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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Unique Pressure Receptors

Special pressure receptors unique to crocodilians described in Nature, vol 417, p241, 16 May 2002. University of Maryland biologist Daphne Soares has studied the small pigmented dome shaped lumps on alligators’ faces and found they are highly sensitive receptors that enable the animals to detect tiny disturbances in the water surface as they lie semi-submerged. […]

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Sticking a Frog Foot on It

Sticking a frog foot on it, described in ABC News in Science, 12 October 2007. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur have developed a reusable adhesive tape inspired by frog feet. Conventional sticky tapes are not reusable because they crack when removed from one surface, and they collect dust and other particles and […]

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Snakes Recycle Poison

Snakes recycle poison according to reports in news@nature, New Scientist 29 January 2007, and New York Times and Science Frontline, 30 January 2007. Scientists studying the Japanese grass snake Rhabdophis tigrinus have discovered it can eat poisonous toads and store their poison in glands on the back of its neck. Female snakes also transferred poison […]

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Snakes Ate Dinosaurs

Snakes ate dinosaurs, according to articles in ScienceDaily, BBC News and PLoS Biology, 2 March 2010. An international team of scientists has found a fossil snake buried with several dinosaur eggs and a newly hatched baby dinosaur. The snake was about 3.5m (11 ft) and had a mouth large enough to swallow whole the half […]

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Snake Slithering Explained

Snake slithering explained in articles in ScienceNOW 8 June 2009 and BBC News 9 June 2009. Snakes can propel themselves forward by pushing against objects in their path such as rocks and twigs, but they can also move along smooth surfaces using a slithering movement, known scientifically as “lateral undulation” because it leaves an S-shaped […]

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Snake Leg Loss

Snake leg loss described in articles in ScienceShots and ScienceDaily 7 February 2011, ABC News in Science and BBC News, 8 Feb 2011, and Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology vol. 31 p2, January 2011. No living snakes have legs but three fossil snakes have been found with tiny back legs. A group of French and German […]

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Size Matters for Geckos and Flies

Size matters for geckos’ and flies’ glue pads, as described in New Scientist, 6 September 2003, p22. Geckos, flies and some spiders are able to walk upside down by using tiny flat pads on their feet called spatulae. The spatulae form temporary atomic bonds with what ever surface they are walking on. Biologists were puzzled […]

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Shark Teeth Didn’t Evolve

Shark teeth didn’t evolve, according to a report in New Scientist 18 February 2006, p17. Chuck Ciampaglio of Wright State University, Ohio has studied the teeth of marine predators, including sharks, reptiles and mammals “from the past 100 million years”. After measuring overall size, cross section, serrations and number of cusps he classified them into […]

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Sabre Tooth Vegetarian

Sabre tooth vegetarian found, as reported in ScienceShots and National Geographic News 24 March 2011, and Science vol. 331 p1603 25 Mar 2011. Scientists in Brazil have found the fossil of a creature that has elongated sharp canines like a sabre-toothed tiger, but has grinding teeth like a plant eater. According to palaeontologist Juan Carlos […]

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