You can’t measure the length of a humpback whale with a tape measure. So biologists at the Duke Marine Lab have found a way to estimate whale size from above, using cameras mounted on flying drones. To perfect this technique, graduate student Elizabeth Mason took aerial images of this life-sized inflatable whale laid out across the football field at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, NC.
This Valentine’s day, everything is coming up roses -- even our guts. This cellular bouquet, composed by research associate Chong Li Yen at Duke-NUS in Singapore, is in fact a slice of human colon tissue viewed under a microscope. The tissue is cut to reveal the cross-sections of intestinal glands, tiny wells in the gut wall that absorb water and nutrients while oozing mucus and digestive enzymes.
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.