Findings — From the July 2012 issue
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Researchers identified genes responsible for the smallness of pygmies, congenital spleenlessness, the blond hair of Melanesians, a 2.6-point increase in IQ (if both parents are carriers), and the similarities between the luminescent bellies of smalleye pygmy sharks and those of velvet-belly lantern sharks. A chemist unveiled shark-repellent fish hooks whose rare-earth coatings irritate the ampullae of Lorenzini. An excited beauty baryon was observed for the first time, and Oklahoma scientists were uncertain whether bacon with a green sheen is unhealthful. Vanilla yogurt gives mice glossier coats and larger testicles. Zoologists mapped the syntax of the rock hyrax. The orangutan contains multiples of Alu. Scientists who found silicone breast-implant failure rates to be as high as sixteen times the previously suspected levels proposed widespread explanting. Entomologists comparing Brazilian and Thai zombie-ant graveyards determined that an unknown fungus was thwarting the spread of the ant-zombifying fungus. A Government Accountability Office study deemed ineffective a Pentagon study on the efficacy of Pentagon studies.
Anxiety was found to speed the progression of cancer in hairless mice, to improve humans’ sense of smell, and to be alleviated by alcohol in zebrafish who have been living alone. Runner’s high was documented in dogs, as was a reduction in distrust toward atheists among pious Canadians who are reminded of the Vancouver police. Injury to the right parietal lobe was correlated with a feeling of closeness to God. Brain freeze was traced to the anterior cerebral artery. Psychologists proposed that people who see others’ auras may be confused synaesthetes. Similes activate the medial frontal gyrus whereas metaphors predominantly activate the right inferior frontal gyrus in the brains of Japanese. Temporal poles and the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex are smaller in psychopaths. German doctors published a study in PAIN that found needle pricks hurt less when the patient looks the other way. Scientists identified the dopamine receptors responsible for forgetting.
American children were eating more batteries. A study found the mouth to be the bodily region most often injured by toddlers who fall while using sippy cups; less than 1 percent of 45,398 bottle-, pacifier-, and sippy-cup-related emergency-room admissions over the past two decades involved injuries to the groin. A Florida scientist definitively identified the G-spot of an eighty-three-year-old corpse. Frida Kahlo’s infertility was diagnosed, and scientists explained why breast milk does not turn breasts to bone. A mother hen’s screeching was found to wake chicks unhatched in their eggs. As part of a study of infants’ emergent sleep trajectories (SIESTA), it was discovered that depressed mothers are more likely to pointlessly wake their babies in the night. In Sri Lanka a hen gave birth to a live eggless chick and then died. White babies begin around the age of nine months to have trouble telling black people apart. Robin fathers take better care of chicks that come from bluer eggs. Crows recognize the voices of individual birds of other species. Ravens remember past relationships. Two drunk Welshmen stole a fairy penguin, Turkish authorities exonerated a bee-eater suspected of spying for Israel, Peru experienced a rash of unexplained deaths among pelicans and boobies, and the great tits of Wytham Woods were forming mobs to help defend one another. “It could be that they join because their own nest might also be at risk,” said the study’s lead author. “Or they may be playing tit-for-tat.”
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