05 August, 2015 – Episode 526 – This Week in Science


Homo Harems, Horse Heads, Tiny Brains, Top Cock Crows, Panda Onions!, Zombie Spider Slaves, Kiss Or No?, Blood Snow Leopards, Mole Cancer Fighters, Facebook Botany, And Much More…

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Homo harems
The accepted story that a rapid increase in size was involved in the origins of the Homo genus was challenged by a recent analysis suggesting that early hominins were smaller than thought, and may have maintained sexual size dimorphism and a harem-like social structure similar to what is seen in gorillas today.

Head like a horse
This is something horse-people probably already knew: horses have a wide variety of facial expressions. 17 to be exact.

Small brained activity
A small group of neurons in the cerebellum are responsible for tuning our motor ability by comparing actual to expected neuronal activity.

Top cock crows first
Male chickens, or “cockerels,” crow in order from highest to lowest rank, defying their circadian rhythms to cow-tow to the social strata.

Pandas – the onions of the bear world
Pandas are not nocturnal, they are not diurnal, and they are not crepuscular. They are a new kind of critter, GPS collars reveal.

Zombie spider a slave to its host
Orb weaver spiders are tricked into building a particular kind of intricate web for their host – but why? and how?

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A kiss is just a kiss…
Unless nobody kisses.

Snow Leopards are nothing special
…when it comes to their hemoglobin. The new theory (next to be tested) is that they just breathe harder!

Fighting cancer with moles…
Skin moles, not the furry ones, tend to grow to a maximum size, then stop. Unless, they are cancerous. Recent research has elucidated the roles of the cancer mutation BRAF in promoting cell division, and the cancer suppressor gene, p15, in stopping it.

New plant discovered on the Facebook
The “magnificent sundew” was discovered via a picture posted on facebook, and is the second-largest carnivorous plant in the Americas.

Cool picture
…of the dark side of the moon lit up with the earth in the background

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I'm the host of this little science show.