I bet you’re asking yourself what is this magical wonder drug? It’s chocolate, and with it, winning a Nobel Prize may have just gotten easier! Findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine in October 2012 show that countries with more chocolate consumers produce significantly more Nobel laureates, possibly through enhanced cognition. The study comes on the heels of mounting data showing that chocolate consumption not only improves brain function but may also offer a host of other health benefits. The American Chemical Society even devoted an entire 3-hour symposium to the ancient indulgence at their 2012 annual meeting. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve reviewed the recent literature purporting health benefits of chocolate.
Why Are There No Herbivorous Snakes?
by Andrew Durso
Herbivory (eating plants or their parts) is widespread among vertebrates. There are many herbivorous mammals: think of cows, deer, and other ungulates, as well as lagomorphs (rabbits and their relatives), kangaroos, elephants, sloths, hyraxes, manatees, and even some primates, including many humans. Many birds are herbivorous, including notably the Hoatzin of the Amazon basin, which eats only leaves, but more broadly the many seed- and grain-eating birds such as sparrows, buntings, chickadees, and many other familiar species.
Among reptiles, there are herbivorous lizards (such as Gray’s Monitor, which eats fruit, and Marine Iguanas, which eat only seaweed), turtles (Green Sea Turtles and most tortoises), and even some crocodilians (Simone Brito and colleagues reported Broad-nosed Caimans eating fruit in 2002). Nearly all frogs are herbivorous as tadpoles (and some as adults), and some salamanders, the sirenids, eat algae. There are also many herbivorous fishes: the Pacu of South America, many koi and goldfishes, parrotfishes, and some cichlids and catfishes. Notably absent, then, are the snakes…
(read more: Life is Short, but Snakes Are Long)
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