The octopus almost reaches alien status when it comes to its brain and nervous system. And yet, the differences can help us understand more about the human brain as well as unique solutions nature has come up with for difficult problems like camouflage. Octopuses can see polarized light, but cannot see . However, their skin
Last month, on the big island of Hawaii, I swam with giant, beautiful aliens. Or at least that’s what it felt like. I went night snorkeling with manta rays and had the privilege of seeing 10 or 11 graceful behemoths. Some had a wingspan of over 10 feet long. Before our group got in the
Everyone knows sharks are fierce predators. How exactly they hunt so well is in part due to their extra sixth sense: electroreception! Exactly how sensitive are the ampullae of Lorenzini? By measuring brain activity, scientists can test how large electrical changes have to be for a shark to notice. They found that sharks can sense
Marine mammals, such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises, spend their entire lives at sea. Like us, they need to breathe, avoid danger, and care for their young. Like us, they need to sleep, which — for us — involves almost total unconsciousness and paralysis. So how do these marine mammals not drown when they sleep?
The jewel wasp’s venom is potent on two levels. With the first stab of its stinger, the wasp paralyzes the much larger cockroach. The neurotransmitter GABA, inserted into the thorax of the cockroach, causes temporary paralysis by shutting down motor neurons. The paralysis allows for the second stab — a perfectly targeted attack on a specific
Have you ever wondered if you experience the world like everyone else? We assume that our senses tell us what’s going on in the world, but they’re far from perfect. Synesthesia is a cool example of when our senses have a mind of their own.
We have someone new joining our team! She is a neuroscience PhD student at the University of Iowa, and she studies speech perception – but let’s let the animation she created explain exactly what that means: Among neuroscientists, there is a huge range of topics to study and methods with which to study them. This is