much of a mortality and health risk as being obese.

Crows understand water displacement at the level of a 5-7 year old child. (Open Access)

Speaking of intelligent animals, goats are pretty smart too. (Open Access)

And a public health win!  Public smoking bans have been linked with substantial reductions in preterm births and asthma-related hospital admissions. (Open Access)

Ever had a migraine just after a stressful event?  Apparently that's normal.

Huntington's-associated neurodegeneration linked to depleted levels of an enzyme (cystathionine gamma-lyase) that makes cysteine.  Shameless self-promotion: if you want to know more about CGL or cysteine metabolism, check out this paper!

And a Dutch hospital used a 3D printer to make a plastic skull, which they then transplanted onto a patient.

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