It’s starting to get colder in San Francisco, and the year-end holidays are soon to be upon us. This has made all of us on the PLOS ONE team excited to spend some time with our loved ones and general merriment. So for a little festive fun, here are 12 PLOS ONE articles that scientifically remind us of the verses in the classic holiday tune “12 Days of Christmas.”
1. Partridge in a Pear Tree
It’s not all pear trees for these partridges. In “Transcriptomic Characterization of Innate and Acquired Immune Responses in Red-Legged Partridges (Alectoris rufa): A Resource for Immunoecology and Robustness Selection,” the authors explored the possible role of red-legged partridge immunity when wild populations restocked with partridges raised in captivity are exposed to disease and stress.
2. Turtle Doves
If you’ve ever wondered where the European turtle dove migrates throughout the year, the authors of “Migration Routes and Staging Areas of Trans-Saharan Turtle Doves Appraised from Light-Level Geolocators” studied wild turtle doves’ routes and winter resting spots for a year using lightweight GPS.
3. French Hens
There is the possibility that we may pick up our parents’ idiosyncrasies, but the authors of “Parents and Early Life Environment Affect Behavioral Development of Laying Hen Chickens,” wanted to see if the same could be true for chickens. The researchers studied whether parents and environment could affect anxiety and severe feather pecking in their young.
4. Calling Birds
Scientists observed how New Caledonian crows interacted in order to potentially as a team in “New Caledonian Crows Rapidly Solve a Collaborative Problem without Cooperative Cognition.” They found that wild-caught New Caledonian crows would pass a stone from one to the other and then drop the stone into a hole that collapsed a baited platform. This showed that they could instinctively solve complicated tasks together, but the researchers did not discover any evidence that their problem-solving skills were based on comprehension of cooperation.
5. Golden Rings
Every two years, top athletes from around the world compete in the Olympic Games in search of the gold medal. In “The Road to Gold: Training and Peaking Characteristics in the Year Prior to a Gold Medal Endurance Performance,” scientists researched whether these athletes taper their workouts before their competitions and how this affects their performance. The researchers found that gold medalists did not taper their workouts prior to competitions, as is suggested as the best practice.
6. Geese a-Laying
More and more wild Greylag geese may be a-laying their heads in more northern areas in a possible reaction to climate change, according to “Latitudinal-Related Variation in Wintering Population Trends of Greylag Geese (Anser Anser) along the Atlantic Flyway: A Response to Climate Change?”
7. Swans a-Swimming
The authors of “Molecular Detection of Hematozoa Infections in Tundra Swans Relative to Migration Patterns and Ecological Conditions at Breeding Grounds,” looked into how blood parasites can spread between wild tundra swans and whether where they swim when migrating has any effect. The infection of blood parasites was considerably different in the populations of tundra swans in Alaska with the highest prevalence in swans whose breeding grounds were warmer and less windy, according to the researchers.
8. Maids a-Milking
Can you detect biomarkers in cow’s milk with an ordinary smartphone? In “Calling Biomarkers in Milk Using a Protein Microarray on Your Smartphone” the authors explore the possibility of doing this with the potential application of on-site food safety, health monitoring, and environmental tests.
9. Ladies Dancing
In “Psychophysiological Responses to Salsa Dance,” researchers studied whether dance provides enough exertion to promote fitness and overall health benefits in the same way that traditional forms of exercise can provide. From their experiments, the authors found that salsa dance likely does provide enough energy expenditure to deliver overall health and fitness benefits, but also that people find it fun, which may mean that people will continue to practice dance.
10. Lords a-Leaping
Our bodies anticipate the impact back onto the ground after we jump, but the authors of “Motor Control of Landing from a Jump in Simulated Hypergravity” wanted to see how bodies would react when gravity was increased. Through their experiments, the authors found that while the preparation for jumping is modified in hypergravity, the remainder of the jump remains the same.
11. Pipers Piping
Researchers studied ant nest beetle piping to see whether the sounds they may help them in their predation of ants in “The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle’s Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours.” The experiments performed by the authors suggest that the beetles mimic the queen ant and use this skill to trick the workers into being treated like the queen. Visit SoundCloud to listen to these parasitic beetles’ melodies.
12. Drummers Drumming
Tapping to the beat of your own drum, may be an un-related rhythmic skill than remembering rhythms, according to the authors of Evidence for Multiple Rhythmic Skills. The researchers explored how rhythmic skills relate to each other and what implications that could have for processing language.