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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: Hibernating Turtles Aren't Dead to the World
8 October 2013 7:15 pm
Like many freshwater turtles, the slider Trachemys scripta can spend the whole winter resting at the bottom of a cold lake with no oxygen. Are they totally comatose, or do they keep a bit of a light on in their brains? To find out, researchers inserted electrodes into anesthetized turtles' heads. The reptiles’ neurons responded to light and vibration—even when the turtles were deprived of oxygen, the group reports online today in Biology Letters. The team also placed nonanesthetized turtles in cold, oxygen-free water in a dark lab for 2 weeks, to make them think it was winter. When the researchers turned on the lights, the turtles started moving around in their tanks. Warming the water had the same effect. (Oxygen and vibration didn't.) The team concludes that the turtles aren't actually comatose in winter; they're waiting for signs of spring in a state of "slow vigilance."