CLOSE

How To: Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

YOU WILL NEED
Friends"¦with benefits
The ability to make new friends when your old ones disappear

Step 1: Pick the Right Crowd
The tiger keelback snake is native to Japan and several other nearby islands, where it's known for defending itself by spraying a toxin called bufadienolides into the eyes of its attackers. The toxins prevent proper heart function and give the snake a great getaway plan, but for years, scientists suspected that the tiger keelback wasn't capable of producing bufadienolides inside its own body. The chemical mystery was solved in 2007 when scientists started to take notice of the snakes' roommates. According to a January 2007 article in Cosmos magazine, almost all the islands where tiger keelbacks live are also home to several species of bufadienolides-secreting toads.

Step 2: Invite Your New Friends To Dinner
That discovery, of course, still left scientists with the question of how the toxins were getting from the toads' skin into the snakes. Assuming that there probably wasn't a bunch of teenage, hippy keelbacks slithering around licking the toads, researchers figured the toxin was getting transferred when the snakes ate their amphibious neighbors. It's a plausible solution, but an odd one. There are plenty of other animals that reuse the venom of another species, but those are almost exclusively invertebrates. It's not very often that you find backbone-blessed animals engaging in this sort of thing. But, researchers studied the spit of snakes from toad-ed and toad-free islands and found that, amazingly, they were right. In environments where no toads could be found, the snakes completely lacked the bufadienolides toxin.

Poisonous toad: It's what's for dinner.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
iStock
iStock

Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Universal Pictures
Son of Frankenstein: Hitting the Horror Trifecta
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Son of Frankenstein: Hitting the Horror Trifecta. A perfect ending to the first great movie trilogy.

*

It Wasn't Easy Being Green for These Mysterious Children in 12th-Century England. The village of Woolpit has never been the same since.

*

The Strange History of One of the Internet's First Viral Videos. If you had an email address in the late 1990s, you probably received a video file titled “badday.mpg” at least once.

*

The Contentious Burial of Bo-Bo, the Blenheim Spaniel of Civil War Hero General Daniel E. Sickles. His relatives didn't want the beloved dog interred in the family plot.

*

Here's Why Your Body Stores More Fat in Certain Places. Hormones do it, but in an insanely complicated manner.

*

Butterfly Breeder Romy McCloskey Saw One Emerge from its Chrysalis with a Torn Wing. So she got her tools together and performed a wing transplant.

*

How to Get Your Procrastination Under Control. It's a matter of valuing the things you need to do.

*

19 Times That Actors Have Been Injured On Set. Some of the scenes were then included in the finished film.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios