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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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Video: Shark Embryos Sense Electric Fields
9 January 2013 5:00 pm
Sharks are one of many marine creatures that can sense electrical fields emanating from other animals, and they use this sixth sense to find prey. Brown-banded bamboo sharks can sense these fields even before they've hatched from their egg cases, researchers report today in PLOS ONE. Scientists hung 11 egg cases containing shark embryos 3 to 4 months old in a water tank in front of a bright light, exposing the developing sharks' silhouettes. Normally, an embryo pulses its gills actively. But when researchers turned on electrodes to produce an electric field near the egg cases, the unhatched sharks froze and stilled their gills for several seconds (see video). The researchers suggest that freezing is a response to the presence of possible predators, such as other sharks. By freezing, the embryo may reduce its heart rate, which in turn may also reduce its own electric field, making it harder for predators to notice it.
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