Wetenschap - 26 januari 2017

Migration

It's not only birds that migrate, insects do too. Everyone knows the example of the monarch butterfly, but more 'ordinary' insects travel a lot too. British scientists have spent years mapping that migration in the south of England with the aid of radar images. Seven times as many insects as birds migrate between north and south as the seasons change. Some insects can use the wind to travel as fast as 58 kilometres per hour.

Spicy

Eating hot food helps you live longer, according to researchers at the University of Vermont. The mortality rate among people who eat chilli peppers is 13 percent lower than for other people. Hot peppers affect the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract and it would seem that a number of 'baddies' are being eliminated as a result. So don't forget to order the extra spicy option next time.

Not in the mood

Platonic fruit flies don't have sex. According to biologists at Tohoku University in Japan, a single gene is responsible for this. That gene codes for a protein that regulates the production of serotonin. This hormone affects the sex drive, not just in fruit flies but also in humans. The scientists now see possibilities for an aphrodisiac.

Goat bacon

Oetzi the Iceman, a mummy who was found in the Oetztal in 1991, is the most examined corpse ever. German scientists have now discovered what his last meal was: bacon. Probably from a local wild goat in South Tyrol. Oetzi also suffered from a growing stomach ulcer. However, in other respects the Stone Age man (height 1.60m, weight 50kg, age 45) was in good condition. Until he was fatally injured by an arrow.


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