Why do we laugh? New study considers possible evolutionary reasons behind this very human behavior

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain A woman in labor is having a terrible time and suddenly shouts out: “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!” “Don’t worry,” says the doctor. “These are just contractions.” Until now, several theories have sought to explain what makes something funny enough to make us laugh. These include transgression (something forbidden), puncturing a … Read more

Simple animal model reveals how environment and state are integrated to control behavior

The neuron AWA stretches from the worm’s brain to its nose. Credit: Ian McLachlan/MIT Picower Institute Say you live across from a bakery. Sometimes you are hungry and therefore tempted when odors waft through your window, but other times satiety makes you indifferent. Sometimes popping over for a popover seems trouble-free but sometimes your spiteful … Read more

Study shows human activity impacts bobcat behavior

Snapshot USA image of a bobcat. Credit: Snapshot USA Project A Northern Michigan University-led research project focusing on bobcats found evidence that human activity can exert a greater impact than environmental factors on carnivore predator-prey interactions, daily activity patterns and movement. The findings were recently published in Biodiversity and Conservation. Understanding that some animals perceive … Read more

Artificial light at night can change the behavior of all animals

This article was originally published at The Conversation (opens in new tab). The contributed the article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Theresa Jones (opens in new tab)Associate Professor in Evolution and Behavior, The University of Melbourne Kathryn McNamara (opens in new tab)Post-doctoral research associate, The University of Melbourne As the moon rises on … Read more

Unexpected behavior seen in efficient catalysts for clean energy

ACS Catalysis (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.1c05933″ width=”500″ height=”402″/> Graphical abstract. Credit: ACS Catalysis (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.1c05933 Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have investigated the molecular-level dynamics at play when methanol converts to hydrogen via the help of a copper catalyst, with the whole system … Read more

Shark Week, the ‘Jaws effect’ and how more great whites in the water are changing human behavior

Credit: Evan Prasky Cape Cod resident Doug Fraser realized he had made the right decision to give up boogie boarding in favor of a standup paddle board the day a great white shark swam under him and rolled over to take a closer look. From his standing position on the paddle board, Fraser was able … Read more

Studying E.coli demonstrates how mutualism and cooperative behavior shape types

Megan Behringer, right, and postdoctoral researcher Sarah Worthan look at E. coli colonies on petri dishes. Credit: Vanderbilt University Bacteria, not humans, can take up more resources than necessary. When this happens, synthesized byproducts can leak into the environment, which allows other nearby bacteria to evolve cooperative behaviors—such as using the byproducts as nutrients. Cooperation … Read more

Newly discovered Fast Radio Burst 190520 prompts more questions due to strange behavior

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Newly discovered fast radio burst (FRB) 190520 shows unique behavior compared to other FRBs discovered so far. This deviant cosmic burst was observed by an international team, co-led by researchers at West Virginia University and the Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology. Just when you think you understand the pattern, a … Read more

Unselfish behavior has evolutionary reasons

In the animal kingdom, the most remarkable examples of altruistic behavior occur in the context of rearing offspring. Animal societies that exhibit cooperative care of young include cichlids known as “Princesses of Lake Tanganyika.” Credit: M. Taborsky / University of Bern Altruistic behavior is often seen as an exclusively human characteristic. However, behavioral research has … Read more

New study characterizes behavior of human plastins in cells

Plastin is a protein that assembles actin bundles, like those pictured here in muscle precursor cells called myoblasts. Credit: National Institutes of Health A family of proteins that have a role in ensuring many types of cells move and maintain their shape may promote disease when they act like workaholics and disrupt the cellular environment, … Read more