Humpback whales face a dilemma when foraging for dinner: take physically demanding dives to depths where prey is more plentiful, or stick to easy-to-reach shallows? To find out which way whales go, Duke researchers tagged and tracked five humpbacks off the Alaskan coast and compared their movements to the locations of large schools of krill, detected via SONAR.
A two-month investigation into the sudden deaths of four aye-ayes at the Duke Lemur Center has left just one plausible explanation -- avocados.
Lemur Center officials believe that a natural toxin found in avocados the animals ate the previous day set off damage to their heart muscles, resulting in death within 36 hours on Oct. 25 and 26. A fifth animal fell ill, but is now recovering.
The sewer gnat is a common nuisance around kitchen and bathroom drains that’s no bigger than a pea. But magnified thousands of times, its compound eyes and bushy antennae resemble a first place winner in a Movember mustache contest.
Our spines don’t start out as bone. In the embryos of vertebrates, the spine begins as a rod with a core of fluid-filled sacks. This structure is called the “notochord” and provides a flexible scaffold for the trunk and a mold for the spine.
Shotgun marriages have faded in popularity overall, but are on the rise among some groups, says new research from Duke University. And not all shotgun marriages are as rocky as one might think.
To untangle the links between guts and brains, some scientists are starting small: with the tiny transparent worm C. Elegans, whose guts glow green and neurons glow orange in this composite illustration and microscope image.
When it comes to bright colors and bold patterns, the fashion industry can’t hold a candle to butterflies.
Their wings come in a dizzying array of designs and hues, from the iridescent blue bands of the morpho butterfly and the red dots of the ruby-spotted swallowtail, to the orange, black and white warning colors of the monarch.
A new study could explain why DNA and not RNA, its older chemical cousin, is the main repository of genetic information. The DNA double helix is a more forgiving molecule that can contort itself into different shapes to absorb chemical damage to the basic building blocks -- A, G, C and T -- of genetic code. In contrast, when RNA is in the form of a double helix it is so rigid and unyielding that rather than accommodating damaged bases, it falls apart completely.
The jaws of trap-jaw ants can generate forces hundreds of times their body weight and snap shut at speeds reaching 145 miles per hour -- over 2,000 times faster than the blink of an eye.