Animals have always been a significant part of our planet, be it playing a role of man’s best friend or maintaining an ecological balance. But with changing scenarios and ever-evolving world, they became more crucial to dealing with some of the major scientific issues. Well, they didn’t don lab coats, but helped scientists to study and find solutions of the problems that were the tough row to hoe.
Don’t believe us? Well, then you should have a look at this list of the big and small creatures that aided scientists to learn about earthquakes, cancer, and much more:
We all agree that bullet trains are one of the greatest inventions by Japanese engineers and we were all amazed when these fast machines that can run 200-miles-an-hour were presented before us. But, inventors didn’t anticipate the boom sonic these trains create when they leave tunnels. It was Kingfisher that gave a cue to scientists to deal with this issue. These tiny birds have the ability to dive into the water without a splash, all thanks to their pointed beaks. Now with a newly added feature of a long nose, these fast running efficient engines are way quieter.
There was a widely-held belief that wild animals could predict earthquakes weeks before they actually hit a certain place, and this theory was confirmed by a study conducted in Peru. On October 28, 2011, when the 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the south of Lima, scientists noticed animals for over 23 days. There were five or less than that animal sightings each day contrary to the five to fifteen sightings previously. A week before the earthquake, there was no animal movement which concluded that these wild beings can be reliable earthquake forecasters and can be of great help along with other monitoring systems.
It is not possible for researchers to spot all the animals that exist in a dense forest. So, scientists discovered an idea and turned to leeches and bugs to learn about the probable number of animals. These parasites contain DNA which they receive from other creatures they feed on. By studying the leeches, they hope to evaluate the mammal diversity in Papua New Guinea. This will not require them to track down the animals themselves.
When Astronauts return from even a brief trip to space, they usually suffer from muscle and bone loss and require weeks to regain their strength. This weightlessness can have a significant and profound effect on the human body. To find a remedy to this health problem, scientists have now started to observe the Arctic ground squirrel closely. This furry rodent awakes from hibernation period that are months long but without any noticeable difference in their muscle or bone. Once scientists are able to discover how they do it, they can replicate the same in humans.
There are still hidden landmines that dot the landscape in Thailand, Mozambique, Cambodia, and various other countries that are left from decades of conflict. This further leads to slow economic growth and development. But now a four-legged solution has been found for this issue, all thanks to Apopo organization in Tanzania. Gambian pouched rats are trained by rats to sniff landmines which are then deactivated. The rats are lighter in weight as compared to humans, so they do not detonate the mine that too reliably and faster than an individual with a metal detector.
Sheep and goats
Martin Wikelski, a German scientist, tracked goats and sheep in Italy and came up with a conclusion that the livestock can predict volcanic eruptions approximately four to six hours before they actually hit the area. He noticed that these creatures would wake up, pace nervously around and then move to safe areas. So, the more vegetation a place had, the more chances it was missed by lava before.
This is no surprise that whales are the longest-living mammal in the world and therefore might have some anti-aging secrets hidden for us. According to researchers, the primary reason for them to live up to 211 years is whales’ lack of cancer. This is impressive and surprising as well in light of the fact that they have 2,000 times more cells than humans which must increase the risk of cancer. So, scientists are looking for the clue in their genomes that keeps them ticking.
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