Have you ever thought about how nutritious your bodily fluids are? Full of goodies like salts and proteins…Wild bees know all about it, feeding human sweat and tears as a source of nutrition.
Urban sweat bees, for example, use humans like a salt lick. “These bees prefer sweaty people—over most animals—because the human diet usually is so salty that their perspiration is saturated with the essential nutrient,” according to a recent feature in the Wall Street Journal on sweat bees. A new species (Lasioglossum gotham) of these bees was recently identified from a specimen netted in the heart of Brooklyn. Although they are as a group fairly common, they’re tiny and they don’t sting, which is why you probably haven’t heard New Yorkers complaining about them. “[M]ost people never notice when the tiny bees alight on a bare arm or leg,” says the WSJ.
From Ed Yong:
In an Israeli laboratory, Shani Gelstein is harvesting a woman’s tears. The volunteer is watching the end of the boxing film The Champ. As she weeps, she holds a vial under her eyes to capture the fresh drops. This might seem ghoulish, but Gelstein has used the collected tears to understand why people cry during emotional times. She thinks they’re a chemical signal.
Gelstein used several different techniques to show that the smell of a woman’s emotional tears could reduce a man’s sexual arousal. The men never actually saw anyone cry, and they didn’t know about what they were smelling. Even so, their sniffs reduced their testosterone levels and they lowered the activity in parts of their brain involved in sexual desire.
The small study had men smell both women’s tears and saline that had dripped down women’s cheeks, and measured the men’s reactions. The fascinating (if preliminary) results suggest new possible reasons why we cry at emotional times–read the rest of the story at Not Exactly Rocket Science.
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Image: Science / AAAS