This tag is associated with 9 posts

The Chikungunya Virus is in the U.S.: Get to Know the Virus

Have you heard of the chikungunya virus? The virus (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) was discovered in 1952 in Africa, and has been slowly making its way around the world… although the pace has been quickened in recent years. The first U.S. case was reported just earlier this month, on July 17, 2014, and a second case soon … Continue reading »

Potentially Habitable Earth-Sized Planet Discovered

Just last week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the discovery of the first Earth-sized planet we’ve found that may be habitable. Specifically, the planet is called Kepler-186f and it’s thought to be potentially habitable because it’s within the “habitable zone” of its solar system, or just the right distance from the star … Continue reading »

How Oxygen Helped Life to Flourish

About 4.5 billion years ago, our planet formed. Around a billion years later, the first life forms appeared, which were mostly single-celled microbes, and this is pretty much how life was on our planet for billions of years. Then, about 540 million years ago (or some three billion years after those microbes first appeared), multicellular … Continue reading »

Contagious Dog Cancer is 11,000 Years Old

We know of few cancers that are contagious. The ones we’re most familiar with are caused by viruses, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, and hepatitis B, which can cause liver (hepatic) cancer. (To read more about these virus-caused cancers and their vaccines, check out my book Biology Bytes: Digestible … Continue reading »

Many Animals Don’t “Age”

Why do we have to visibly age as we get older? It might sound like a silly question – the terms “aging” and “growing old” are virtually synonymous – but for many organisms on the planet, this question actually does not need to be asked. Earlier this week, a paper was published in the journal … Continue reading »

Dogs and Humans: Possibly a 32,000–Year-Old Friendship

“Man’s best friend” has had a close relationship with humans for thousands of years, which has resulted in the amazing diversity of breeds we’re familiar with today (specifically, more than 400 breeds exist today, 163 of which are recognized by the American Kennel Association). In fact, they’re the most diverse mammal species alive, with members … Continue reading »

Our Early Ancestors: Were There Fewer Hominid Species Than Previously Thought?

Around 1.9 million years ago, it’s thought that the first members of our Homo genus appeared on the evolutionary scene. Probably the most well-known member is Homo erectus, who likely originated in Africa and, from there, migrated out to Europe and Asia (though some experts argue that an older migration occurred). The successful, just over … Continue reading »

Fossilized Mosquito with a Belly Full of Blood

While it’s unlikely that Jurassic Park and its cloned dinosaurs will become a reality any time soon, researchers did recently discover a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito with a meal of blood trapped within it. Although DNA did not survive, other blood components did, and so this highly unlikely discovery can help us better understand the … Continue reading »

Neanderthals: Not That Different After All

The more we find out about our extinct cousins the Neanderthals, the more we discover just how similar we are. Based on DNA evidence, it’s thought that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals (technically Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) diverged to go their separate ways about 270,000 to 440,000 years ago, becoming two different branches on … Continue reading »