Friday, 29 August 2014

Three Things You Didn’t Know About the Arachnids That Live on Your Face

This article was originally published at New York State News. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

You are not alone. Your body is a collection of microbes, fungi, viruses…and even other animals. In fact, you aren’t even the only animal using your face. Right now, in the general vicinity of your nose, there are at least two species of microscopic mites living in your pores. You would expect scientists to know quite a lot about these animals (given that we share our faces with them), but we don’t.

Here is what we do know: Demodex mites are microscopic arachnids (relatives of spiders and ticks) that live in and on the skin of mammals – including humans. They have been found on every mammal species where we’ve looked for them, except the platypus and their odd egg-laying relatives.

Paleontologists describe a possible dinosaur nest and young 'babysitter'

Date:
August 27, 2014

Source:
University of Pennsylvania

Summary:
A new examination of a rock slab containing fossils of 24 very young dinosaurs and one older individual is suggestive of a group of hatchlings overseen by a caretaker, according to a new study.


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Investigation reveals a highly organised ivory trade across Asia and Africa

A new report uncovers the fact that Chinese ivory traffickers are present in virtually every African state, and operate at nearly every point along the supply chain. 

A car covered in carved ivory and yak 
bone was auctioned in 2010 in China
The report, called Out of Africa; Criminalisation of the African Ivory Trade, was commissioned by Born Free USA and C4ADS (a nonprofit organisation that is dedicated to data-driven analysis and evidence-based reporting of conflict and security issues worldwide), and focuses on the entire supply chain from source to end user.

It found that despite its global scale, the majority of the illegal ivory trade is dominated by a small number of networks, and that the majority of the ivory is shipped via just 100 large annual consignments that make up 70-80 per cent of the trade.

Seizures across multiple countries and commodities often appear to trace back to the same individuals and networks, and traffickers, particularly Chinese, straddle Africa and Asia and are linked to seizures in nearly every African range state and at nearly every stage along the supply chain.

New research reveals how wild rabbits were genetically transformed into tame rabbits

Date:
August 28, 2014

Source:
Uppsala University

Summary:
The genetic changes that transformed wild animals into domesticated forms have long been a mystery. An international team of scientists has now made a breakthrough by showing that many genes controlling the development of the brain and the nervous system were particularly important for rabbit domestication. The study gives answers to many genetic questions.


How the zebrafish gets its stripes: Uncovering how beautiful color patterns can develop in animals

Date:
August 28, 2014

Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Summary:
The zebrafish, a small fresh water fish, owes its name to a striking pattern of blue stripes alternating with golden stripes. Three major pigment cell types, black cells, reflective silvery cells, and yellow cells emerge during growth in the skin of the tiny juvenile fish and arrange as a multi-layered mosaic to compose the characteristic color pattern. While it was known that all three cell types have to interact to form proper stripes, the embryonic origin of the pigment cells that develop the stripes of the adult fish has remained a mystery up to now. Scientists have now discovered how these cells arise and behave to form the 'zebra' pattern


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