Posts tagged with ‘biology

10 weird facts about human evolution

Such as… did you know that very early Homo sapiens had brains that were much bigger than ours? And not just bigger in terms of size, it’s speculated that they were actually far more intelligent on an individual level, but not so good at working as a team, so eventually we sacrificed individual intelligence in favor of being really good at collective intelligence.

Tibetans got their amazing high altitude genes from long extinct Denisovans

Genetic research has already discovered that early humans in Europe mingled genes (bumped uglies) with Neanderthals, now it looks like Tibetans’ unique tolerance for extremely high altitudes can directly be traced to genes from another long extinct hominid race, the Denisovans. Denisovans were one of many ancient human species that lived at the same time as early Homo sapiens. The genes that Tibetans inherited allow for a better use of blood oxygen at higher altitudes that would make lesser mortals’ blood thicken above 15,000 feet to deadly levels.

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Why You Are Still Alive - The Immune System Explained

Every second of your life you are under attack. Bacteria, viruses, spores and more living stuff wants to enter your body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for your survival. Without it you would die in no time. This sounds simple but the reality is complex, beautiful and just awesome.

Scientists develop a bionic pancreas for type 1 diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects more and more people every year, especially in the US, because fat unhealthy Americans or whatever you’re about to say. While diabetes isn’t the death sentence that it used to be, it still can drastically reduce one’s life span as well as just being an enormous pain in the ass. As a more permanent solution to insulin or injections, scientists have now developed a bionic pancreas— basically it’s an insulin pump embedded in your body that uses sensors to check blood glucose levels every five minutes and doles out the amount of insulin needed.

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The amazing thing that happens to your body when you’re underwater

While most mammals have long become comfortable to land, a neat thing happens when your body or that of any mammal is submerged in water— instantly, your heart rate slows, blood begins to flow away from the limbs into the torso to combat the external pressure and oxygen is used more efficiently. Even just dipping your face in water for a few seconds will trigger this lowered heart rate. This entire combination of reactions can not only help to lower stress, but it makes it possible to dive to depths that otherwise might crush your lungs like tinfoil.

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So apparently brown bears like oral sex. Who knew? Yogi Bear, that’s who

Fruit bats are one of the few species to this point other than humans that have been observed (giggity) having oral sex for pleasure, as opposed to just licking genitals for hygiene. But now you can add brown bears to that list, because researchers have now observed brown bear dick sucking 28 times among bears in a sanctuary in Croatia.

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Researchers find that fasting for three days is a good way to reboot your immune system

For centuries, some people have touted the benefits of periodic fasting, and now with 21st century science, researchers have discovered that fasting for three days apparently “restarts” the immune system by triggering the body to turn stem cells into a batch of brand new white blood cells. Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

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Adult women see their vaginas for the first time (SFW)

I’m not sure how any adult, male or female, could go their entire lives without ever getting a peek down there to make sure everything’s in working order. I know that female genitalia are mostly on the inside, but still.. never once were these women curious where the hole that penises go in and babies come out looks like? Okay.

Human male faces may have evolved to take a beating

For a long time, it’s mainly been thought that the big difference in facial structure between men and women was a product of ancient aesthetic selection and due to the introduction to tougher to eat foods. But a new study theorizes that men’s larger brows, cheeks and jaws evolved through combat with other men. This theory seems to be controversial, though I’m not exactly sure why— it’s not like most males through mammals, birds, reptiles and even dinosaurs evolved some sort of physical adaptation to be able to deal with brawls amongst males of their same species. Obviously, we’ve also had pointy tools for a long, long time that do pretty well at cutting a bitch up instead of fists, which is why we haven’t evolved super jaws, but certainly one could imagine that among very early humans, men with fragile little girly jaws that couldn’t take a simple punch probably weren’t getting a whole lot of cavewoman pussy.

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Sunday TED talk: The terrors of sleep paralysis

Imagine you’re fast asleep and then suddenly awake. You want to move but can’t, as if someone is sitting on your chest. And you can’t even scream! This is sleep paralysis, a creepy but common phenomenon caused by an overlap in REM sleep and waking stages. Ami Angelowicz describes just how pervasive (but harmless) it is and introduces a cast of characters from sleep paralysis around the world.

Mathematical beauty activates the same portion of the brain as great art

Even though math and art are sometimes seen as being opposites, both activate the same part of the brain that appreciates beauty. So whether it’s the Mona Lisa or seeing someone compute the movement of subatomic particles, they both are interpreted by your brain as “damn that’s pretty”. And it is.

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Are you alone in the universe or are we connected?

To answer this question we have to take a look what “you” are first. What are you made of and where you stand in this universe. Are you your body? Your atoms? And how are your parts connected to the big picture?

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