by Staff Writers
Salzburg, Austria (UPI) Jul 3, 2012
Canadian researchers say they're studying diving seabirds in Hudson Bay to better understand the aging process.
Brunnich's guillemots reach their 30s and then die quickly and suddenly, showing few signs of aging prior to death.
The guillemots, which look similar to penguins, expend substantial energy when diving. Researchers say their high metabolism and frequent dives should produce oxidative stress, causing the birds to deteriorate as they age. The birds, however, appear to stay fit and active as they grow older, maintaining their flying, diving, and foraging abilities.
"Not only do these birds live very long, but they maintain their energetic lifestyle in a very extreme environment into old age," said Kyle Elliott, a doctoral student at the University of Manitoba and the study's lead author.
"Most of what we know about aging is from studies of short-lived round worms, fruit flies, mice, and chickens, but long-lived animals age differently. We need data from long-lived animals, and one good example is long-lived seabirds."
One bird, nicknamed "Wayne Gretzky" by the researchers after the Canadian hockey great who played 20 seasons in the NHL and because the bird's identification band colors matched Gretzky's team colors, raised young for 18 consecutive years.
The findings were presented Tuesday at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Salzburg, Austria.
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Diet of early human relative Australopithecus shows surprises
College Station TX (SPX) Jul 02, 2012
Australopithecus sediba, believed to be an early relative of modern-day humans, enjoyed a diet of leaves, fruits, nuts, and bark, which meant they probably lived in a more wooded environment than is generally thought, a surprising find published in the current issue of Nature magazine by an international team of researchers that includes a Texas A and M University anthropologist. Darryl de ... read more
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