"During the most recent ice age, milk was essentially a toxin to adults because — unlike children — they could not produce the lactase enzyme required to break down lactose, the main sugar in milk. But as farming started to replace hunting and gathering in the Middle East around 11,000 years ago, cattle herders learned how to reduce lactose in dairy products to tolerable levels by fermenting milk to make cheese or yogurt. Several thousand years later, a genetic mutation spread through Europe that gave people the ability to produce lactase — and drink milk — throughout their lives. That adaptation opened up a rich new source of nutrition that could have sustained communities when harvests failed." - The Milk Revolution - how a single mutation expanded (some) of humanity's diet. (Nature.com)
posted by The Whelk
on Aug 2, 2013 -
“When I was a kid growing up I was obsessed with animals and monsters… I’d draw them everyday, and when I grew up I either wanted to be a zoologist or a monster hunter
… When I got a bit older I realized that being a zoologist was less exciting than I had imagined, and that ‘monster hunter’ isn’t even a real job
, so I just kept drawing. I pretty much do the exact same thing
at 29 years old that I did when I was 9 years old.”
Nicholas Di Genova weaves organisms together in pen and ink. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222
on Dec 8, 2010 -
In 2006 scientists sent a container of salmonella to space and kept an identical container on Earth under similar temperature conditions. Bacteria from both strains were fed to mice, and the "space germs", having undergone 167 gene changes, were 3 times more likely to make the mice sick
posted by reformedjerk
on Sep 25, 2007 -
is a photographic collection by artist Uli Westphal
of non-standard fruits and vegetables found at Berlin groceries and farmers' markets. The distorted, the discolored, the bumpy, the stumpy, the coiled and the conjoined all get star treatment. (Flash site)
posted by hydrophonic
on Jul 27, 2007 -
The BBC reports
that twenty years on "the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station is teeming with life." Lynx, eagle owl, wild boars, horses, wolves—even signs of bears which haven't been seen here in centuries.
British scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock (recently discussed
whether "small volumes of nuclear waste from power production should be stored in tropical forests and other habitats in need of a reliable guardian against their destruction by greedy developers."
Chernobyl as "a nasty accident that took 45 lives." This article in the New Scientist claims
that that the death toll may ultimately reach 60,000.
posted by 327.ca
on Apr 21, 2006 -
Overnight mutation or lousy science?
Or maybe an early April Fool's joke. The Gameboy generation's thumbs are as developed and agile as the rest of their digits. "...the younger generation has taken to using thumbs in a completely different way and are instinctively using it where the rest of us use our index fingers is particularly interesting.' " An interesting social phenomenon, certainly, but biology...?
posted by gordian knot
on Mar 27, 2002 -