How Moths Hover

How moths hover, described in reports in BBC News 18 April 2013 and Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) doi: 10.1242/jeb.087494. The study of insect flight often involves experiments using tethered insects in a flight arena. Scientists have noted that these tethered insects tend to make exaggerated movements of their abdomens. Jonathan Dyhr, a biologist at […]

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How Flying Fish Fly

How flying fish fly, described in e! Science News 9 Sept 2010, and Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) doi: 10.1242/jeb.050880 and ScienceShots, 10 Sept 2010. Flying fish have been observed to leap out of the water and glide for distances of up to 400m (1,300ft) at speeds of 70km/h. Haecheon Choi and Hyungmin Park, two […]

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How Butterflies Hear

How butterflies hear, according to articles in Journal of Experimental Biology , vol. 212, p3533, and ScienceDaily 22 Oct 2009. Insects have been found to have ears on just about any part of their body. These usually consist of a taut membrane that vibrates when exposed to sound and is connected to nerve cells. Scientists […]

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How Butterflies Drink

How butterflies drink described in ScienceNOW: ScienceShots. Butterflies feed using a long proboscis that looks like a straw to draw up many different fluids including water, nectar and juices in rotting fruit. However, fluid dynamics researchers have found that it actually works by capillary action, like a paper towel, rather than the pumping or sucking […]

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Heart Shape Carefully Arranged

Heart shape carefully arranged, as described in Nature, vol 427, p309, 22 January 2004. During embryonic development mammal and human hearts, with their four chambers and complex arrangement of vessels and valves, develop from a simple tube. In order to understand how this process happened, Sigolene Meilhac and colleagues labelled cells in the heart tube […]

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Giraffe Neck Blood Flow

Giraffe neck blood flow problem investigated, according to a report in ScienceNOW 16 June 2006 and Journal of Experimental Biology vol. 209, No. 13, 1 July 2006. Biologists have long speculated about how giraffes manage to keep the blood flow to their brains when their heads can be more than 2 meters (6 ft) above […]

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Darwin’s Vestigial Year

As a contribution to the 2009 Charles Darwin anniversary, the website Live Science has a series entitled “Top 10 Useless Limbs (and Other Vestigial Organs)” which it introduces as follows: “In Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and in his later works, he referred to several “vestiges” in human anatomy that were left […]

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Convertible Shark Teeth

Convertible shark teeth described in Science vol. 303, p950, 13 February 2004. Sharks have sharp pointed teeth that are good for spearing fish, squid and other soft bodied prey but not very good for crunching and grinding food encased in tough shells such as crabs and lobsters. Some sharks do eat crabs and other crustaceans […]

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Big Eyes Caused Neanderthal’s Demise

Big eyes caused Neanderthal’s demise, according to articles in ABC News in Science, BBC News and New Scientist 13 March 2013. Eiluned Pearce and Robin Dunbar of Oxford University have compared 13 Neanderthal skulls with 32 Homo sapiens skulls and found the Neanderthals had larger eye sockets, by an average of 6mm as measured from […]

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Backwards Backbone

Backwards backbone reported in BBC News 14 Jane 2013, ABC News in Science 15 January 2013 and Nature, vol. 494, 226 doi:10.1038/nature11825 14 January 2013. A new study using high energy x-rays of the spine of a fossil creature name Ichthyostega has revealed that previous reconstructions of the animal’s spine got it back to front. […]

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