Caltech scientist discovers worms have their own language – SGVTribune.com

via Caltech scientist discovers worms have their own language – SGVTribune.com.

Humans looking for love might need to practice their pickup lines. But how’s a worm without vocal cords supposed to find a foxy date?

It turns out, all a worm’s got to do to get lucky is sweat a little.

They might lack the ability to use words, but worms have a language all their own – an assortment of 150 or chemical pheromones they secrete from their skin to express themselves.

“One chemical means `Hey there’s a lot of us around.’ Another would be `Hey I’m a female, come over,”‘ said Paul Sternberg, a Caltech researcher who has been studying the wriggly creatures.

Sternberg, a 25-year veteran of Caltech, said he began studying nematodes – a group of smallish roundworms – as a graduate student.

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So maybe — and I’m just guessing here —  “Hey, I’m a female, come over!” isn’t something the guy heard an awful lot back in the day.

Now, of course, he’s studly enough to pose with a five-foot stuffed worm —  blessed are the geeks, for they shall  inherit the earth.

“I’m really fascinated by the idea that there are worms eavesdropping on each other,” [Sternberg] said.

Um… ok, possibly not.

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Filed under Extra! Extra!, The Science of Language

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