Friday Faves May 16, 2014

What's in our poop?

Turns out it's a pretty complicated question to answer. We have heard a lot of talk about our microbiome and what kinds of bacteria live in our gut, helping us digest our food, but also aiding our immune system. In this guest post in Scientific American, Tami Lieberman walks us through the process of getting your poop's microbiome analyzed - so many questions: where do you do this? how do you even sample feces? what do the results tell us? you will now know).

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I could pee on that

No I'm not talking about the popular book of poems as written by cats.

Like many other animals, mice send "Pee-mails" to each other, by urinating, well, all over the place. Turns out this marking behavior is very sensitive to who else has urinated in that area. Mice "counter-mark" depending on whether or not they are dominant to a mouse that has previously peed there. They also use pheromones in the urine to determine if THEY were the mouse that previously marked that area. Cool stuff, read more here.

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Excuse me, that nest is password protected

Fairy wrens have  a tough problem to deal with: cuckoo birds lay eggs in their nests and take off. This is a problem for a mama bird, as she can't take a chance that an egg isn't her own and ignore that baby, but investing time and energy raising someone else's offspring is costly. It turns out that wrens sing to their eggs, and the mom is more likely to provide food to chicks who know the secret "incubation call." Moms are more likely to sing to their eggs when cuckoo birds are around. Read more here!

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