Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
From the pages of the World's Scientific Journals

Archaeology Astronomy Biology Geology Geophysics Mathematics Psychology Physics

About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

The publisher

Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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Search results for: foregut fermentation

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... . The hoatzin clambers around the jungle foliage using functional claws on its wings. This certainly sounds "primitive." Then, we have that awful smell! A hoatzin feeds its chick a regurgitated mush of partially digested leaves. But perhaps we have been wrong about the hoatzin. It's all just bad press. A. Grajal et al have just discovered that this South American bird utilizes foregut fermentation in digesting its diet of leaves. In fact, the hoatzin is the only bird that has evolved this useful capability. Cows, sloths, and a few other mammals and marsupials evolved foregut fermentation. It is hardly a primitive development! Aside from the smell of fermenting vegetable matter, the hoatzin is a rather remarkable animal - more advanced and well-adapted to its environment than previously ... . Grajal et al remark on all the advantages that foregut fermentation confer on the hoatzin and how remarkable it is that this digestive process can be accomplished in such a small volume (cows have huge stomachs). How did the hoatzin hit upon this mechanism before the mammals did? Why didn't other birds "adopt" it? Grajal et al speculate about this hoatzin advance: "Their highly specialized digestive strategy may have arisen from an ancestral nonobligate folivore because of an evolutionary trade-off between detoxification of plant chemical defenses and enhanced use of cell wall as a nutritional resource." (Grajal, Alejandro, et al; "Foregut Fermentation in the Hoatzin, a Neotropical Leaf-Eating Bird," Science, 245:1236, 1989.) Comment. The rather murky quotation ...
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