Tiny insects flying

How Featherwing Beetles Fly

Featherwing beetles are the world’s smallest beetles – less than 0.4mm long.  They are named featherwing because their wings consist of bristles rather than a solid sheet of tissue as in other flying insects.  The individual bristles have outgrowths giving them a brushlike appearance and their wings are folded under a pair of wing cases, […]

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Woodpecker

Woodpeckers Don’t Get Stuck

If you have ever banged a nail into wood and then tried to extract it you will know how hard it is to overcome the friction that holds the nail into the wood.  Woodpeckers are well known for banging their beaks into tree trunks and branches and extracting them at an incredibly rapid rate.  Scientists […]

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Giant Water Liliy

Giant Leaf Mechanics

A group of scientists from UK, USA and France have studied the structure of the leaves of the giant Amazonian water lily to see how the leaves can grow so large without becoming too massive for the plant to maintain.  The leaves are the largest floating leaves in the world and can grow up to […]

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Panda Eating

Panda Jaw Evolved for Bamboo

Panda jaw evolved for bamboo, according reports in ScienceDaily and University of Turku (UTU) Press Release 9 July 2021 and Scientific Reports, 9 July 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93808-2. When pandas eat bamboo stems they first use their premolar teeth to peel off the outer layer which contains harmful chemicals and abrasive crystals. Then they grind up […]

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Pterosaur at Jurassic Ark

A Pterosaur Neck is Like a Bicycle

A pterosaur neck is like a bicycle reports Cell Press via SciTech Daily and ScienceDaily 14 April 2021, and iScience 14 April 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102338. Azhdarchid pterosaurs were the largest flying animals that ever lived, with a wingspan of up to 10 metres (33ft) and “ridiculously long necks” that could be longer than a giraffe […]

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Neanderthal

Neanderthal Ears Tuned for Human Speech

Neanderthal ears tuned for human speech, according to articles ScienceDaily and SciTech Daily 1 March 2021, BBC Science Focus 2 March 2021, and Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1 March 2021 doi: 10.1038/s41559-021-01391-6. An international team of scientists have studied high resolution CT scans of Neanderthal and modern human skulls to reconstruct their ear structure, and […]

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Human Hand

Human Thumbs Are Two Million Years Old

Human thumbs are two million years old, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and SciTech Daily 28 January and Current Biology 28 January 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.041. Scientists at the University of Tübingen made computer models of thumb bones from “a variety of ancient hominins” along with those of modern humans and chimpanzees, and used […]

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Chameleon Rapid Fire Tongue

Oldest Rapid-Fire Tongue

Oldest rapid-fire tongue found, according to reports in. ScienceDaily 5 November 2020, BBC Science Focus and Science Perspectives 6 November 2020, and Science 6 November 2020, doi: 10.1126/science.abb6005. An international team of scientists have studied a small amphibian preserved in amber and were surprised to find it had an entoglossal bone – a bone found […]

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Bird Wing

How Bird Feathers Stick Together

How bird feathers stick together, and undo, discovered by scientists and described in Telegraph (UK) 16 January 2020 and Science 17 January2020, doi: 10.1126/science.aaz3358. As birds fly their wings morph into different shapes, with their wing feathers spreading out evenly to maintain a continuous solid surface.  Scientists noticed that the wing feathers of pigeons slide […]

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Koals in Tree

Koalas Climb Like Apes

Koalas climb like apes, according to Inside JEB 17 December 2019 and Journal of Experimental Biology 17 December 2019 doi: 10.1242/jeb.207506.  The typical picture of a koala is one of a semi-comatose animal sitting passively in the fork of a tree.  This is understandable as koalas sleep for up to 18 hours a day.  However, […]

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