Archive for August, 2011

August 19, 2011

The amino acid alphabet

Amino acid alphabet soup

Via, 8/19/11

All living creatures on this planet use the same 20 amino acids, even though there are hundreds available in nature. Scientists therefore have wondered if life could have arisen based on a different set of amino acids. And what’s more, could life exist elsewhere that utilizes an alternate collection of building blocks?

August 18, 2011

Elephants Can Use Insight to Solve Problems

Elephants Can Use Insight to Solve Problems

Via ScienceNOW, 8/18/11

Highly social and clever and cooperative with tools, elephants are often near the top of the brainiest creatures list. Now, scientists have added a new talent to elephants’ mental repertoire: The ability to solve a problem using insight—that aha! moment when your internal light bulb switches on and you figure out the solution to a puzzle. Previously, only a limited number of species, including certain primates, crows, and parrots were known to have this ability.