Biology

How humans evolved a super-high cooling capacity

The higher density of sweat glands in humans is due, to a great extent, to accumulated changes in a regulatory region of DNA that drives the expression of a sweat gland-building gene, explaining why humans are the sweatiest of the Great Apes.

From Penn Medicine News

Three Goldwater Scholars for Penn

Penn’s newest Goldwater Scholars, awarded to sophomores or juniors planning research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering are sophomore Emma Keeler, junior Michele Meline and junior Max Wragan.

Louisa Shepard



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In the News


Scientific American

What monkeys can teach humans about resilience after disaster

PIK Professor Michael Platt and Camille Testard, a Ph.D. student in the Perelman School of Medicine, spoke about their research on how rhesus macaques in Puerto Rico adapted in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “We see this massive surge in the time they spend in proximity to other partners, and their social tolerance increasing toward many different partners,” said Testard. “We saw active building of relationships with individuals that they didn’t really interact with before.”

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The Atlantic

How female frogs tune out useless, noisy males

Amritha Mallikarjun, a postdoc in the School of Veterinary Medicine, weighed in on a study that found that female frog lungs can not only amplify the mating calls of male frogs but also muffle noises from other species. “It seems incredibly smart,” she said. “They’re taking sounds that aren’t interesting and trying to reduce them.”

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Popular Science

Like humans, naked mole-rats have regional accents

Robert Seyfarth of the School of Arts & Sciences weighed in on a new study that found naked mole-rat colonies have unique vocal signatures. “Mole-rats have this incredible society,” he said. “It looks like their vocal communication, and the way their brain organizes vocalizations, has evolved to fit the demands of that society.”

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Philadelphia Inquirer

How to conduct an engaging lab experiment in the time of COVID: Brew beer

Biology instructors at Penn assembled and mailed hundreds of lab kits to students to aid virtual learning. “It’s important to get students off of their computers and using some of the tools and techniques that are used by scientists,” said Linda Robinson of the School of Arts & Sciences.

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ABC Australia

Are very long-lived trees immortal and what can they teach humans?

Brenda Casper of the School of Arts & Sciences said it’s hard to measure age-related deterioration in trees that are older than 1,000 years. “It’s not just internal physiology per se but it’s the interaction of the tree with its environment,” she said.

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NPR

Are there zombie viruses—like the 1918 flu—thawing in the permafrost?

Michael Zimmerman of the School of Arts & Sciences said the possibility of reviving long frozen pathogens is “extremely unlikely.”

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