Velvet Black Viper

Velvet black viper revealed in reports in Wired Science 16 May 2013, ABC News in Science 17 May 2013 and Nature Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep01846 16 May 2013. The West African Gaboon viper, Bitis rhinoceros, has a distinctive geometrical pattern of black, brown and white patches on its skin. The black patches are a particularly dense […]

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Synthetic Cilia

Synthetic cilia made, according to a report in New Scientist Tech, 13 April 2007. Cilia are microscopic hair-like structures that project from the surfaces of cells. Large numbers of them are found in the linings of airways where they are used to sweep the layer of fluid that lines the airways away from the lungs. […]

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Stone Tools Take Brains

Stone tools take brains, according to reports in PLoS ONE and e!Science News 3 November 2010, and ScienceDaily 4 November 2010. Stone tools come in two main types: razor sharp flakes of stone used for cutting and hand held axes used in defence and hunting as well as cutting. The sharp flakes are considered more […]

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Spring Loaded Plankton Inspire Engineers

Spring loaded plankton inspire engineers, according to a report in New Scientist, 17 December 2005, p12. Danielle France of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has studied the way a pond dwelling protozoan named Vorticella convallaria attaches itself to surfaces such as rocks and leaves by a stalk called a spasmoneme. If the cell is […]

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Spider Vision for Robots

Spider vision for robots is being developed at the California Institute of Technology by a group of engineers who are “turning to nature for help” in reducing the amount of computing power needed to analyse images formed in the micro-chip eyes of moving robots. According to a report in New Scientist, 31 March 2001, p20, […]

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Smart Seeds

Smart seeds described in ScienceNOW 12 June 2009 and Science Roundup 2 July 2009. David Lentink, a zoologist at Wageningen University, the Netherlands and colleagues have studied the way maple seeds are able to ‘fly’ long distances away from their parent tree. Seeds need to be able to move away from the parent tree so […]

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Skilful Stone Tools

Skilful stone tools described in an article in New Scientist, 9 April, 2005. French scientists from CNRS, a French national research organisation, examined over 2,000 stone fragments from a site named Lokalei 2C, west of Lake Tukana, Kenya and worked out the procedure involved in making them, from selecting the best raw material to striking […]

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Shrimp Eyes Make Better DVD Players

Shrimp eyes make better DVD players according to an article in ABC News in Science, 26 October 2009. Researchers studying the eyes of an Australian crustacean have found that its eyes process light in a more complex way than any man-made DVD or CD player. The shrimps’ eyes are able to convert linear polarised light […]

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Self-Cleaning Lotus Leaves

Self-cleaning lotus leaves inspire chemists, according to a report in Nature Science Update, 20 November 2002. Ten years ago University of Bonn botanist, Wilhelm Barthlott discovered that lotus leaves have very bumpy surfaces which cause water droplets to roll off them rather than slide, as they would do if they landed on a smooth surface. […]

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Self-Planting Seeds

Secrets of self-planting seeds revealed, as described in the Journal of Experimental Biology, doi: 10.1242/jeb.055673, published online 26 January 2011. A plant named Common Storksbill, a member of the geranium family with the scientific name Erodium cicutarium has a most efficient way of propagating itself. Its seeds are forcibly launched into the air, rather than […]

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