Pitcher Plants Thrive on Shrew Poo

Like all plants, pitcher plants need a source of nitrogen to grow well. Most plants get this from the soil, from nitrogen rich animal droppings which have been incorporated into the soil. Carnivorous plants can also obtain nitrogen from ‘prey’. Some species pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes can also capture animal droppings as their […]

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More Rainbows Coming with Climate Change

A group of researchers from various USA universities has used crowd sourced photos and computer models to predict the effects of climate change on the frequency of rainbows up to the year 2100. The researchers gathered thousands of photos of rainbows from publicly available photo sharing sites and matched the photos to rainfall, cloud cover […]

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Butterfly Wing Patterns from “Junk” DNA

A century ago biologists suggested that butterfly wing patterns were formed from variations in a basic ground plan that was somehow manipulated to produce the distinct patterns in different butterfly species. Scientists at Cornell University and The George Washington University have now carried out a study that “explains how DNA that sits between genes – […]

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Oldest Fossil Fish Heart Found in Australia. 

Scientists at Curtin University and Flinders University claim to have found “the heart of our evolution” in the fossil of a fish found in a rock formation in Kimberley region of Western Australia claimed to be 380 million years old.  This age puts it in the Devonian period of the evolutionary timetable, and the Editor’s […]

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Seaweed Eating Shark Surprise

The whale shark is the world’s biggest fish, growing up to 18 metres (59ft) long, but it is not a fierce predator.  It is a filter feeder that cruises the ocean scooping up krill and small fish.  Scientists at Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) studying the diet of whale sharks living around Ningaloo Reef […]

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Seahorse Dads Built for Birth

Seahorse and pipefish have an unusual method of reproduction – males carry developing babies in a brood pouch and give birth to live young.  Scientists at Sydney University have studied the process of how males gave birth.  They originally thought it would be like the female birth process in other vertebrates that give birth to […]

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Snake Lover Demands Reverse Evolution

Alan Pan, an engineer based in Los Angeles, USA, has designed and built a device that enables snakes to walk on four legs. The device consists of a long tube open at both ends that a snake can crawl into. Attached to this are four robotic legs, each fitted with servomotors. The walking pattern is […]

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Barrier Reef ‘Re-Cover Up’

A survey of the Great Barrier Reef by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has found the northern and central reef regions have the highest coral cover seen since the regular surveys began 36 years ago. The Great Barrier reef is not one single reef but a large series of reefs along the coast […]

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Fascinating Fertility Fringe for Orchid

A beautiful white orchid known as the white egret orchid Habenaria radiata has distinctive petals with long fringes on each side of the flower.  These were thought to simply act as visual signals to attract their main pollinators, two species of nocturnal hawkmoths.  Scientists in Japan have studied the interaction between moths and orchids and […]

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Botoxed Bats Billow in the Wind. 

Bat wings consists of a skin-covered fibrous membrane attached to the sides of their bodies and extending over their arms and elongated fingers.  The wings also contain long thin thread-like muscles embedded in the wing membrane.  Researchers at Brown University, USA, set out to see how these contribute to bat flight by getting bats to […]

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