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Secrets of the narwhal tusk

first_imgTo Martin Nweeia, the narwhal — a mysterious whale with an off-center tusk — is much more interesting than the mythical unicorn.Now, eight years after he described the narwhal’s distinctive tusk as a sensory organ, the fascinating creature is coming into focus. Nweeia and his colleagues have mapped a sensory pathway between that spiral tooth and the narwhal brain, along the way showing how the animal may use its tusk to suss out its environment.A practicing dentist in Connecticut and a clinical instructor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Sciences at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), Nweeia calls himself “just a curious kid” whose interest in dental anthropology — teeth in people across evolutionary history — spurred him to look at, for example, the elephant tusk and other variants of teeth in animals. But for more than a dozen years he has been chasing narwhals in their native habitat halfway between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole.The more Nweeia studied narwhals, the less sense they seemed to make.One spiral tooth projects through the upper lip, jutting nine feet out from only one side of the male’s head. It is a tooth, not an antler with the sex-based size differences well known in the animal kingdom.Another tooth remains embedded in the other side of the narwhal’s mouth, an asymmetry not found elsewhere in nature. Male narwhal embryos have eight pairs of teeth in their developing mouths, but only two pairs form after birth, with one pair forming the tusks. Usually only one of these teeth becomes the signature tusk.The world of narwhal research means expeditions to the northern tip of Baffin Island, where Nweeia perches on ice floes or at shore-based camps, dons a dry suit to wade in 36-degree water, braves 120-mph winds, and watches warily for polar bears. Early in his 14-year career of arduous expedition, Nweeia and colleagues discovered that the narwhal tusk is the structural inverse of a human tooth: It has a rigid rod in the center surrounded by a flexible outer layer that contains porous tubules.“These things all fly in the face of every rule and property that one would learn about teeth, if one were to go to dental school,” Nweeia said.In 2005 he and colleagues including Peter Hauschka, associate professor of developmental biology at HSDM and Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, reported at a conference that the narwhal tusk is a sensory organ, delivering information about its icy ocean environment. Now a paper, published in the journal Anatomical Record, traces the path from sensation to brain using anatomy, histology, genetics, and neurophysiology.Martin Nweeia (dark jacket) and his team used a Holter monitor to measure differences in the narwhal’s heart rate and found significant changes depending on water salinity. Photo by Isabelle GrocNweeia’s team found nerves, tissues, and genes in the narwhal tusk pulp that are known for sensory function and that help connect the tusk to the brain. Armed with this new model, Nweeia needed to confirm that sensory information is actually transmitted along this pathway to the brain from the tusk in living narwhals.The team tested this hypothesis by slipping a “tusk jacket” — a clear tube sealed with foam at either end — onto a narwhal that had swum into waters off Baffin, still chilly in August.The stimulus was water, either high or low in salt, which sloshed through the tube and over the tusk in separate tests. The response was a change in heart rate, measured by a Holter monitor, the same portable device that people wear when their doctors want to document heart rhythms. The team hooked electrodes onto the narwhals’ skin, took heart-rate measurements, and then released the animals unharmed after less than 30 minutes.The scientists measured changes in heart rate and found significant changes depending on water salinity.Why would varying water salinity matter? Ice formation is critical to the success of an animal species that lives in an ever-changing ocean environment, the researchers surmised. Nweeia has concluded that the narwhal tusk senses variations in the salinity of the ocean waters as a possible way to demonstrate fitness to females. Such ability may help males find females in estrus, or help locate foods essential for newly born narwhals.Water salinity was the sensory stimulus, which triggered signals to the brain and then sparked responsive changes in heart rate, Nweeia explained.“This is the first tooth that has been shown by in vivo testing to have sensory function to a normal variable in its environment,” he said.Nweeia pointed out that human teeth are sensitive, too, but as in other mammals, this has been documented only after significant damage or disease. Human teeth can sense cold or heat or pain, especially when exposed after damage to the hard outer layer.Dental textbooks feature the hydrodynamic theory of tooth sensitivity, credited to Martin Brännström, which holds that changes in fluid inside tubules within the dentin layer cause variations in pressure that reach nerves in the tooth pulp. Brännström hypothesized that teeth are capable of detecting temperature, pressure, particle gradients, and tactile sensations.The next steps for Nweeia’s group, Narwhal Tusk Discoveries, are to complete a 12-year study collecting traditional Inuit knowledge of the narwhal and to find an evolutionary link to the tusk’s microstructure.“Imagine: Exploration, wonder, and mystery are all wound up in this magnificent spiraled tusk and sensory organ,” said Nweeia.This study was funded by National Science Foundation grants. Additional funding was made by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, the Smithsonian Institution, the Explorers Club, Castle Harlan, NSERC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.last_img read more

Organisers Plan Big for Zenith/Delta Principal’s Cup Final Stage

first_imgThe organisers, Hideaplux Limited have been told to create a perfect enabling environment for the remaining eight teams in the competition.CEO of Hideaplus Ltd, Tony Pemu, said the directive came from sport-loving governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who has promised to be at the final billed for March 2.Pemu said: “The commissioner (Ebie) brought the message of Governor Okowa to us at a meeting and we have increased the tempo to ensure the final eight teams enjoy the best of everything.“The sponsors, Zenith Bank will also be involved more since we are already in the final stages. It will be a carnival of sort from this stage to the final.”According to the fixtures, Marvel Secondary School will clash with Iwere College, Koko on February 20 at the Sapele Stadium.On February 21, Obule Integrated schools and St. Paul’s College Ozoro will compete for honours at the Ughelli Stadium while on February 22, Comprehensive Secondary school and Boys Secondary school will lock horns at Agbor Stadium.The final quarterfinal match will be decided on February 23 between Otokutu Secondary school and Ogume Grammar School at the Oleh Stadium.The semifinals will take place on February 26 and 27 at venues yet to be determined while the Third Place match is billed for February 28.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The government of Delta State is planning big towards creating a ‘super interesting atmosphere’ in the final stages of the Principal’s Cup football competition for all secondary schools in the state.The developmental youth football competition is sponsored by Zenith Bank in conjunction with the government of Delta State.Commissioner for Basic Secondary School, Chiedu Ebie, who is playing the overall supervisory role for the annual competition, has charged the organisers to make this edition better than the first one.last_img read more

Dodgers place Joe Kelly on IL, wait for Alex Wood and Corey Seager to return

first_imgRoberts said there is still no timetable for Wood’s return but his schedule this week is similar to the one Clayton Kershaw went through in the week before he was activated from the IL.“Thursday would be the next progression, and that would be a simulated game facing some hitters,” Roberts said. “This is the first part of the progression — doing the up-and-down bullpen and then the next thing would be that sim game.”SEAGER STATUSShortstop Corey Seager missed his third consecutive game with a back injury but is “continuing to progress,” according to Roberts. Seager was on the field before the game at Dodger Stadium on Monday, going through agility drills and testing his back.“He’s moving around better,” Roberts said. “Yesterday I saw him and he was in pretty good spirits, moving around. I’m not sure when he’s going to get back on the field and start kind of running around, take some ground balls, let alone take any swings. Once that day comes, we’ll have more clarity.”For now, the Dodgers have not put Seager on the IL, willing to play shorthanded for a handful of days in the hopes that Seager won’t need a full 10 days to recover.“Fortunately, with the versatility we do have, it’s not as imperative,” Roberts said of the IL move. “Right now, we’re certainly managing and we feel OK about it.”ALSOOutfielder Terrance Gore cleared waivers and has been optioned to the Dodgers’ alternate training site. Gore was designated for assignment on July 30.Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start LOS ANGELES — Joe Kelly will be on the injured list as he awaits the outcome of his appeal of an eight-game suspension.The Dodgers placed Kelly on the IL on Monday with shoulder inflammation. The right-hander appeared in seven of the Dodgers’ first 16 games, pitching 6 1/3 innings without being charged with a run, striking out five, walking five and giving up five hits.Demoted last week when rosters were trimmed from 30 to 28, lefty reliever Adam Kolarek was recalled from the alternate training site to replace Kelly in the bullpen for now.“Joe just has some shoulder discomfort,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, adding that Kelly had an MRI but Roberts was unaware of the results as of Monday afternoon. “It’s been bothering him here for a few days. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Give him some time on the IL to let it calm down a little bit and hopefully he’s ready once that 10 days is up.”Once that 10 days is up Kelly will probably be unavailable even longer. Kelly revealed on Ross Stripling’s podcast last week that he was scheduled to have the appeal of his eight-game suspension heard on Monday. Kelly was suspended for throwing behind two Astros hitters and setting off a benches-clearing confrontation in Houston on July 28.Kelly is one of 56 pitchers around the league to go on the IL for non-coronavirus reasons. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that is well ahead of the pace in 2019 (24) and 2018 (19) through the first 18 days of the season.“I don’t think it’s coincidence,” Roberts said of the increased number of injuries following a three-week preseason.Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood is also on the IL with shoulder inflammation. He was scheduled to throw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday, broken into two 15-pitch bursts with a simulated inning break between. If that goes well, Wood is scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday either to hitters at the alternate training site or at Dodger Stadium before the game against the Padres. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season last_img read more

Derek Chauvin still Eligible for Pension despite Killing of George Floyd

first_img(Minneapolis, MN) — Former Minneapolis police officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran on the force, is still eligible to receive his full pension benefits during his retirement years even if he is convicted of killing George Floyd. Chauvin was the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes leading to his death.The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association confirms that Chauvin would remain eligible to file for his pension as early as age 50 and sources say he could receive more than $1 million over a 30-year period. After the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, Chauvin’s wife filed for divorce. It is unclear if she would receive any of the pension.Also, the Floyd family could file a wrongful death civil suit and seek to attach Chauvin’s pension if he is found guilty of murder.Officials say while a number of state laws allow for the forfeiture of pensions for employees convicted of felony crimes related to their work, this is not the case in Minnesota. Chauvin was quickly fired from the force, and amid national protests, was eventually charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers involved with the incident were also fired and face felony charges.last_img read more

Sammie beats par to be top seed at mid-amateur

first_img Cornwall’s Sammie Giles shot an impressive three-under par to lead the 32 qualifiers for the match play stages of the English women’s open mid-amateur championship at Bath Golf Club.English amateur champion Sarah-Jane Boyd – also from Cornwall – also beat par in the afternoon with a second round of one-under 71. It gave her a level par total for the day and she comfortably claimed the second qualifying place.Devon’s Jess Bradley, who reached the final of this event three years ago, was third.Other qualifiers include Somerset’s Amanda Mayne – the runner-up in the recent English senior women’s stroke play – and Gloucestershire’s Bethan Popel and Shelby Smart.Sammie (image © Leaderboard Photography) returned level par 72 in the morning round and declared during the lunch break: “There’s definitely a chance to go a few lower this afternoon.” Then, she proved herself right when she came in with a three-under 69.The 19-year-old from St Mellion has played at Bath on several previous occasions in their prestigious women’s scratch event, but she’s never managed to master the greens. Until today.“I’ve putted much better, I’ve struggled on the greens in the past because they’re really slopey, but I seem to have got their measure today,” she said. “I played really well, my short game was good and I didn’t hit it into trouble.”Sammie started with a birdie this afternoon and added more on the 10th, 15th and 18th – dropping just one shot, on the par four 16th where, uncharacteristically, she failed to get up and down.She’s now the top seed for the match play – but she refuses to be excited by the accolade. “I don’t think it really matters as long as you get through. You can qualify 32nd and still win, it’s completely open once you get through.”She added: “I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll go and get some food and a good night’s sleep and see how it goes!”Her opponent in tomorrow’s first round is Sophie Stone of Studley Wood in Oxfordshire, who qualified in 32nd place.Second seed Sarah-Jane Boyd will take on Emily Mae Hall of Nottinghamshire. “I’m looking forward to the matchplay, it’ll be a change from all the stroke play that we have. You can go for it a bit more,” said Sarah-Jane.She completed her 36 holes of qualifying with a feeling of frustration. “There was lots left in the tank, I had so many chances out there inside 10ft,” she said. However, she also played some super-accurate shots, knocking a couple of approaches to within a foot of the hole.  “I played steadily, hitting lots of fairways and greens,” she added. 3 Jul 2014 Sammie beats par to be top seed at mid-amateur last_img read more

Kent seek sixth seniors success at Hindhead

first_img The English Seniors County Championship will celebrate its tenth anniversary when the finals are played at Hindhead Golf Club in Surrey on 7th – 9th October.Over the previous nine years, Kent has been the dominant county, being present in every final but one and winning the title on five occasions. They are back again this year seeking a sixth success while Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire will be eager to stop them and gain their first victory.Apart from Kent, only two other counties, Cheshire and Hertfordshire, have lifted the title. Cheshire was the dominant county in the early years, winning three times of the first four championships before Kent took over. The champions from the Midlands and the South West have yet to win the title.The only year which didn’t feature Kent was in 2012 when Hertfordshire succeeded them as champions while their opponents then were the other three counties this time. Kent will field five of last year’s winning side at RAC Epsom in Ross Galgut, Chris Hurst, senior internationals Richard Partridge and Chris Reynolds and David Weighton.Partridge has been a senior cap for the past two years and represented GB&I in the inaugural Concession Cup against the USA in Florida earlier this year, while Reynolds made his England seniors debut in 2006. He won the English Seniors Championship in 2009 and has finished runner-up on three other occasions. He has also been runner-up in the British Seniors.Lancashire will be appearing in their fourth successive Senior County Finals and their fifth overall but the title has so far eluded them. The north region winners will field six of the side that finished third last year at The RAC Club in Terry Brown, Alan Gillespie, Mike Gray, Stewart King, Jeremy Morgan and Glyn Rees.King is an England senior international who finished third in last year’s English Seniors Championship, while Rees is a Welsh senior cap. The side also includes their senior county champion Tony Holt.Gloucestershire, making their second appearance in the finals, include six members of their 2012 team in Richard Boulding, Welsh senior international Bob Broad, Bill Higgins, Stuart Masson, David Potter, the county’s senior champion, and Richard Wood, father of European Tour professional Chris Wood.Nottinghamshire, in their third seniors final, include senior international Charles Banks, winner of the English Mid Amateur title three years in succession from 1995, who became a senior cap in 2011. He won the Welsh Open Seniors title this year and is a former winner of the Scottish Seniors.The Midland champions also field Derek McJannet, the county senior champion, and three members of their 2012 line-up in David Brown, Neil Martin and Stuart Pond.The Seniors Finals are contested on a round robin basis, each match consisting of three foursomes and six singles. In the draw for the first round of matches, Gloucestershire will play Lancashire and Kent face Nottinghamshire.TeamsGloucestershire: Richard Boulding (Henbury) Bob Broad (Minchinhampton) Nick Gore (Thornbury) Bill Higgins (Tewkesbury) Stuart Masson (Minchinhampton) David Potter (Naunton Downs) Andy Selway (Bristol & Clifton) Richard Wood (Long Ashton)Kent: Philip Bramall (Chart Hills) Ross Galgut (Littlestone) Bruce Hilsdon (Littlestone) Chris Hurst (Pedham Place) Dave Jessup (Wrotham Heath) Richard Partridge (Wildernesse) Chris Reynolds (Littlestone) David Weighton (Littlestone)Lancashire: Terry Brown (Stand) Ian Crowther (Royal Lytham & St Anne’s) Alan Gillespie (St Anne’s Old Links) Mike Gray (Lancaster) Tony Holt (Wilpshire) Stewart King (West Lancashire) Jeremy Morgan (Longridge) Glyn Rees (Fleetwood)Nottinghamshire: Charles Banks (Stanton-on-the-Wolds) David Brown (Sherwood Forest) Graeme MacDonald (Newark) Derek McJannet (Coxmoor) Alastair McLachlan (Notts) Neil Martin (Wollaton Park) Stuart Pond (Worksop) Chris Powell (Sherwood Forest)For more information about the competition visit the Championship website.Image of 1st green courtesy of Hindhead Golf Club. 1 Oct 2014 Kent seek sixth seniors success at Hindhead last_img read more

Ten Future CNAs to Earn Fully Funded Scholarship and Direct Pathway…

first_imgFacebook124Tweet0Pin0Submitted by South Puget Sound Community CollegeSouth Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) has partnered with Providence Health & Services to offer a fully funded one-month direct pathway to work for ten future nursing assistants.Providence Mother Joseph Care Center will select ten aspiring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) to receive a scholarship that will fully fund their education, supplies, and certification costs.  Successful students will have the opportunity to be hired by the care center upon graduation and certification.Each spot in the new CNA training and education program is worth over $1,100 in tuition, fees, books, supplies, and certification costs.  The funding is provided by the Providence St. Peter Foundation and classes and labs will run through SPSCC.To learn more about the scholarship and program, interested students should attend an open house information session on July 26, 2017.  The session will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in building 34, room 209, at SPSCC’s Olympia Campus.  Advance registration is suggested.last_img read more