New results show that land-living crabs, descended from marine ancestors, have re-invented key aspects of the insect nose through evolution in order to solve the problem of olfaction in their air-filled terrestrial environment.
The robber crab, Birgus latro, is the world’s largest land-dwelling arthropod, with a weight reaching 4 kg and a length of more than half a meter. Robber crabs are perhaps most famous for their ability to climb tall palm trees in search of coconuts, which they later are able to crack open with their massive claws. These crabs are fully adapted to a life on land and will actually drown if submerged in water. The robber crab’s transition from sea to land has been accomplished through numerous, and in many cases far-reaching, adaptations. A question not previously addressed is how the robber crabs have adapted to olfaction in their new environment – an intriguing question because the sense of smell needs to operate under very different conditions in air compared to water.
In the new work, Marcus Stensmyr and Bill S. Hansson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, together with colleagues from Lund University, Sweden and the University of New South Wales, Australia, show not only that these impressive crabs have a functional sense of smell but that the olfactory system they have developed is in fact highly sophisticated and sensitive. Moreover, the crabs have managed this evolutionary feat by adopting olfactory strategies similar to those of insects.
Research team creates new possibilities for medicine and materials sciences
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Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
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On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
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For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
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At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
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