Listen: Andrea Townsend, Christopher Don Yada And Christopher Dodd discussed on 60-Second Science
"This is scientific. Americans sixty seconds science. I'm christopher dodd yada. Cholesterol affects one third of american adults but it's not just us studies have indicated they cholesterol is also on the rise in other animals and in all of these studies that idea was well they hypothesized that was probably due to interactions with people and eating our food but they didn't actually show that andrea townsend is an avian ecologist at hamilton college and upstate new york and and she found that crows did have higher cholesterol then rural crows but then she took the next logical step in her research she went to mcdonald's we'd pick up one hundred and twenty-five twenty five burgers at a time once one of them wanted to know what we needed all these burgers for and then i started to explain they just kind of waved me away halfway through so of course she needed all those cheeseburgers to feed the crows and to monitor their diet to determine if eating are fast food really does raise the birds cholesterol so the way you supplement your nestling is we'd go to their nest trees and we toss the cheeseburgers three a day predefine day under their trees and then the parents immediately swoop loop down pick up the burgers and bring them to the nestlings and as you might expect crows that dined on cheeseburgers did indeed have higher cholesterol than cros who did without but here's the surprising thing higher cholesterol didn't actually affect crowe's chances of survival over a three year period in one population birds with higher cholesterol were arguably googly in better condition than other crows meaning chubbier. Their results are in the journal. The condor crows can live more than fifteen years and townsend says maybe maybe a high cholesterol diet makes its mark later in life as humans and if you're still wondering why study this i would say this is an important question because there are are lots of other species that also live in urban areas and eat our food and some of them are endangered so it isn't important question how will our food affect the health of wild animals and as we urbanize more of the globe our dietary influence might have even wider effects as for townsend grows are known to be highly skilled it recognizing humans and she says the study made her a celebrity during the study especially when i was walking around the crews would follow me around campus. They often just just follow me around campus anyway they follow my car and then i was getting some notoriety on a broader scale with cros so i would go into getting gas and the crows on the gas station would be calling a special car. Yeah i think just for me and it seemed like a recognition call after after all a free lunch sure does seem like something to squawk about. Thanks for listening for scientific american sixty seconds science. I'm christopher don yada."