Category Archives: Muscles & Movement

Why do gecko tails hop around when they drop off?

Here is a great article from and shows tbe potential of video analysis in science. It’s a great topic for Indonesia, too!

Here’s a quote from researcher Anthony Russell of the University of Calgary, trying to explain the randomness of the tail movements:

“The tail is buying the animal that shed it some time to get away,” Russell said. If the tail simply moved rhythmically back and forth, predators would quickly recognize a pattern and realize they’d been duped. Unpredictable tail movements keep predators occupied longer, and in some cases, they may even allow the tail itself to escape.

“Leopard geckos store fat in their tail, and a lot of their resources are tied up in there,” Russell said. “The tail may move far enough away that it actually evades the predator, so that the owner can come back and eat its own tail to recoup some of the resources.”

If you want more, head on over to Wired for the full article.

Think about how this topic relates to Option E: Neurobiology and Behaviour.

How could this research lead to progress in treating spinal injuries?

And take care not to tread on a gecko on the way home…

Neurons and Synapses: linklist

Here’s a jazzy introduction from Discovery Channel, with a soundtrack inspired by Tubular Bells:

And now for the serious animations.

Neurons and Action Potentials:

Excellent Flash from  Children’s Hosital Boston

Good introduction from Harvard

Excellent comprehensive tutorial (Harvard Outreach)

Another good AP tutorial (can’t be saved) (Jordan Kerr University)

Generating Action Potential (MRothery, Watford Girls’ Grammar)

Comparing continuous and saltatory transmission (Matthews/Neurobiology)

Propagating an AP (McGraw Hill) (More from this source)

Synaptic Transmission:

Nice clear intro (McGraw Hill)

Another clear one (though missing the post-transmission ‘cleanup’) (BishopStopford)

Some Chemsketches of neurotransmitters (Harvey Project)

Neuromuscular Junction:

Neuromuscular junction step-through (Sinauer Associates)

Simple line-drawing animation (Harvey Project)

Muscle Contraction:

Nice animation of sliding filaments (Matthews/Neurobiology)

A good interactive diagram (Thomson/Brooks/Cole)

Neurotransmitters and Drugs:

Excellent, accessible overview from Jellinek, a Dutch drug education website

Good powerpoint from HHMI

Excellent overview of effects of drugs (Harvard)

Amphetamines, Cocaine, Nicotine as excitatory psychoactives (McGill ‘The Brain’)

Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Alcohol as inhibitory psychoactives (McGill ‘The Brain’)

Parkinson’s Disease:

Short Introduction (from UPenn/ADAM)

Simple interactive – effects of lesions on inhibitory or excitatory ganglia (San Diego State College of Science)

Sample Questions: have a go at these NeuroBioHL_Qs

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