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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Cool Reindeer Heads Prevail at the North Pole
26 October 2011 1:56 pm
Prancing around in fluffy fur coats, reindeer stay plenty warm when temperatures plummet below -50°C, but they can't exactly unzip to cool off after exercise. To study how reindeer avoid overheating, researchers rounded up nine of the friendliest animals they could find and implanted probes into major blood vessels in their heads that measured blood flow and brain temperature. Then they let the reindeer run on a specially designed treadmill. At first the reindeer breathed through their noses, allowing the Arctic air to cool the blood in their sinuses before sending it on to the rest of the body. But once they started breathing faster, up to 260 breaths per minute, they opened their mouths and panted like dogs, letting the air flow over their big tongues to cool that blood. When their brain temperature reached a critical limit of 39°C, researchers report today in December issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology, the reindeer switched the blood flow pattern in their noses so that the coolest blood would go to their heads and cool the brain, a strategy similar to their very distant relative: the African antelope.
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