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 Sarah: Bears understand numbers! (See also Jason Goldman’s in-depth discussion of this study.)

The experiment then involved presenting the bears with two sets of dots or “arrays”.

“Basically we were looking to see if they can understand to choose less or choose more,” she said.

They touched the screen to select one or other of the arrays, and were given food if they got the answer right.

And from Jeremy: Even though virologists now know a lot about the pandemic potential of H5N1 influenza, there are some important questions remaining.
“What is so special about this virus that allows it to spread through the animal world so effectively?” asks Jeremy Farrar, a tropical-medicine specialist at the University of Oxford, UK. There are no firm answers.