Just the Facts
A Song Is Just a Song?
Gibbons, a small species of ape who live in the southeastern Asian rainforest, rearrange the notes in their songs to convey complex messages. Their songs include predator warnings, as well as duets performed by the males and females, who mate for life. The gibbons’ use of syntax demonstrates a similarity to human language that had not previously been noted in nonhuman primates.
Cruel Monkey Experiments Halted
David Waitzman’s experiments on rhesus monkeys have been halted after U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors found multiple violations in his laboratory at the University of Connecticut Health Center. For 15 years, Waitzman has been inflicting brain damage on rhesus monkeys to study the effect on eye movements. Violations included failure to use nonanimal alternatives to painful or distressful procedures and failure to provide adequate water and veterinary care. One monkey was given unapproved injections in his brain, and some experimenters were cited for causing bruises around a monkey’s eye, face, and neck. Waitzman was reprimanded by the school.
Vegetarian Diets: A Smart Choice
Children with higher intelligence are more likely to follow a vegetarian diet later in life, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from the University of Southampton analyzed data on 8,170 participants from the 1970 British Cohort Study and concluded that a higher IQ at age 10 was associated with a 38 percent increased chance of being vegetarian at age 30. The study included 366 vegetarians, which was 4.5 percent of the total sample. These data may help explain why having a higher IQ in childhood or adolescence leads to a reduced risk of heart disease during adulthood.
Global Warming: Don’t Have a Cow, Man
Eating meat may be as bad for the earth as it is for our own health. According to a new report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the greenhouse gases produced by farmed animals may be doing more damage to the environment than the pollution from our cars. These animals produce 35 percent to 40 percent of all methane emissions (which have 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide), 65 percent of nitrous oxide (which is 320 times as warming as carbon dioxide), and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes to acid rain. According to the report, livestock take up 30 percent of the Earth’s entire land surface, and total meat production is projected to double from 2001 to 2050. Global meat production, which adds immensely to water pollution and the reduction of forests for livestock grazing, continues to grow and threaten the health of the planet.
Chinese Obesity, American-Style
China’s children are facing an obesity crisis, American-style. Due to the country’s economic boom over the past decade, more children have access to McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and other American fast-food restaurants in China’s cities and surrounding areas. Families can now afford more high-fat meat and dairy products, and the population is increasingly leading sedentary lifestyles because of access to cars and the Internet. About 8 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds in China’s cities are considered obese, according to Education Ministry data, and an additional 15 percent are overweight. Six-year-old boys in urban areas of China are 2.5 inches taller and 6.6 pounds heavier on average than their counterparts from 30 years ago.
A Chemical Addition to the Diet
A laboratory analysis found high levels of toxic chemicals in a popular brand of omega-3 fish oil supplements. OmegaPure was found to contain DDT, Dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All three chemicals have been deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency as “probable” carcinogens and have been banned in the United States. OmegaPure is manufactured by the largest producer of fish oil in
PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall