Weekly News Bites: Chatty dolphins, restless babies, and why we become sleepy

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a team trying to decipher dolphins’ secret language, why babies move so much in the womb, and a small enzyme that can control our sleep.

A team from National University of Singapore has assembled their own acoustic devices to figure out what dolphins are talking about. The devices have a camera and multiple microphones to catch the wide range of sounds. Since dolphins have a variety of squeaks and clicks they seem to have a “secret language” and the team wants to try and decipher it.

Scientists at Nagoya University have identified neurons that fine-tune mammals’ body temperatures and keep them at 37°C. Exposing rats to hot temperatures activated EP3 neurons that tried to keep the animals’ temperatures consistent. This information could be used to artificially modify body temperature, helping people keep cool in hot environments for example.

The random movements that babies make in the womb may not be so random, found scientists from the University of Tokyo. The movements are thought to help the baby learn to control its body. The babies’ spontaneous movements can help coordination by performing a variety of movements rather than repetitive actions.

Soon the world will stay up late to welcome in the new year 2023. Some people may not last all night long which raises the question of why do we become sleepy? The University of Tsukuba might have found the answer in a new study that found a chain reaction in the brain that seemed to regulate sleep in mice. The scientists studied a type of enzyme that plays a key role in determining how long and deep we sleep.