The Year in Biology

Self-aware birds, food from cloned animals, flowering plants' speedy sperm, and more...

Friday, January 02, 2009

#21: Plants Inspire a Better Way to Store Solar Energy
Using the principles of photosynthesis, scientists create more efficient storage for solar power.

#30: Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror
The birds pass the test for "rudimentary sense of self."

#33: The First Known Case of Virus-Attacks-Virus
Sputnik virus seems to have influenced evolution of the Mamavirus.

#36: Creationism Lurks in Public High Schools
One in six teachers say they believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

#46: FDA Approves Food From Cloned Animals
Meat and milk products from cloned livestock may soon hit the shelves.

#53: Bizarre Aquatic Creatures Are Secretly "Lesbian Necrophiliacs"
Asexual bdelloids aren't really asexual after all.

#64: Spain Gives Great Apes Legal Rights
The animals have the right to life and protection from harmful research practices.

#68: Solved: The Mystery of Gravity-Defying Sap
One synthetic tree accomplishes what loads of scientists never could.

#71: Slime Molds Show Surprising Degree of Intelligence
A creature with no brain can still learn from and even anticipate events.

#75: Chilies' Fire Is Self-Defense Against a Surprising Foe
Capsaicin keeps fungus from chomping on pepper plants but does nothing to dissuade hungry bugs.

#79: The Ancient Rat as Big as a Bull
This giant rodent weighed as much as a compact car.

#87: Speedy Sperm Explains Flower Power
The quickest out of the gate, angiosperms dominate the plant world.

#91: Humans Have 5 Universal Facial Muscles—and 10 Optional Ones
For the first time, psychologists mapped muscle variation in the face.

#92: A 380-Million-Year-Old Fish Gives Birth
Paleontologists unearth a prehistoric pregnant skeleton.

#94: Seaweed Creates Its Own Sunscreen
The soggy brown kelp protects itself with iodides.

#100: This Animal Has the Strongest Bite on Earth
A bite from the biggest great white sharks leaves nearly every other species—both alive and extinct—in the dust.

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