The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the first time. The ancient monkey, known as Victoriapithecus, first made headlines in 1997 when its 15 million-year-old skull was discovered on an island in Kenya’s Lake Victoria. Now, thanks to X-ray imaging, researchers have peered inside its cranial cavity and created a three-dimensional computer model of what the animal’s brain looked like.
DURHAM, N.C. – Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School have identified a mechanism that explains why some mutations can be disease-causing in one genome but benign in another.
The saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" may not hold up to scientific scrutiny.
After the plains of southern Kenya experienced a severe drought in 2009 that took a terrible toll on wildlife, researchers looked at how 50 wild baboons coped with the drought, and whether the conditions they faced in infancy played a role.
The semi-arid savanna of southern Kenya usually receives an average of 14 inches of rain a year--akin to much of Nebraska or Kansas--but in 2009 it fell to five inches, less than the Mojave Desert.
There’s no question that getting older means getting sicker. Conditions can be relatively minor and manageable – high blood pressure – or severe and complicated – dementia. It’s clear, though. A person who lives long enough will develop some type of ailment.
But, what if science could put a stopper in aging or at least put the brakes on a little? A group of researchers in the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) at Duke University is working on doing just that, asking whether there’s a link between genetics and the likelihood a disease will strike an individual in the future.
Nerve fibers of the corpus callosum -- the big data cable linking both sides of the human brain -- are colored like an exotic caterpillar in this image from a recent paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The "fight or flight" response blamed for some of our modern ills was a great thing, back in the day.
This automatic physiological response to stress pumps the hormone cortisol through your veins, rapidly shutting down your immune system and redirecting resources to your muscles and brain to give you the extra energy to fight or outrun the unseen threat.
It surely enabled our ancestors to hunt their dinners without becoming dinner themselves.
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University scientists have discovered a previously unknown dual mechanism that slows peat decay and may help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from peatlands during times of drought.
A section of embryonic mouse brain has been stained to show different subtypes of developing neurons. Red marks neurons born early in development and yellow are more recent; cell nuclei are blue. A team led by Debra Silver in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has found that mice having only one good copy of the gene Rbm8a have fewer neural progenitor cells and thus fewer neurons and are born with smaller brains, demonstrating that Rbmb8a is crucial to healthy brain development.
A biopsy dart fired from a crossbow hits home on the flank of a surfacing humpback whale in the Palmer Deep off the Antarctic Peninsula in January. Duke Marine Lab scientists based on the research ship Lawrence M. Gould were harmlessly obtaining these small samples of skin and blubber during a National Science Foundation expedition to identify the sex and relatedness of whales and to assess their diet and reproductive status.
The family tree of birds has been redrawn.
An enormous international scientific effort that compared the whole genomes of 48 bird species has simultaneously published more than two dozen research papers in Science and several other journals.
The new phylogeny shows ostriches, pigeons and chickens close to the origin of modern birds.