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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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."