Let’s go off-topic in science and the animal kingdom. Some interesting research makes you wonder how this might apply to products or behavior changes in the management of our Type 1 diabetes. Time to stretch our minds and put on our thinking caps … WHAT DIABETES SOLUTIONS COULD COME OUT OF THESE RESEARCH FINDINGS????
Alarming New Research Says Animals Are Rapidly ‘Shapeshifting’ was reported by Brad Bergan for InterestingScience.org, 7 September 2021.
“Survival of the fittest” takes on a new grim tone in the frame of climate change. Anyone familiar with climate change and the ways it affects human society also knows that animals, too, are forced to adapt to changing environments. And it turns out that some “warm-blooded” animals are already shapeshifting to better regulate their body temperatures as the planet continues to warm, according to a new study published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Some animals are growing larger beaks, while others are getting leg extensions or bigger ears, but, unlike most evolutionary changes, these adaptations have one thing in common: the cause is human industry on planet Earth.
“A lot of the time when climate change is discussed in mainstream media, people are asking ‘can humans overcome this?’, or ‘what technology can solve this?’,” said Bird Researcher Sara Ryding of Deakin University in Australia, in an embargoed release shared with IE. “It’s high time we recognized that animals also have to adapt to these changes, but this is occurring over a far shorter timescale than would have occurred through most of evolutionary time.” To Ryding, the more we alter their environment, the more pressure animals feel to adapt, or die.
ARE WE ADAPTING? If so, how?
Elephants benefit from having older siblings, especially sisters was shared by the British Ecologic Society for Phys.org, 21 September 2021.
A study of semi-captive Asian elephants in Myanmar has found that calves benefit from having older sisters more than older brothers. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology.
Researchers at universities in Finland, the UK and Myanmar have found that Asian elephant siblings influence younger offspring from early through to late life. Being raised with older siblings strongly increased calves’ long-term survival compared to not having a sibling, with elder sisters having a bigger impact than elder brothers.
In female elephants, those raised with older sisters had higher long-term survival and reproduced for the first time an average of two years earlier, compared to those with older brothers. Reproducing at an earlier age is generally associated with more offspring over the course of an elephant’s lifetime.
In male elephants, those raised with older sisters had lower survival but higher body weight, compared to those with older brothers. This seemingly detrimental effect may be explained by a ‘live-fast, die young’ strategy, where the positive early increase in body mass could lead to survival costs later in life.
Whoa, this is interesting. First of all, if you DON’T have an older female sibling, you can’t change that. Or, as is my case, I have an older sister who wasn’t the best but perhaps I learned what not to do. Makes you think, though.
Bat guts become less healthy through diet of ‘fast food’ from banana plantations was published by Frontiers for Phys.org, 23 September 2021.
Nectar-feeding bats foraging in intensively managed banana plantations in Costa Rica have a less diverse set of gut microbes in comparison to bats feeding in their natural forest habitat or organic plantations, reveals new research published today in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. This is the first study to show an association between habitat alteration, sustainable agriculture, and the gut microbiota of wildlife.
“Organic and conventional monoculture banana plantations both provide a very reliable food source for some nectar-feeding bat species. However, bats foraging in the intensively managed plantations had a reduced diversity of gut microbes, which could be a sign of gut dysbiosis, an unhealthy imbalance of its microbial symbionts,” explains Priscilla Alpízar, first author of this study, a doctoral student at the Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics of the University of Ulm in Germany.
“In contrast, bats foraging in the organic banana plantations had diverse and individualized gut microbiotas that were more akin to their natural forest-foraging counterparts.”
Gut dysbiosis is a persistent imbalance of the gut’s microbe community and has been linked to poor health, such as increased susceptibility to illness. Studies in humans have shown that a diet of fast food can cause dysbiosis by reducing the diversity of the bacteria found in the gut. This is one of the first studies to show that a similar effect can happen in wildlife.
Doesn’t require much stretching for this research. Out with the Fritos and Twinkies, in with more plant-based, non-manufactured foods. Bats don’t always have much choice … we humans DO have choice!