What Can Greenland Sharks Teach Us about (a Long) Life?

Credit: Julius Nielsen and Holly Shiels The U.S. just had its birthday, which means it’s been 244 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What if I told you that in the Arctic Ocean, there are sharks swimming around today who were alive in 1776? And before you ask, yes, the very same … Continue reading What Can Greenland Sharks Teach Us about (a Long) Life?

Wild and Weird Ways Animals Keep Cool

Credit: iStock School is out, and temperatures are on the rise. It’s official: Summer has arrived. Staying cool is on everyone’s mind, but unlike people, most animals aren’t able to seek the comfort of air conditioning or even able to sweat! Here in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, horses, like humans, usually work up a … Continue reading Wild and Weird Ways Animals Keep Cool

Why Groundhogs Really Hibernate (It’s Not Just to Predict Six More Weeks of Winter)

On February 2, the country’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, was once again pulled out of hibernation to ask whether we can expect six more weeks of winter. His verdict: an early spring, though according to some reports, his predictions are not very reliable. One thing that is for sure, however, is that winter is … Continue reading Why Groundhogs Really Hibernate (It’s Not Just to Predict Six More Weeks of Winter)

Running on Empty: No Oxygen Needed!

Take a deep breath in. Now breathe out. Each time we breathe, oxygen enters the bloodstream to keep our organs alive and working. When oxygen can’t get to our body’s tissues, they begin to fail. This is true of all organs, but most of all the brain. In conditions like stroke and cardiac arrest—when the … Continue reading Running on Empty: No Oxygen Needed!

The Dog Days of Summer Running

  It’s August in Louisville, Ky., and my alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m. Time for my morning run with my four-legged running buddy, Julep. After I do some light stretching, we’re pounding the pavement by 6 a.m. to get a 5-mile run in. I choose to exercise before work because it’s (slightly) cooler compared … Continue reading The Dog Days of Summer Running

How Do Frogs Survive the Cold? By Freezing

They aren’t moving. They’re not responding to touch or light. Their hearts aren’t beating. They’re no longer breathing. Their skin is ice-cold and hard to the touch. By that description, you probably don’t think I’m describing living things. However, there are some animals that survive like this because of a process called freeze tolerance. Unlike … Continue reading How Do Frogs Survive the Cold? By Freezing

2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Another physiology-filled year on the I Spy Physiology blog is almost over. This year, we’ve explored dozens of topics, ranging from skin cancer, gut health and spinal cord injury to the mystery of how hibernating animals’ muscles remain strong. We’ve celebrated women in science and smiled at the thought of turkeys running on treadmills. Today, … Continue reading 2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Dog Gazing: Attachment between Hound and Human

While walking through Santiago, Chile, you are likely to come across at least one of the countless wandering dogs that live on the busy streets. Homeless dogs are a normal part of Santiago’s culture. They are quick to make friends with anyone who offers a welcoming hand or food. They are not quick, however, to … Continue reading Dog Gazing: Attachment between Hound and Human

What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

We all know the saying “use it or lose it.” Your muscles and nerves are no exception. When people are not active, whether it’s because of bed rest, spinal cord and nerve injury, or other reasons, two big problems arise. First, the muscles shrink by losing protein (a state called atrophy). Second, nerve cells have … Continue reading What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

Not Horsing Around: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding

Choosing your favorite part of a trip can be a difficult decision for travelers. I had countless unforgettable and unique experiences during a recent four-week trip to Chile. One excursion that stands above the rest was a weekend trip to San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile. I was studying with a group of students … Continue reading Not Horsing Around: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding