Blog Archives

Hyenas: maternal masculinization makes birth no laughing matter (part 1)

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Birth of their baby is usually fast & uncomplicated in higher primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees, & orangutans. However in man a natural birth is usually prolonged & painful. The evolution of these processes has been discussed in my previous blogs on  … Continue reading

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Cigarette butts are for the birds: toxins protect nestlings

Cigarette butts thrown from car windows along the roads or discarded all over the place in camp sites in game reserves  have always been a minor  irritation for me.  Unlike plastic bags, tins & bottles they are too small for the … Continue reading

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Can art help deter rhino poaching

We went to a wonderful art museum in the Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands. Among the van Gogh’s, Mondrian’s etc I came across the powerful work of an artist I had never previously heard of: Cai Guo-Qiang. He is, however, world-famous for his … Continue reading

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The key to understanding the neurotoxicity of snake bites: why is the mongoose immune to cobra venom (Part 3)

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In the final post on the snake venom topic we will discuss how the mongoose has been able to overcome the neurotoxic effects of cobra venom. We have learnt how ACh fits into the shape of the specific shape of … Continue reading

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The key to understanding the neurotoxicity of snake & spider bites (Part 2)

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In this blog we will discuss how different neurotoxins (snake & spider) can interfere with nerve impulse conduction & muscle contractions. We will do this using the wash basin model  to see how toxins change the effective ACh concentrations at … Continue reading

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The key to understanding the neurotoxicity of snake & spider bites (Part 1)

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I want to briefly discuss the biochemistry underlying the toxic effects of venoms trying to explain basic concepts with my beloved wash-basin analogy & also the lock & key theory. Snake & spider venom contain various toxic substances. These via … Continue reading

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Birth in Australopithecus, apes, & man: a passage over time (part 3)

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We have in the previous two parts of this 3 part series on the passage of babies through the birth canal briefly discussed the process as well as the differences  in labor between humans & the giant apes. The title … Continue reading

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