Month: August 2019

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Study shows black bears able to count

first_imgBlack bear in the Canadian Rockies. Image: Wikipedia. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Study to monitor bears and hunters by GPS Journal information: Animal Behavior More information: Bears ‘count’ too: quantity estimation and comparison in black bears, Ursus americanus, Animal Behaviour, of bear cognition are notably missing from the comparative record despite bears’ large relative brain size and interesting status as generalist carnivores facing complex foraging challenges, but lacking complex social structures. We investigated the numerical abilities of three American black bears, Ursus Americanus, by presenting discrimination tasks on a touch-screen computer. One bear chose the larger of two arrays of dot stimuli, while two bears chose the smaller array of dots. On some trials, the relative number of dots was congruent with the relative total area of the two arrays. On other trials, number of dots was incongruent with area. All of the bears were above chance on trials of both types with static dots. Despite encountering greater difficulty with dots that moved within the arrays, one bear was able to discriminate numerically larger arrays of moving dots, and a subset of moving dots from within the larger array, even when area and number were incongruent. Thus, although the bears used area as a cue to guide their responses, they were also able to use number as a cue. The pattern of performance was similar to that found previously with monkeys, and suggests that bears may also show other forms of sophisticated quantitative abilities. , Animal Behaviour ( — Most people who have worked with black bears tend to believe the animals are pretty smart compared to say dogs or cats; others who have seen them in action, e.g. riding a unicycle in a circus, tend to agree. But, oddly enough, very little actual research has been done to find out just where black bears sit on the animal kingdom’s brainiac scale. Now a pair of researchers in the US has decided to change that by testing some captive black bears to see how they measure up against other animals in discerning the difference in the numbers of things. They have written a paper describing their findings and have had it published in the journal Animal Behavior. The experiment they devised was very simple. Two black bears were trained to look at two groups of dots and to indicate which group they thought had fewer dots. Another bear was trained to do the opposite, i.e. indicate which he thought had more dots. As it turned out, all three bears were remarkably good at “counting” the number of dots in each group, comparing them, and then responding in a way that indicated they understood which group of dots had more and which less.So good were the bears at picking out which group was which, the team described them as equivalent in ability to non-human primates; not bad for an animal that is pretty much a loner. Prior to testing the bears, most researchers had concluded that the ability to count was something that developed among animals that formed social groups of one kind or another. Other than when they are young and still being raised by their mothers, bears tend to hang out alone. Thus, a rethinking of how or why animals brains develop the ability to count or at least recognize which group of something has more or less, will have to be done.To make sure the bears were really on target, the team changed the size of the dots, and the amount of space in which they were surrounded, ensuring that they weren’t just guessing based on the overall physical size of the group. After several such changes, the researchers became convinced that the only way to pick the right group as often as the bears did, was to count the dots. For the bear faced with choosing which group had more dots, the dots were even sent into motion, which for some reason, appeared to make the bear even more accurate.It’s not likely that the bears are actually counting the dots, and in fact, the research team itself doesn’t seem convinced, using quotes to indicate that describing what the bears are able to do as counting might be a big of a stretch. Most researchers would be more likely to describe it as an advanced comparison ability. Citation: Study shows black bears able to “count” (2012, June 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2012 Phys.Orglast_img read more

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Research shows bees might create cognitive maps

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( —How do bees find their way home? Until now, scientists thought bees navigated by calculating their position relative to that of the sun. Randolf Menzel of the Free University of Berlin and colleagues tested this hypothesis by disrupting bees’ circadian clocks. They found bees were able to navigate successfully, despite being unable to use the sun as an aid, suggesting that bees create cognitive maps. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Explore further Citation: Research shows bees might create cognitive maps (2014, June 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from To get to the store and back without getting lost, you use a cognitive map. Mammals, and possibly all vertebrates, create cognitive maps, which they update constantly, by remembering landmarks and storing information about their locations in their brains. A cognitive map allows you to point toward your home, even when you’re in a windowless room.Creating a cognitive map is a complex mental task. Scientists believe we form cognitive maps in a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. Bees have tiny brains and nothing resembling a hippocampus. Therefore, scientists thought they must not use cognitive maps and depend on the sun to guide them instead.To test this belief, Menzel’s team tried tampering with bees’ sense of time, so the bees wouldn’t be able to use the sun to calculate their position. The researchers anesthetized a group of bees, leaving them unconscious for six hours. This meant when the bees awoke, they didn’t know what time it was and the sun appeared to be in the wrong position in the sky.The researchers then released the bees in an unfamiliar field and radar tracked them to see if they would be able to find their way back to the hive. If the bees relied solely on the sun to navigate, they would be lost. The bees did start out by flying in the wrong direction, but they soon turned around, getting back to the hive as quickly as a control group of bees the team hadn’t anesthetized. This meant the bees used something other than the sun to get them home. The researchers think this is probably a cognitive map. They believe that in addition to using the sun as a compass, bees create a mental map of the terrain they fly over by looking for landmarks, such as rows of bushes.Menzel and his team say scientists studying the mammalian brain should bear in mind that bees might be able to create complex mental maps despite having brains many times smaller than the hippocampus of a rat. © 2014 Phys.orgcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map, James F. Cheeseman, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408039111AbstractMammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass–referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees. Bees dance the light fantastic Similar flight speed and accuracy of bees with (red) and without (blue) clock-shifting. Credit: James F. Cheesemanlast_img read more

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Recloning of first cloned dog deemed successful thus far

first_img Explore further Back in 2005, researchers at Seoul National University reported that they had cloned an Afghan hound, the first dog to be cloned. Since that time, hundreds of other dogs have been cloned, as well, offering an opportunity to learn more about the potential benefits and possible drawbacks of cloning animals for. Now, in another first, the researchers with this new effort report having cloned the clone they cloned.The story started with Tai, a normal Afghan hound. The team cloned him by inserting his cells into the eggs of a female donor after removing the original nucleus and then implanting them in the female’s uterus. By all accounts, he lived a normal dog life on the campus of Seoul National University, which gave his name: Snuppy. At the age of five, researchers there collected stem cells from Snuppy and used them to inseminate other females. In all, 94 embryos were implanted, which led to four successful pregnancies and births. Shortly thereafter, one of the puppies died, leaving three clones of the cloned dog Snuppy. The researchers wrote a paper describing their results, noting that the dogs, which were nine months old at the time, seemed to be healthy and normal. They have only now published that paper.The purpose of the research is to learn more about the viability of cloning animals. Despite a lot of research, scientists still do not know for sure if cloned animals suffer unknown birth defects, or if their life spans are shorter than normal animals. There is a growing consensus, however, that cloning results in neither. A lot of animals have been cloned and studied, and thus far, there is little to no evidence indicating that the cloning process introduces flaws. Less work has been done in studying clones of clones, however, which means that others in the cloning community will be watching for reports on the progress of the now seven-year-old dog re-clones very closely.The researchers note that both Tai and Snuppy died of cancer, though of different types, and that neither was rare or unique. They note also that it is not uncommon for one of a litter of puppies to die, though it is disconcerting that in this case, it was due to a bout of unexplained diarrhea. Citation: Re-cloning of first cloned dog deemed successful thus far (2017, November 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Scientific Reports (—A team of researchers with Seoul National University, Michigan State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has re-cloned the first dog to be cloned. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the group describes duplicating the clone and offers an update on how the dogs are doing. DNA: Yes, Snuppy is definitely a clonecenter_img The three surviving reclones at 2 month of age. They were dervived by SCNT of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) taken from Snuppy at five years of age. Credit: Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15328-2 More information: Min Jung Kim et al. Birth of clones of the world’s first cloned dog, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15328-2AbstractAnimal cloning has gained popularity as a method to produce genetically identical animals or superior animals for research or industrial uses. However, the long-standing question of whether a cloned animal undergoes an accelerated aging process is yet to be answered. As a step towards answering this question, we compared longevity and health of Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, and its somatic cell donor, Tai, a male Afghan hound. Briefly, both Snuppy and Tai were generally healthy until both developed cancer to which they succumbed at the ages of 10 and 12 years, respectively. The longevity of both the donor and the cloned dog was close to the median lifespan of Afghan hounds which is reported to be 11.9 years. Here, we report creation of 4 clones using adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells from Snuppy as donor cells. Clinical and molecular follow-up of these reclones over their lives will provide us with a unique opportunity to study the health and longevity of cloned animals compared with their cell donors. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more

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All for world peace

first_imgImagine going somewhere and then getting vibes from that place. So much so that your inner self gives you messages which you then transform into poetry and with some help, create music out of it? Sounds confusing? Well, that is exactly what Keiko Koma has been doing around the globe with the help of pianist Idaki Shin. And all this for greater good. The aim? World peace. And they will do it again. This time in Purana Qila. India is a huge influence on both of them. ‘Everywhere in Japan you will find temples divided into many streams and variations of Buddhism. They are not just places of worship but also libraries and museums of old culture — most of them coming from India,’ said Shin with the help of a translator.  This is their first visit to India after touring various countries across the world.   Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘At Purana Qila, Koma has received a strong message from the earth. It is a vision of a circle of peace. The music (by Idaki Shin) will be spontaneous and a manifestation of energies that brought us to realise the concert,’ says Shin. Nothing has been composed beforehand so rehearsals for this is out of the question. Both Koma and Shin depend on improvisations on the spot. The instruments they will use include traditional drums, electric guitars, flute instruments, saxophones and more. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHow does Koma get this visions? ‘When she visits historic places in the midst of nature, she gets messages which are converted into poems. This is the tradition of the ancient Koguryo kingdom of which Koma is a descendant,’ said Koma with the help of a translator.And what is the consequence of the message? Does it have healing powers? ‘The messages manifest truth about our life. They may not have direct healing powers like medicine, but the power of truth is what works as the panacea. Truth is often not found in personal experiences. But without truth one cannot open up to future. Truth helps one overcome difficulties,’ she further explained.   And how does Shin come up with the music thereafter? ‘There’s no structure or prefabricated idea. You need to tune oneself to others. The outcome of the performances can be hard and integral,’ says Shin. So what is in store for Delhi? ‘Each spectator will have his or her individual experiences. We don’t have any visible intention. It is what will be happening at Purana Qila,’ says Koma.So head to Purana Qila this Sunday if you are keen to watch some ancient magic unfold among the historical greens.DETAILAt: Purana Quila When: 2 December  Timings: 6 pm onwards For Invites, Call: 08587900626last_img read more

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Blues greens yellows light up WIFW

first_imgMonochromes move aside! Blues, greens and yellows kicked in a touch of summer and spring amidst the darker reds and blacks that dominated the runway in this edition of Fashion week.Chandrani Siingh Fllora took on the ramp with a soothing mix of basic colours to change the feel of the fall-winter collection. Though one would be mistaken to relegate her collection as summer. It is more the feel of some warm autumn sunshine and calm amidst falling leaves. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Fllora’s collection was dominated by flowy drapes and some classy silhouettes. Acing the wearability scale, saris, long skirts, fitted halter necks, high collars and some interesting scarves and sleeveless jackets as accessories dominated the collection.The most interesting factor in the collection was the inspiration of the symbols of the zodiac that dominated the print motifs. Some exquisite embroidery found place in fitted jackets that were teamed up with long fitted dresses. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe saris flowed like water and paired with rather eye-catching blouses were quite the show stealer. We also spotted some solid coloured cummerbunds in some flowy dresses that broke the silhouettes and added the perfect touch.As shoe lovers, we could not help but notice the gold that ruled the footwear in flats and some excellent heels. Subtle and very well chosen we must say!  Zero accessories except scarves and fitted short jackets, Fllora’s collection will be quite a steal once they are on the racks!last_img read more

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Painting Hope

first_imgArtist Ekta Jain is soon going to display her solo painting exhibition with the theme of her exhibition titled Hope and Never Despair. The exhibition which will begin on 9 May will display her abstracts which are reflective of hope and faith and of assurance and conviction. Ekta Jain is a promising star on the horizon of art and artistry. Ekta’s artwork is autobiographical and bears a close resemblance to her never-say-die spirit and cheerful demeanour, finding vivid translation in her aesthetically pleasing formations and fabrications on the canvas.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The core theme of Ekta Jain’s portrayals remain Hope and never to despair which cannot escape the on-lookers attention. The illuminated niches , ray of dance lighting in the dark crevices; beam of radiance dispelling the gloom- are subtle statements occupying the focal point in her creations.There is a symmetrical oneness in her apparently diversified expressions like her name which implies unity, uniformity, solidarity and  homogeneity. Her interplay with splashing colours started at a tender age till it metamorphosed into emphatic narrations.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHer journey to urban spaces is punctuated by her desire to discover layers upon layers of soul’s responses to civility or lack of it. The innate desire led her to formulate and execute her concept without any formal exercise in art.Her arches link urban space to traditional architecture. Her paintings are like palimpsest. Elusive at times and evasive too, one thing that is sure is that Ekta Jain’s work never fails to impact, impress and inspire.last_img read more

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JU sorts out admission imbroglio to hold tests for six humanities subjects

first_imgKolkata: The impasse at Jadavpur University (JU) got resolved on Wednesday, with the varsity deciding to conduct the admission tests for six humanities subjects at the undergraduate level.The university also announced that a certain percentage of marks in Higher Secondary or equivalent examination and a certain percentage of marks in the admission test will be taken into account, before preparing the final merit list for admission.The university had temporarily postponed the admission tests on Monday, following which a section of Arts students had gheraoed the vice-chancellor and executive council (EC) members. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”We had sought legal opinion on the matter and the state Advocate General submitted a report on Tuesday night, on the basis of which the EC meeting was convened. We have decided unanimously that the admission tests for all the six subjects that were notified earlier, will be held. But there will be a change in the dates. The faculty council of the varsity will sit for a meeting on Thursday, following which the dates will be announced,” JU pro V-C Pradip Ghosh said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe dates, according to an EC member, will be deferred by only a few days. The admission tests of six subjects- English, Bengali, Political Science, History, Philosophy and Comparative Literature, were earlier scheduled to be held from July 3 to 5.An EC member assured that the classes for undergraduate humanities students will begin as per schedule and there will be no delay in that respect.”The final merit list for admission will be prepared on the basis of 50 percent of the total marks secured in HS or equivalent examination and 50 percent of the marks secured in admission tests for History, Political Science, Philosophy and Comparative Literature. For English, 50 percent of the candidate’s marks in English in HS or equivalent examination and 50 percent of the marks secured in admission tests will be taken into account, while for Bengali, 50 percent of marks secured in both Bengali and English and 50 percent of the marks in admission tests will be tallied for admission,” an EC member said. The EC has also decided that the Admission Committee of the university will monitor the admission process and there will be no role played by any department in the admission.The members of Arts Faculty Students’ Union (AFSU) called off their agitation, immediately after the EC decision was announced. The agitation had been continuing since 8 pm on Monday, after the university temporarily postponed the dates for admission tests, over difference of opinion among EC members.last_img read more

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Hourlong daytime nap ups diabetes risk

first_imgWhile taking a short nap may be good for your health, extending it to an hour or more significantly increases risk of developing diabetes, says a new study.“Excessive daytime sleepiness and taking longer naps were associated with increased risk of Type-2 diabetes, with a short nap not increasing this risk,” the study said. The research by Tomohide Yamada from University of Tokyo in Japan analysed studies published till November 2014 on the association between daytime sleepiness, nap, and diabetes.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’After examining over 600 hundred studies including 261,365 people from Asian and Western countries, the research found that excessive daytime sleepiness increased the risk of diabetes by 56 per cent, while a longer daytime nap of 60 minutes or more increased the risk by 46 per cent. In contrast, a shorter nap (60 mins or less per day) did not increase the risk of diabetes. The analysis showed there was no effect of napping up to about 40 minutes per day, after which risk began to increase sharply.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“Daytime napping might be a consequence of night-time sleep disturbance such as obstructive sleep aponea (OSA),” the study noted.Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of taking short naps less than 30 minutes in duration, which help to increase alertness and motor skills. “A short nap finishes before the onset of deep slow-wave sleep. Entering deep slow-wave sleep and then failing to complete the normal sleep cycle can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, in which a person feels groggy, disoriented, and even sleepier than before napping,” Yamada said.“Although the mechanisms by which a short nap might decrease the risk of diabetes are still unclear, such duration-dependent differences in the effects of sleep might partly explain our findings,” Yamada noted.last_img read more

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