Research carried out in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho on pronghorns demonstrates what guys learn soon enough: in male-female choices for mating, it is the female who does the choosing. However, there is a big difference between pronghorns, commonly known as antelopes, and us humans. With pronghorns the male that is most attractive to females gets to mate with so many females that few are left for the less attractive males. This leads to sexual selection – the attractive male characteristics are predominantly passed on in the male progeny. The other males are left out in the cold, so-to-speak, both in getting to mate and in passing on their genes.
Glucose-based cockroach traps have alerted the common German species that sweet can be deadly, causing the cockroaches to avoid these glucose- baited traps and reducing the traps’ effectiveness. Research shows that these “smarter” cockroaches detect glucose and other sweet chemicals, as bitter and to be avoided.
A research article in “Science,” (page 96 of the January 4, 2013 issue,) reports on a study of more than 19,000 people which demonstrated that at whatever age we are, we believe we have reached the high point and that further change is far less likely than in our earlier years. This is termed “The End of History Illusion,” with the consequence that plans are often made for our future based upon the illusion that we will want what we want now. The research shows that although the young amongst us suffer most from this illusion, we are not much wiser even well into our sixties. The abstract of the article ends with the sentence: “The ‘end of history illusion’ has practical consequences, leading people to overpay for future opportunities to indulge their current preferences.”
A team at the University of Bristol discovered when analyzing preserved beef jerky in the tomb of a powerful Egyptian queen, that this treat left for a fortunate few in the afterlife is laced with a resin derived from pistachio nuts. Who says you can’t take it with you?
Scientists who subjected pregnant mice to jet lag by manipulating light sources to make the equivalent of flying from Chicago to London, found that only 22% of the mice continued their pregnancy compared to 90% in a control group. The same researchers found that shifting the clock backward instead of forward had a less severe effect. I always did find it easier to come home to New York from Europe than the other way around. The effect has not been demonstrated in human beings, although I wonder about flight attendants and if there have been any attempts to collect data on their pregnancies.
Research from Monash University in Australia reports on surveys comparing the nature of Chinese adults who were born after the one-child policy was put into place in 1979, and those born before this date, who were often part of families with siblings. The child born after that date is reported in a summary of the research to: “be less trusting, less trustworthy, more risk averse, less competitive, more pessimistic, and less conscientious.” They studied only 421 individuals but claim the differences to be significantly large enough to be believed. If true, what does that say about the Chinese who are now in their thirties and coming to power in the not-distant future?
Finally, as a noisome fly buzzes around my head bouncing off the light bulb above me, I report to you that researchers at the University of Washington and the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology, in their study of how flies avoid getting swatted, report that with a few changes in wing beats and incredibly fast banked turns the insect turns away from the danger much faster than previously imagined by researchers – although known to the annoyed among us. If you think the research would help you swat the annoyance away you can read the details in “Science” on page 172 in April 11, 2014 issue.
. http://sciencefromaway.com .