Friday coffee break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Jon: Drug-resistant bacteria have been found on pork products raised without antibiotics. (But note that this doesn’t necessarily mean antibiotic-free farming is futile.)

The researchers found that 64.8% of the samples were positive for staph bacteria and 6.6% were positive for MRSA. Rates of contamination were similar for conventionally raised pigs (19 of 300 samples) and those labeled antibiotic-free (seven of 95 samples). Results of genetic typing identified several well-known strains, including the so-called livestock-associated MRSA (ST398) as well as common human strains; all were found in conventional and antibiotic-free meat. (The label “antibiotic-free” is not regulated, and the products were not “certified organic.”) [Hyperlink sic.]

From Sarah: New paleontological finds suggest dogs were first domesticated as long as 33,000 years ago. (See also The Onion‘s related person-on-the-street interviews.)

Researchers at UA and universities in England and the Netherlands used radiocarbon dating to determine that the skull of a Siberian dog was about 33,000 years old. Slightly older dog remains were identified in Belgium a few years ago by a separate research team.

Devin suggests Daniel Simons’s guide to scientific writing and revising.

Every section of your introduction should build directly on the previous ones, maintaining the narrative flow established by your opening. If your paper is organized as an unsolved mystery, each paragraph should add clues. If your paper is organized as a fiery controversy, each paragraph should add fuel. If a paragraph doesn’t contribute, cut it.

And finally, from Jeremy: some clever dissection work has revealed that, for orb-web spiders, mating continues even after the male’s intromittant organ breaks off inside his mate.

“It is quite remarkable,” says Jutta Schneider, who studies sexual interactions in spiders at the University of Hamburg in Germany. “It supports our notion that male spiders of some species are under selection to prolong copulation against the actions of the female.”

One comment on “Friday coffee break

  1. Some fun and interesting finds! I enjoyed the writing tips (as a writer myself) and the spider penis info is just too bizarre not to want to share with others. Thanks for this!

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