More stories

  • Hot Popular


    100% of amphibians are aglow with biofluorescence

    They tested animals from eight of 10 families of salamanders, five families of frogs, and one family of caecilians. Every animal tested, even larvae, lit up in varying patterns and intensities. Spots, blotches, stripes, snotty secretions, urine, and even bones and digits glowed after exposure to blue light. For most species, this glow was bright green, but some produced yellow or orange fluorescence. Salamanders and caecilians without bold or brightly-colored patterns made up for it with unexpected lights: Their cloacal regions (multipurpose organs they use to eat, excrete and reproduce) shone brightly as a flashlight. More

  • in

    There are about 28% less neurons in the brain than there are stars in the Milky Way.

    For a long time, neuroscientists would say that there are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain. And therefore, more that there are more neurons in the brain than there are stars in the Milky Way. Interestingly, no one has ever published a peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting that count. Rather it’s been informally interpolated from other measurements. A study from 2009 published by Azevedo and colleagues took a crack at a more precise estimate. Their answer?

    Approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. The latest estimates for the number of stars in the Milky Way are somewhere between 200 and 400 billion. So close, but the human brain certainly doesn’t quite stack up! More

  • Hot Popular


    Cows moo with regional accents

    “In a major breakthrough in bovine linguistic research, experts have confirmed that cows moo with accents distinct to their herd, the BBC reports.

    John Wells, professor of Phonetics at the University of London, examined West Country farmers’ claims that their beasts were mooing with a local twang.

    Lloyd Green of Glastonbury said: “”I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl. I’ve spoken to the other farmers in the West Country group and they have noticed a similar development in their own herds. It works the same as with dogs – the closer a farmer’s bond is with his animals, the easier it is for them to pick up his accent.””

    Professor Wells confirmed Green’s observations, explaining: “”This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country. In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group.””

    Linguistics expert Dr Jeanine Treffers-Daller of University of the West of England in Bristol, ruminated: “”When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the West Country cow moo.””

    The latest findings will do much to expand our understanding of the bovine world, which has in the last couple of years been enhanced by the revelations that cows enjoy a bit of girl-on-girl and bear grudges.” More