Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat

three researchers at the University of California, Davis — Bruce German, Carlito Lebrilla and David Mills. They and colleagues have found that a particular strain of bacterium, a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum, possesses a special suite of genes that enable it to thrive on the indigestible component of milk.

This subspecies is commonly found in the feces of breast-fed infants. It coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria.

Infants presumably acquire the special strain of bifido from their mothers, but strangely, it has not yet been detected in adults. “We’re all wondering where it hides out,” Dr. Mills said.

via Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat – NYTimes.com.

via Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat – NYTimes.com.

Too Many Seals, Not Enough Sharks – Cape Cod

Side-Effects of Increase in Seal Population: Shark Increase, Fish Parasites, Water Pollution…

The other thing is the effect of an expanding seal population on fish stocks. One concern is the spread of fish-eating parasitic worms found in seal waste. As a commercial fisherman, who fished for codfish 20 years ago in the Gulf of Maine, which had more seals than the Cape did at that time, we knew when the cod we caught were from “up north”. These codfish more often than not had these parasitic “worms” in their flesh. When we brought these fish home to the ports of the Cape, the fish buyers would know as soon as they filleted a few where they were caught. Years ago these worms were rarely found in the codfish off Chatham. These worms are in nearly all the codfish caught now in inshore waters. Last winter we saw that the bellies and livers of many of the monkfish we caught 60 miles south of M/V Nantucket are now loaded with these parasitic worms.

via Too Many Seals, Not Enough Sharks – CapeLinks Cape Cod.

Christian, the lion-Lion’s Telepathic 6th sense?

They flew to Nairobi then took a small plane to the camp in Kora, where Adamson came out to meet them.

“Christian arrived last night, ” he said simply. “Hes here with his lionesses and his cubs. Hes outside the camp on his favourite rock. Hes waiting for you.”

Adamson and his wife Joy often talked about the mysterious, apparently telepathic communication skills of lions – particularly between lions and men.Both believed that lions were possessed of a sixth sense and George was convinced that a scientific explanation would one day be found.And here, it seemed, was the proof.

via Christian, the lion-Lion’s Telepathic 6th sense?.

New Finding Puts Origins of Dogs in Middle East

Wayne was surprised to find that all the herding dogs grouped together, as did all the sight hounds and the scent hounds, making a perfect match between dogs’ various functions and the branches on the genetic tree. “I thought there would be many ways to build a herding dog and that they’d come from all over the tree, but there are not,” Dr. Wayne said

via New Finding Puts Origins of Dogs in Middle East – NYTimes.com.

Moscow’s stray dogs-reverse domestication

Wolves stay strictly within their own pack, even if they share a territory with another. A pack of dogs, however, can hold a dominant position over other packs and their leader will often “patrol” the other packs by moving in and out of them. His observations have led Poyarkov to conclude that this leader is not necessarily the strongest or most dominant dog, but the most intelligent – and is acknowledged as such. The pack depends on him for its survival.

Moscow’s strays sit somewhere between house pets and wolves, says Poyarkov, but are in the early stages of the shift from the domesticated back towards the wild. That said, there seems little chance of reversing this process. It is virtually impossible to domesticate a stray: many cannot stand being confined indoors.

“Genetically, wolves and dogs are almost identical,” says Poyarkov. “What has changed significantly [with domestication] is a range of hormonal and behavioural parameters, because of the brutal natural selection that eliminated many aggressive animals.” He recounts the work of Soviet biologist Dmitri Belyaev, exiled from Moscow in 1948 during the Stalin years for a commitment to classical genetics that ran counter to state scientific doctrine of the time.

Under the guise of studying animal physiology, Belyaev set up a Russian silver fox research centre in Novosibirsk, setting out to test his theory that the most important selected characteristic for the domestication of dogs was a lack of aggression. He began to select foxes that showed the least fear of humans and bred them. After 10-15 years, the foxes he bred showed affection to their keepers, even licking them. They barked, had floppy ears and wagged their tails. They also developed spotted coats – a surprising development that was connected with a decrease in their levels of adrenaline, which shares a biochemical pathway with melanin and controls pigment production.

“With stray dogs, we’re witnessing a move backwards,” explains Poyarkov. “That is, to a wilder and less domesticated state, to a more ‘natural’ state.” As if to prove his point, strays do not have spotted coats, they rarely wag their tails and are wary of humans, showing no signs of ­affection towards them.

via FT.com / Reportage – Moscow’s stray dogs.

via FT.com / Reportage – Moscow’s stray dogs.