My picks from ScienceDaily

Phony Friends? Rejected People Better Able To Spot Fake Smiles:

"There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all." It's true too--next time you are lost in a foreign country, just flash a smile and the locals will be happy to help you find your way. An honest smile can convey a wide range of meanings, from being happy to having fun. Although, not all smiles are genuine. All of us have "faked a smile" at some point. Now, a new study might make us think twice about sending out a phony grin. It has been shown that individuals who are experiencing rejection are better at picking up subtle social cues and according to a recent study published in the October issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, socially rejected people are particularly good at discerning fake smiles from real ones.

Birth Of White Rhino After Artificial Insemination With Frozen Sperm:

A world-first: researchers announce the birth of a white rhino after artificial insemination with frozen sperm. The rhino baby, a male, was born at 4:57am in the Budapest Zoo on the 22nd of October 2008. In June 2007, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin artificially inseminated his mother, the rhino cow Lulu, with frozen bull semen.

Female Plant 'Communicates' Rejection Or Acceptance Of Male:

Without eyes or ears, plants must rely on the interaction of molecules to determine appropriate mating partners and avoid inbreeding. In a new study, University of Missouri researchers have identified pollen proteins that may contribute to the signaling processes that determine if a plant accepts or rejects individual pollen grains for reproduction.

Tiny Juvenile Dinosaur Fossil Sheds Light On Evolution Of Plant Eaters:

One of the smallest dinosaur skulls ever discovered has been identified and described by a team of scientists from London, Cambridge and Chicago. The skull would have been only 45 millimeters (less than two inches) in length. It belonged to a very young Heterodontosaurus, an early dinosaur. This juvenile weighed about 200 grams, less than two sticks of butter.

Caste In Ant Colonies: How Fate Is Determined Between Workers And Queens:

"The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms...the exploitation of one part of society by the other". - Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto.

Physical Strength, Fighting Ability Revealed In Human Faces:

For our ancestors, misjudging the physical strength of a would-be opponent might have resulted in painful -- and potentially deadly -- defeat.

Child Abuse Increases Risk For Later Sexually Coercive Behavior In Some Men:

Boys who experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse are more likely to use sexually coercive behavior against an unwilling female partner when they are adolescents and young adults.

Origin Of Root Offshoots Revealed; Possible Basis For New Ecological Agricultural Applications:

VIB researchers at Ghent University have discovered the substance that governs the formation of root offshoots in plants, and how it works.

Seeing Red -- In The Number 7:

Hypnosis can induce synaesthetic experiences - where one sense triggers the involuntary use of another - according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. The findings suggests that people with synaesthesia, contrary to popular belief, do not necessarily have extra connections in their brain; rather, their brains may simply do more 'cross talking' and this can be induced by changing inhibitory processes in the average brain.

Cause Of Weakness In Marine Animal Hybrids Discovered:

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have shown for the first time that a genetic malfunction found in marine crustaceans called copepods likely explains why populations of animals that diverge and eventually reconnect produce weak "hybrid" offspring.

Genetic Explanation For Moles' Poor Eyesight:

Due to their underground habitats, moles' eyes have been modified by natural selection in ways very different from those of surface-dwelling animals. New research, offers a detailed anatomical and genetic examination of the changes that result from living life in the dark.

Development Puts An End To Evolution Of Endless Forms:

Researchers have put forward a simple model of development and gene regulation that is capable of explaining patterns observed in the distribution of morphologies and body plans (or, more generally, phenotypes).


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New Hearing Mechanism Discovered: MIT researchers have discovered a hearing mechanism that fundamentally changes the current understanding of inner ear function. This new mechanism could help explain the ear's remarkable ability to sense and discriminate sounds. Its discovery could eventually lead…
When Sir Francis Galton first described the "peculiar habit of mind" we now call synaesthesia, he noted that it often runs in families. Modern techniques have confirmed that the condition does indeed have a strong genetic component - more than 40% of synaesthetes have a first-degree relative - a…
Low Levels Of Neurotransmitter Serotonin May Perpetuate Child Abuse Across Generations : Infant abuse may be perpetuated between generations by changes in the brain induced by early experience, research shows. A research team found that when baby rhesus monkeys endured high rates of maternal…
Primate Eye Evolution: Small Evolutionary Shifts Make Big Impacts -- Like Developing Night Vision: In the developing fetus, cell growth follows a very specific schedule. In the eye's retina, for example, cones -- which help distinguish color during the day -- develop before the more light-sensitive…