NC State researchers do amazing work. To see if you’ve been paying attention, we decided to highlight some fun science stories from the past year in a quiz. Let us know how you did! (And if you really want to dig in, you can explore all the research stories we’ve written — there’s a lot to read.)
1). A study of online video game players found that gaming:
a) made some players ambidextrous;
b) caused players to gain weight;
c) expanded players’ social lives;
d) draws the attention of the Rylan Star League.
The answer is C. The research found that online social behavior isn’t replacing offline social behavior in the gaming community — and is actually expanding players’ social lives. Read about the research.
2). NC State researchers had a role in announcing the recently discovered “King Nose” this year. What was it?
a) a carved statue of a Viking;
b) a plant-eating dinosaur;
c) the prototype of a novelty toy;
d) a type of anteater.
The answer is B.Rhinorex condrupus (Rhinorex means “king nose”) was announced as a new species of hadrosaur earlier this year by paleontologists from NC State and Brigham Young University. Read about the research.
3). In what species do females who win fights release hormones that trigger dramatic physical changes in their bodies?
a) Indian jumping ants;
b) elephant shrews;
The answer is A. The ritualized fighting behavior of Indian jumping ants (Harpegnathos saltator) is linked to increases in dopamine levels that trigger dramatic physical changes in the ants without affecting their DNA. The battle winners morph into queens, called gamergates (it’s not about ethics in journalism). Read about the research.
4). Researchers developed stronger, tougher metal materials after drawing inspiration from what unlikely sources?
a) the Beatles;
b) Goliath beetles;
c) Roman military formations;
d) bones and bamboo.
The answer is D. Drawing inspiration from the structure of bones and bamboo, researchers found that by gradually changing the internal structure of metals they can make stronger, tougher materials that can be customized for a wide variety of applications — from body armor to automobile parts. Read about the research.
5). When dying animals are in great pain and there is no hope of survival, veterinarians can euthanize them to prevent further suffering. But this process can be challenging. This year, veterinary researchers devised a more humane way of euthanizing what creatures?
a) giant tortoises;
b) honey badgers;
The answer is C. Death for a beached whale is a horrible process that can involve days of suffering. Researchers devised a way to relieve suffering without poisoning the many creatures that may feed on the whale’s remains. Read about the research.
6). Stroking which species with a duck feather can speed up reproduction?
The answer is B. The finding comes from a study that examined whether artificial antennae — in this case, duck feathers — can mimic a cockroach antenna’s capacity to hasten reproduction in cockroach females. Understanding the factors involved in cockroach reproduction is important to help researchers find ways to limit roach infestations. Read about the research.
7). Despite growing evidence, most farmers do not believe in what?
a) climate change;
b) Katy Perry;
c) genetically modified crops;
d) the link between tobacco and cancer.
The answer is A. A survey in four states, led by NC State economist Roderick Rejesus, showed that farmers don’t readily accept the concept of climate change or the science behind it. They also had trouble believing crop yields would suffer due to climate change. Read about the research.
8). The biggest drain on a cheetah’s energy comes from what?
a) sprinting after prey;
b) fighting with hyenas and other predators;
c) walking from place to place;
d) keeping up with Tarzan.
The answer is C. A study from researchers in Europe, South Africa and at NC State suggests that the energy cheetahs spend looking for prey, rather than their high-speed hunting tactics or food stolen by other predators, may be to blame for their dwindling numbers. Read about the research.
9). Researchers devised an electronic collar that is the equivalent of an “invisible fence” for what large animals?
The answer is D. A research team developed a rugged collar to steer pachyderms away from African villages, where bull elephants in particular do considerable damage. Read about the research.
10). Researchers found that pretty much everyone has what on their faces?
a) very small arachnids;
b) a second (microscopic) nose;
c) sea monkeys;
d) trace amounts of bubonic plague.
The answer is A. A team of scientists found that, right now, in the general vicinity of your nose, there are at least two species of microscopic mites living in your pores. Read about the research.