MI weekly selection #111
Rhesus monkeys can be taught to recognize their images in mirrors
Mirror recognition can be taught to rhesus monkeys, according to researchers who say the findings could help them better understand how self-awareness develops in the brain. “Our findings suggest that the monkey brain has the basic ‘hardware’ [for mirror self-recognition], but they need appropriate training to acquire the ‘software’ to achieve self-recognition,” said Neng Gong, a Chinese Academy of Sciences researcher.
Jupiter’s core eroding faster than previously thought
The rock and ice core of Jupiter may be eroding faster than previously thought. Researcher Hugh Wilson used a model to ascertain how elements of Jupiter’s core spread out into the gas giant’s fluid outer layer and found that the disbursement occurred at twice the rate previously calculated. Wilson noted that when Juno, the spacecraft on its way to study Jupiter, arrives in 2016 it might find “a partially eroded husk of the planet’s original core.”
Arrhythmia in Beethoven’s compositions
Scientists think the rhythms of Beethoven’s music may indicate an arrhythmia in the composer’s heartbeat, according to research published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. A cardiologist, a specialist in internal medicine and a musicologist joined forces to study Beethoven’s work as a “musical electrocardiogram,” noting distinctive rhythmic shifts that could be indicative of arrhythmia.
Molecule that could repair damaged neurons identified
Two studies have identified phosphatidylserine receptor, or PSR-1, a molecule that can locate and destroy apoptotic cells, and can also repair damaged nerve cells. During programmed cell death, apoptotic cells release phosphatidylserine from the inside to the cell surface, which serves as a signal for the molecules to eliminate them. However, broken axons in nerve cells alert PSR-1 molecules the moment a cut or damage is present in the cell membrane PS composition.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Pharaoh, gods depicted in wall relief found in Egyptian quarry
A wall relief depicting an unknown pharaoh and the gods Thoth and Amun-Ra has been found in a sandstone quarry in Egypt. Researchers are having trouble identifying the pharaoh because of the poor condition of the stela, which they suggest dates back to around the Third Intermediate Period between 1070 B.C. and 664 B.C.