Archives for posts with tag: animals

Children brought up with animals, and youngest children in families, are often the least likely to get asthma,  and this may be down to the microbiome (all the bacteria) in the home’s house dust. Mice fed house dust from homes with dogs were more likely to be immune to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) than mice fed with dust from non-dog homes. RSV is a common childhood infection, and children exposed to it are more likely to get asthma.The microbes in their gut were also different.

The hygiene hypothesis suggests that we get more allergies now because our immune systems don’t have enough to do. Hookworms might be able to cure allergies – but a dog is much more fun to take for a walk!

Researchers found the Lord Howe phasmid, a giant stick insect, on Ball’s Pyramid, off the coast of Australia, in 2001.This was thought to have gone extinct in the late 20th century but the team has created new breeding colonies.

Lord Howe's phasmid

Source: Patrick Honan, Zoos Victoria

They hope to reintroduce the insects to their native habitat on nearby Lord Howe Island once they have eradicated the non-native predators.

Because of fossils and anatomy studies it looked like turtles evolved from lizards and snakes, but new genetic research shows that they have evolved from the same ancestor as birds and crocodiles.

Read the abstract in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Giraffes’ coats get darker with age – while this has been known for a while, by putting together data collected since the 1970s, scientists have been able to pin specific colours to ages.  This could indicate to other giraffes that individuals have gone through puberty.

Some insects use mimicry to avoid being eaten – for example, a harmless hoverfly looks like a wasp. Some small mimics aren’t very good at it but they still seem to avoid being eaten by predators.

Animals do dream – and they seem to go through the same stages of sleep as us.

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