Do I Look Fat in Orange?: Orangutans Have Very Slow Metabolisms
Orangutans spend all day exercising, slowly swinging from tree to tree, munching on low-fat plants, but they're still kind of pudgy. It turns out that your average orang, for all its constant motion, burns fewer calories per day than a human couch potato.
Scientists figured this out by convincing captive orangutans to drink radio-labeled water, a technique that has been used to measure metabolism in humans for decades:
Since the orangutans possess a rudimentary understanding of spoken commands or requests, the researchers could ask them to drink water that had been modified to contain heavier isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen and then to urinate in cups for analysis.
“It’s that easy,” said Herman Pontzer, a professor of biological anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and lead author of the study of the energetics of orangutans that will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s easier than working with 3-year-olds.” [NYT]
The average 120-pound female orangutan burns just 1600 calories a day, despite continual exertion and an extremely muscular build. A moderately active woman burns several hundred more calories a day, despite having less muscle. The researchers say that orangs evolved an extra-thrifty metabolism to cope with an uncertain food supply.
[Photo credit: flickr user Paolo Camera, distributed under Creative Commons.]
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.
There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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