Cat’s Hand-Swinging Dance with Her Human (Video)

Ame the Cat performs a weird hand ritual with her owner…

Thanks Miwa!

Why Do We Have Two Nostrils?

Popular super nerd  has returned to the web for his much anticipated weekly science lesson. For his latest video, he asks the very intriguing question, “Why Do We Have Two Nostrils?

Having two ears and two eyes serves very real purposes–mainly echo location and depth perception. But is there a scientific reason for why we, and so many other animals, have two nostrils?

Why not one big nostril, just like we have one mouth?


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Zapata Flyboard JetPack Turns You Into Human Dolphin (Video)

Zapata Flyboard JetPack Turns You Into Human DolphinZapata Flyboard JetPack Turns You Into Human Dolphin

Flyboard, a new water-powered jet-pack built by French water sports fan Franky Zapata, lets you dive in and out of water like a human dolphin. This is the main feature that separates Zapata’s Flyboard from Jetlev, another water-propelled jetpack which was revealed earlier this year.

The other difference is the price. The Jetlev is priced at whopping $ 107,000, but the basic Zapata Racing Flyboard model costs $ 6,500.

Zapata Flyboard JetPack Turns You Into Human DolphinZapata Flyboard JetPack Turns You Into Human Dolphin

The mechanics are similar, with water sucked from the ocean through a huge hose attached to a jetski and blasted back out again.

The power of the water is controlled by an operator on the jetski, which has to have at least 100hp to operate the Flyboard.

Once you’ve got the hang of it it’s possible to jump to incredible heights out of the water – over 30ft – with Franky Zapata himself even able to perform backwards somersaults.

Not as graceful as a dolphin, but looks really fun.

via Yababoon

Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla (Video)

Wild baby gorillas groom explorer in UgandaWild baby gorillas groom explorer in Uganda

A group of researchers encounters a pack of wild mountain gorillas near Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and one lucky human gets groomed by baby gorillas…

via Viral Viral Videos

Why Do Elephants Rarely Get Cancer?

Despite the ridiculous rumor, sharks do get cancer. Elephants, though, rarely do, and thats a weird phenomenon that scientists have really struggled to explain. But they may have finally cracked it: According to a new study, its all in the genes. Well, one gene, and their 20 copies of it.

With a self-explanatory name, tumor suppressor, this helps get rid of damaged cells that could become cancerous. Humans only have one copy, so researchers think that owning extras could be behind the remarkable ability of these pachyderms to resist cancer. And later on down the line, these intriguing findings may help us in our own fight against cancer (but let’s not turn them into supplements, please?).

But lets rewind a little bit first. Why is it strange that elephants seem to have a reduced burden of cancer? Well, cancer, as you probably know, is a disease that results from cell division gone haywire. Elephants are obviously big animals, so you would logically assume that more cells equals a greater risk of something going wrong. Cell division isnt error-proof, and mistakes that could lead to mutation are often made if not dealt with appropriately.

In steps the Peto paradox: We dont actually see increased cancer incidence in larger species. So how are the biguns staving off the disease? A study by the University of Utah and Arizona State University decided to find out.

They began by seeking to confirm the absence of a positive relationship between body size and cancer incidence, which involved scouring through 14 years of necropsy data in order to calculate tumor rates for 36 species of mammal, spanning sixorders of magnitude in size. As expected, cancer mortality didnt increase with body size, and elephants were estimated to only have a 4.8% cancer mortality rate; in humans its up to 25%.

Next, they scoured the elephant genome in search of clues, and they found something pretty remarkable. Unlike humans that only own the one, elephants have 20 copies, and therefore 40 forms, or alleles (remember chromosomes are in pairs), of a gene called TP53 which codes for a protein called p53. TP53 is whats known as a tumor suppressor gene: these cellular safeguards function to prevent inappropriate cell division and kill off cells to keep things balanced.

When the researchers examined these alleles further, they found that 38 of them seemed to be modified duplicates of the original that have appeared throughout their evolutionary history. To find out if its this extra genetic baggage thats helping the animals resist cancer, the team exposed cells isolated from humans and elephants to DNA-damaging radiation and observed the effects.

Compared to cells obtained from healthy humans, those from elephants committed suicide twice as frequently in response to the damage, which was found to be driven by p53. And when they compared them to cells isolated from patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a disorder in which a missing working copy of TP53 results in a dramatically increased cancer risk, the suicide rate was found to be five times greater. The results are published in JAMA.

By all logical reasoning, elephants should be developing a tremendous amount of cancer, and in fact, should be extinct by now due to such a high risk for cancer, co-senior author Joshua Schiffman said in a statement. We think that making more p53 is natures way of keeping this species alive.

But before we start giving p53 all the praise, its likely that there are other factors at play. For example, an accompanying editorial points out that elephants sluggish metabolic rate is likely coupled with low rates of cell division, which could also contribute to the reduced risk. More research is needed, but its an interesting start nonetheless.

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CGI Animals Doing Stunts in France 3 TV Ads (Video)

Remember the animated short with high diving giraffes? These France 3 commercials with CGI animals are equally awesome!


Boxer Dog Gives Owner a Death Stare during Car Ride (Video)

Boxer Dog Gives Owner a Death Stare during Car Ride (Video)

‘Don’t you ever touch me again, human!’

Video by td_stoppenhagen. Spotted here.

Human Population Through Time Visualized

This very interesting video from the American Museum of Natural History displaying the growth of the human population on earth (from the beginning to now) has gotten over 500.000 views within days. I think it is a very well done visualization.

“It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billionand only 200 years to reach 7 billion. But growth has begun slowing, as women have fewer babies on average. When will our global population peak? And how can we minimize our impact on Earths resources, even as we approach 11 billion?”

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There Were Some Completely Absurd Reactions To The Google Doodle Celebrating The Discovery Of Lucy

Most days, Google puts up a fun and informative illustration on its homepage celebrating a notable event,covering pretty much everything from Egyptian singer Asmahans 103rd birthday to Thanksgiving.

On the November 24, they celebrated the 41st anniversary of Lucys discovery, a hugely important milestone in our understanding of human evolution.

In 1974, scientists discovered remains of a hominidspecies calledAustralopithecus afarensis in Ethiopia which they named after the Beatles song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.The characteristics of the specimen’s bone structure, particularly its pelvic bone, helped scientists understand how humans evolved to walk upright. And with a small skull, she showed scientists that bipedalism preceded an increase in brain size, the order of which was contentious for our evolutionary history.

However, a surprising numberof people werent too pleased that Google was glorifying evolution and the idea that we are monkeys, along with aload of other misconceptions about evolution.Creationists, evolution-skeptics and, no doubt, some sarcastic trolls, hammered their keyboards to express their disdain some even threatening to boycott the tech giant.

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