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Science on the Cutting Edge

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Studs of the Animal World: An August conference presentation by a University of Central Florida researcher touted the frolicking, profligate mating of male South African squirrels, enhanced, the researcher hypothesized, by the fact that "they're hung." The typical proportional equivalency for human male genitals, she said, would be 13 inches. 

Indiana University researchers reported in September that male Australian dung beetles differ from U.S. dung beetles in that evolutionary diversion of nutrients has given the Australians small horns but large penises and the Americans the opposite. Thus, noted the researchers, big-horned American males tend to fight each other for females, while Australians rely more on sneakiness.

British engineer Ken Walters became disabled from an auto accident and was living on government assistance to persevere through pain and long-time depression when, in 2003, he suffered a stroke. After a lengthy recovery, Walters discovered, while doodling, that he seemed to have a newfound gift for art. After drawing up some demonstration software, he was hired by the giant Electronic Arts company and is flourishing, according to an August Daily Mail story. His doctors said the brain typically rewires itself for protection after injury and that previously untapped consciousness can emerge.

In September, scientists at Emory University's primate research center reported that chimps seem to remember other chimps through "whole body" integration. That is, seeing part of another chimp causes them to envision the entire body. The researchers came to this conclusion because chimps shown photos of an acquaintance-chimp's butt could, more often than random chance would predict, identify the face that went with it.

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