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Latest Bruce Young Stories

2010-05-14 14:08:50

Most venomous snakes are legendary for their lethal bites, but not all. Some spit defensively. Bruce Young, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, explains that some cobras defend themselves by spraying debilitating venom into the eyes of an aggressor. Getting the chance to work with spitting cobras in South Africa, Young took the opportunity to record the venom spray tracks aimed at his eyes. Protected by a sheet of Perspex, Young caught the trails of venom and two things struck him:...

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2010-04-20 11:10:00

Scientists measuring electrical activity in the muscles of a cobra have found the mechanism that triggers the frightening "hood flare" that the snake uses as a defensive display. The scientists found a precise group of muscles that the cobra uses to raise their hoods. The procedure was very tricky. Scientists had to implant tiny electrodes into the snake's muscles while the reptile was carefully anaesthetized. Once the electrodes were in place, they took measurements of electrical activity...

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2009-01-23 09:37:50

Spitting cobras have an exceptional ability to spray venom into eyes of potential attackers. A new study published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology reveals how these snakes maximize their chances of hitting the target. The name "spitting cobra" is a bit of a misnomer. Cobras don't actually "spit" venom, says the study's lead author Bruce Young, director of the Anatomical Laboratory in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Muscle contractions...


Word of the Day
endocarp
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'karpos', fruit.
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