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News of the Weird
 

Cutting-Edge Science


November 4th, 2010

A team led by a University of Oklahoma professor, studying Mexican molly fish, discovered that females evaluate potential mates on sight, based on the prominence of the moustache-like growths on males' upper lips.

Obese patients with an array of symptoms known as "prediabetes" have seen their insulin sensitivity improved dramatically via "fecal transplants," i.e., receiving the stool of a thin, healthy person into the bowel, according to researchers led by a University of North Carolina professor. Researchers said the strangers' implants were significantly more effective than those of a control group, in which a person's own feces was implanted. (News of the Weird has previously reported on success in treating certain gastrointestinal infections by stool transplants that contain the bacteria Clostridium difficile.)

Two University of Sydney researchers reported recently that the food-acquisition "strategy" of the brainless, single-cell slime mold appeared to resemble one of the strategies familiar to us so-called brain-containing humans, specifically, making a selection only after comparing it to readily available alternatives. Furthermore, Japanese researchers who mapped the slime mold's search for food found that its nuclei are arranged in a pattern that is seemingly just as logically helpful in food procurement as the service arrangements are in Tokyo's acclaimed railway system. (In October, the Japanese researchers were awarded a satirical "Ig Nobel" prize by the Annals of Improbable Research.)

In research results announced in June, a team led by a University of Oklahoma professor, studying Mexican molly fish, discovered that females evaluate potential mates on sight, based on the prominence of the moustache-like growths on males' upper lips. More controversially, the researchers hypothesized that males further enhance their mating prowess by employing the "moustache" to tickle females' genitals. (Catfish have similar "whiskers" and perhaps use them for similar purposes, said the researchers.)
 
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