Funny and serious cat research

01 Mar

Domestic animal cats accompany the person for several millennia, and it is estimated that today they are found wherever there is a hint of civilization. Of course, these same scientists – the same people, and many of them are in search of the object to the application of their scientific talents turned to a beloved pet.

World Day cats presents a selection of the most interesting, amusing and bizarre research about cats and cats, domestic and small, as well as the people around them.

Flying cat
Surprising that the first thing the scientists are interested in the amazing ability of cats falling from any height to land on their feet. It is believed that the official history of scientific research in the physics of falling kittens began in 1969, when two physicists from Stanford University published a study entitled The dynamic explanation of the phenomenon of falling cats.

At the same physics, unlike many of his followers, in the course of their work does not let any one cat. Instead, they created a mathematical abstraction, model cat, which pretty well describes the process and the results of the fall live cats, who were once cast by someone else. Until now, the article Kane and Scher remains almost the only publication of the Cat in the journal International Journal of Solids and Structures.

Not all physicists believe that cats should throw from a height – of some interest, and the characteristic manner of animals prowl, gently trapping prey. Christine Bishop, University of California, Davis (USA) and her colleagues for their research stealthy cats partly shaved three of them and painted with special paint, which helped monitor the work of muscles and movement of the animal.

Subject falling on fertile cats marked and famous magazine Annals of Improbable Research, the Ig Nobel prize awarded annually the most ridiculous and bizarre research. The author in the room in 1998, Fiorella Gambale, threw a cat named Esther from different heights, a total of 600 times. Thus, it was found that Esther has time to roll over and land on four legs after falling from a height of more than one foot (30 centimeters). The article Gambale wrote that he expected to continue experiments with the same cat at low altitudes, but their results have not been announced.

Cats and related studies have repeatedly been the reason for the award by their author “shnobelevok.” Thus, the most famous is the work of French biologists who once and for all settle the dispute about whose fleas jump higher, dog or cat – in favor of the former.

In 2002, the Spaniard Eduardo Segura won on hygiene for the invention of a special washing machine for cats and dogs. A resident of the U.S. state of Arizona, Chris Nisvander in 2000 was awarded in computer science for the creation of programs PawSense, able to determine that on your computer keyboard to walk the cat.

Finally, the first cat “Shnobelevka” award in 1994 in entomology, went to the American veterinarian Robert Lopez, who in the name of science transplanted his ears cat ear mites.

They say bad luck
Scientists do not tend to believe in superstitions, but in the case of black cats and dogs, and they have a scientific counterarguments. Black cats, which in many cultures are considered a symbol of failure, may in fact be much more lucky than their relatives of other colors.

Mutations that cause feline black color, occur in the same “family”, where the genes are associated with some dangerous diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus. Eduardo Eyzirik from the National Cancer Institute of the United States believes that black cats because of these mutations may be more resistant to diseases, and that this may be the evolutionary advantage of black color.

Who’s the Boss
Karen McComb of the University of Sussex and her colleagues argue that your cat, persistent murchaniem beg you to lunch, actually mercilessly “exploits the natural selectivity of perception in humans, associated with the care of domesticated animals.”

Scientists have recorded murchanie 10 cats in different settings and listen to records gave 50 volunteers. It turned out that the sound, which publishes a hungry cat, hoping to get a meal, a person perceives as “much more urgent and less pleasant.” Moreover, researchers using the manipulation of recorded sound could find and highlight “melody” in the cat murchanii, which, it seems, is a human instinct to feed the cat.

Magazine Annals of Improbable Research in his article notes that “it seems, even if you have never had a cat, you can still fall victim to their natural psychotronic weapons.” Everyone is welcome to an experiment by British scientists on themselves and listen to recordings of cat murchaniya, carefully published magazine.

Baleen and homeless

Sometimes cats, for various reasons, become wild again, but not pretty. Scott estimated Loss of ekobiologii Smithsonian in Washington DC (USA), feral domestic cats annually destroy America and 4 billion wild birds and 20 billion small mammals.

One animal, according to environmentalists, in the year eats an average of about 36 birds and 200 mice and other rodents and small mammals, and all them in the U.S. alone, more than 60 million. It is unknown how many in the “diet” furry villains amphibians and reptiles – Environmentalists fear that in some regions of feral pets can pose a serious threat to the ecosystem.

While the number of stray population of predators in the future is likely to increase. Climate change will make the winter shorter, and the average air temperature – the higher, which prolongs the breeding season for cats. Some scientists believe that this is perhaps the most charming of all the consequences of the global process of the human impact on the atmosphere.

An evolutionary anthropology and writer Brian Hare believes that ended millennia of disputes about who is smarter – dogs or cats. Unfortunately, for all fans of the latter, due not in their favor: the years of studies of animal behavior and mental processes Hare convinced that dogs smarter than their arch-rivals.

Scientists note that, although in general domesticated animals generally stupid wild counterparts, domestic dogs, which are used for human companions and helpers rather than a source of food, gradually adapted to this role. So, the dog better than other types recognize gestures and facial expressions, are able to store the information and return to it later. Cat walk by themselves, on average, show less intellectual talent, says Hare.

Talk seriously
Of course, cats often become the object of scientific research, not applying for the Ig Nobel prize. Thus, neuro scientists have found under the skin of cats, mice and other mammals, special nerve cells that recognize only one kind of signals – stroking hair. True, then the researchers, led by David Anderson of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (USA) using a fairly complex experiment established fact known by personal experience to all owners of cats – really pleasant stroking animals.

Very serious problem of biology will help to solve the luminous green cat – in the genome of the animal, derived by experts from the United States, introduced a gene for resistance to the virus. Lit cat is also not in itself: the famous green fluorescent protein gene (GFP) the researchers used as an indicator of the success of “transfer” of the main gene. The creators of special glowing kittens expect that in the future they will help them to develop drugs and gene therapy for HIV.

Feline genetics, apparently scientists will present more surprises. For example, at the end of last year, scientists have shown that the “switch” pattern on the skin of many cats is just one gene: the normal version of it leads to the appearance of tiger stripes and mutant – leopard spots. Depending on the presence or absence of a mutation in the cat for life takes on a characteristic “pattern”, which is growing along with it all my life.

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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Historical


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