Like the novel, War of the Worlds, it is best to fear the tiny.
Or at least it might have been when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Want to know more, or to know how the heck paleontologists figure out how a microorganism caused fossils to form?
Read about it here!
Birds have a number of loud and showy ways to attach a mate. But they also have a subtle one: smell.
And it turns out that some of that smell are naturally made by bacteria in the preening gland.
So I’m not saying you should use “hey girl, you smell like the best bacteria” as a pick up line, but it might be worth trying!
(If you’re a bird. NiB is not responsible for this interaction going south)
Read all about the work by Danielle Whittaker over at Science News!
“Hey girl, you smell like the sexiest microbes”
I will admit it, I cannot get enough of microbiomes!
And it turns out, neither can other people. Even PHD comics have made an awesome little video about them.
Check it out!
In the Origin of Species, Darwin described a “great Tree of Life” which is “fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.”
Ever since then biologist have been trying to describe such a tree. And it should surprise no one that the recent focus on microbial ecology has expanded the Tree considerably.
Read about it at the New York Times or in the paper over at Nature Microbiology .
Hug et al. 2016
Darwin’s tree, in concept and in the only figure published in his Origin of Species.
One of the greatest tag lines for studying microbes is “You have more microbes in your body than you have cells!”
However… it turns out that might not strictly be true. Which is a shame, because it was a great tag line…
Read about it over at the Atlantic!
Or read the review paper here.
When people say they have gut feelings, they usually mean that they are going on instinct.
However, it turns out that your instinct, or behavior, could actually be coming from your gut. Microbes that is.
Over at Scientific American, an excellent article summarizes a study by Rebecca Knickmeyer on just that.
She followed a group of developing infants to determine if their guts really are altering their behavior.
Check it out!
(almost as cool as Microbes on Mars)