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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Mole

Unique Mole Walking Is All Thumbs

Unique mole walking is all thumbs, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 29 October 2019 and Biology Letters 30 October 2019, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0503. Most four-legged land mammals walk with their limbs under their body, swinging their front legs back and forth below their shoulder joint.  A group of scientists have analysed high speed videos […]

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Bare Feet

Bare Feet Stay Sensitive

Bare feet stay sensitive, according to reports in Nature News and Views and Scientific American 26 June 2019 and Nature doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1345-6, published online 26 June 2019. People who habitually walk with bare feet, build up hard calluses on their soles that protect feet from skin damage and make walking on hard surfaces less painful. […]

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People Walking

Neanderthals had Human Spines

Neanderthals had human spines, according to ScienceDaily 25 February 2019 and PNAS 25 February 2019, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820745116. Researchers at the University of Zurich have used high resolution 3D scans to study an almost complete skeleton found in La Chapelle-aux-Saints in France in the early 20th century. Neanderthals have traditionally been shown has having a stooped […]

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Lobster in Reef

Lobster Skin Could Make Car Tyres

Lobster skin could make car tyres, according to Science (AAAS) News 19 February 2019 and Acta Biomaterialia 31 January 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.01.067. Lobsters have a hard exoskeleton over their backs, legs and sides, but they have a soft flexible membrane covering the undersides of their tails and around their joints that enables them to move […]

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Peacock Peahen

Good Vibrations for Peafowl

Good vibrations for peafowl described in Science (AAAS) News, and ScienceDaily 28 November and PLoS ONE 28 November 2018 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207247. When peacocks display their splendid iridescent tail feathers (called trains) to a peahen they also shake them – a behaviour known as train rattling. As well as making an audible rattling sound, this behaviour […]

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Dandelion Seeds

“Impossible” Dandelion Flight

“Impossible” dandelion flight described, in Nature News and ScienceDaily 17 October 2018, and Nature 17 October 2018, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0604-2. Anyone who has tried to keep dandelions from taking over their gardens and lawns knows how efficiently these plants spread their flying seeds.  Each dandelion seed is suspended under a parachute-like structure called a pappus, formed […]

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Hand Precision Grip

Neanderthals Had Precision Hands

Neanderthals had precision hands, according to Science (AAAS) News 26 September 2018 and Science Advances 26 September 2018, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat2369. Human hands are made for gripping and manipulating objects.  There are two basic ways of gripping objects depending on whether the task involves fine precise movements, such as writing, painting or sewing, or brute force, […]

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Dolphin

Why Don’t Whales Get the Bends?

Why don’t whales get the bends, ask scientists in articles in ScienceDaily 25 April 2018 and Proceedings of the Royal Society B 25 April 2018 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0482. Ever since decompression sickness was known about in human divers scientists have been intrigued as to why diving animals such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles seem to […]

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