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Category: Biology

Why Did Some Dinosaurs Have Cancer?

Cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, appears to have afflicted the ferocious beasts the roamed the Earth with our prehistoric ancestors.

Earlier this month, research published in The Lancet Oncology Journal diagnosed a dinosaur with bone cancer. And this isn’t the first time researchers have made such a diagnosis based on dinosaur fossils.

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Mycelium: Man’s Unexpected Best Friend

Red speckles and poofy, majestical shapes that appear to be pulled straight from a fairy tale are most likely at the forefront of your mind when you think of mushrooms – or, perhaps, some colorful, swirly-whirly imagery and “hippie babble” come to mind.

But there’s far more to mushrooms than meets the eye. Mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that forms during the hyphae growth stage of mushrooms, has piqued the interests of researchers around the globe.

In recent years, scientists have put mycelium under the microscope due to its physical strength and pharmacological properties. This has opened the floodgates for mycelia to serve as a natural construction compound for building houses or creating new medicines.

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The Science Behind Blue Flowers

Blue is all around us, from the oceans to their reflection in the sky, but it’s very rare that you’ll see blue anywhere else in nature – unless you’re flipping through a Dr. Seuss book.

Wildflowers sporting a bluish-hue, which includes purple and violet flowers, only account for about 15 to 20 percent of all flower colors, says a 2018 Breeding Science journal review.

“Many ornamental plants with a high production volume, such as rose and chrysanthemum, lack the key genes for producing the blue delphinidin pigment or do not have an intracellular environment suitable for developing blue color,” the review explains.

While recent advancements in genetic engineering have allowed scientists to synthesize blue roses, chrysanthemums, orchids, and dahlias, the process isn’t as simple as “editing a few genes” (granted, gene editing isn’t such a simple process, either).

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Moonshrooms: How Fungi Could Shape Life on Mars

NASA recently announced they’re exploring new, green ways to sustain human life in outer space through the help of our beloved fungal friends: mushrooms, or rather, their mycelia.

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How Plants Think: The Controversy of Consciousness

Unencumbered by words and semantics, plants express themselves through their luscious leaves and abundant blooms, which are the result of carefully calculated survival tactics that almost seem “thought out.”

These physical characteristics can tell human observers a lot about how the plant is doing; whether it needs more water or sunlight, warmth or humidity, and so forth – but, plants don’t have eyes like we do. They don’t have brains like ours, yet research shows they possess intelligence.

How far does that intelligence go? Do plants “think?”

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Why We’re Seeing More Beached Gray Whales

Gray whales are a speckled, 45-foot, 1,500-pound marine mammal that are native to the Pacific Ocean, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an Unusual Mortality Event due to the increase in strandings, so we reached out to the NOAA to dive further into the issue.

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