what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Competition is the driving force

A new research has confirmed that competition, and not predation, is the primary selective force in island lizards.

As part of their research, Ryan Calsbeek and Robert Cox of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, excluded predators from two small, uninhabited islands in the Bahamas by wrapping the islands with netting to keep out predatory birds. Meanwhile, they enhanced predation on two other islands by introducing lizard-eating snakes.

Also, they seeded one of each pair of islands with high densities of Anolis sagrei lizards, and the other with lower densities of the animals. Before release, they marked and measured each one and tested its stamina by running it to exhaustion on a treadmill.

After a period of four months, the experts returned to the island and recaptured every remaining lizard. Larger, longer-legged and higher-stamina lizards had survived better than smaller, wimpier ones on higher-density islands where competition was more intense, they found.

Insulin reduces swelling related to obesity

Scientists have found that one of the most common side effects of obesity — inflammation — can be fought by administering insulin.

As an added benefit, the team behind the work says, this also reduces a person’s risk of developing diabetes.

The remarkable finding was recently presented in a new thesis, written by experts at the Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden.

When you put on weight, your fat tissue grows and begins to produce a wealth of inflammatory molecules.

The increase in these inflammatory molecules leaves the fat tissue in a state of chronic inflammation.

This plays an important role in the development of insulin resistance, an early stage of Type 2 diabetes, where the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels using its own insulin.

“It’s still not entirely clear why obesity causes insulin resistance. Inflammation could be part of the reason why obesity leads to Type 2 diabetes,” said Emelie Wallerstedt from the Institute of Medicine at the University of Gothenburg.

Research has shown that both obesity and insulin resistance are affected by inflammatory conditions in the body.

It’s official: Magyarosaurus dacus was a dwarf dinosaur

Magyarosaurus dacus, the dinosaur whose small bones were found in Transylvania, was indeed a dwarf, confirmed scientists.

In 1895, the sister of an eccentric palaeontologist called Franz Baron Nopcsa discovered small dinosaur bones on their family estate in Transylvania.

Nopcsa interpreted these as the remains of dwarfed animals that had once lived on an island, including a sauropod dinosaur which Nopcsa named Magyarosaurus dacus, after his native country.

Now, a team of scientists led by Koen Stein and Martin Sander from the University of Bonn, decided to cut up the fossil bones of the dwarfed dinosaur and study their microstructure.

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