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Schwab's paper details the raft of physiological traits that woodpeckers have developed to avoid brain damage and bleeding or detached eyes when hammering their beaks into trees at up to 20 times a second, 12,000 times a day. poet and author Phyllis Mc Ginley at least, is what "makes nations great and marriages happy." It's also the backbone of the booty call, if research published in 2009 is anything to go by.In addition to a very broad but surprisingly squishy skull and sturdy jaw muscles, the woodpecker has a "relatively small" brain – which probably explains a lot. Appearing in , "The âbooty call': a compromise between men's and women's ideal mating strategies," was written by researchers from the department of psychology at New Mexico State University.To find out which would triumph between the dog- and cat-dwelling varieties, researchers from the Ecole Nationale VÃ©tÃ©rinaire de Toulouse, France meticulously recorded the leaping efforts of a collection of both species of flea.
And while it's known that exhalation of carbon dioxide by its victims acts as a highly compelling invitation to dinner, other smelly signals have been less well documented.
Published in , Africa's most prolific malaria-spreading mosquito, exhibited a keen partiality for biting human feet and ankles.
Hence, it's comforting to know that the world of academic research is a far more inclusive, eclectic and remarkably unusual place than one might first assume.
However left-field a particular subject might seem, there are almost certainly countless other research papers that wipe the floor with it in the weirdness stakes. To investigate the theory that estrus – the interval of amplified fertility and sexual awareness often referred to as "heat" in mammals – is no longer present in human females, researchers turned to an unlikely source: lap dancers.
However, Professor Schwitzgebel believes this is a good thing, as "the demand that ethicists live as moral models would create distortive pressures on the field." published "Impact of wet underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort in the cold." The authors were Martha Kold Bakkevig of SINTEF Unimed in Trondheim, Norway and Ruth Nielson at Kongens Lyngby's Technical University of Denmark.
Bakkevig and Nielson had investigated "the significance of wet underwear" by monitoring the skin and intestinal warmth, as well as weight loss, of eight adult male subjects wearing wet or dry underwear in controlled cold conditions.Published in 2007, the paper – "â Which feels heavier – a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?' A potential perceptual basis of a cognitive riddle" – discovered that participants rated the pound of lead as seeming weightier with an "above chance" frequency.The study analyzed the booty-calling behavior of 61 students from the University of Texas at Austin.What's more, it confirmed its central thesis that "the booty call may represent a compromise between the short-term sexual nature of men's ideal relationships and the long-term commitment ideally favored by women." Lead researcher Dr. Jonason, now working at the University of Western Sydney, shared follow-up papers in 20, for The mosquito is a formidable and destructive pest.Crucially, the research also showed that these mosquitoes can be attracted to Limburger cheese, a stinky fromage that shares many characteristics with the whiff of human feet, offering potential use as a synthetic bait for traps.Interestingly, Knols is one of the few people to have won an Ig Nobel (for entomology in 2006) and a Nobel Peace Prize (shared in 2005 as part of the International Atomic Energy Agency). To examine this, researchers from the department of psychology at Illinois State University enlisted the help of 23 blindfolded volunteers, recording their perceptions of the weight of either a pound of lead or a pound of feathers contained within boxes of precisely the same shape and size.What's more, the pet food industry has found that kitties themselves represent unreliable and expensive test subjects in the pursuit of more appealing cat food flavors.Professor Gary Pickering of the department of biological sciences at Brock University in Ontario, Canada detailed a better option in 2009: the human palate.Apart from the obvious "significant cooling effect of wet underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort," the research also discovered that the thickness of the underwear exerted a greater effect on these factors than the material used to make the garment. In much the same way that we'd presume dragons don't get sore throats, it would be a reasonable assumption that woodpeckers don't suffer from headaches – but assumptions are a poor substitute for the authoritative grip of scientific fact.Published in 2002 in the , "Cure for a headache" came courtesy of Ivan Schwab, an ophthalmologist at the University of California, Davis.