How Do Flamingos Stand on One Leg?

How do flamingos stand on one leg? Now we know, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News 23 May 2017, BBC News 24 May 2017, National Geographic 27 May 2017 and Biology Letters, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0948, 24 May 2017. Flamingos are large birds with narrow spindly legs, but they often stand quietly for long periods and […]

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Why Dinosaurs Ran on Two Legs

Why dinosaurs ran on two legs, and why most mammals didn’t, according to articles in ScienceDaily and Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2017; 420: 1 DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.02.032, published online 27 February 2017. Palaeontologists Scott Persons and Philip Currie of University of Alberta, Canada, have proposed a theory to explain why many dinosaurs became bipedal, i.e. standing […]

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Sauropod Head Neck

Getting to Grips with Dino Neck Bones

Getting to grips with dino neck bones reported in Science (AAAS) News 27 February 2017. Sauropods, such as the iconic Brontosaurus and Diplodocus, were enormous dinosaurs with extremely long necks. The weight of the neck and the forces generated by moving it put enormous strain on the vertebral bones, especially while the vertebrae were still […]

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Steel Sheets

Bone Inspired Steel

Bone inspired steel made, as described in Science (AAAS) News and New Scientist 9 March 2017 and Science doi: 10.1126/science.aal2766, 10 March 2017. Metal fatigue is the weakening of a metal structure when it is repeatedly subjected to forces (“load cycling”), leading to the formation of microscopic cracks, as happens where aeroplane wings move up […]

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Laetoli Footprints

More Laetoli Footprints

More Laetoli footprints found, according to reports in BBC News, and Nature News 14 December 2017, and eLife 5:e19568. doi: 10.7554/eLife.19568, 14 December 2016. In 1976 Mary Leakey and colleagues found fossilised footprints in a layer of volcanic tuff (solidified volcanic ash) in Tanzania dated as 3.66 million years old. In spite of their human-like […]

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Lucy Climbed Trees and Fell Out

Lucy climbed trees and fell out, according to reports in ScienceDaily and New Scientistst 30 November, and PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166095, and ScienceDaily and Science (AAAS) 19 August 2016 News and Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature19332. Scientists at University of Texas (UT) Austin have scanned the bones of the original Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) specimen using an […]

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Bird Wing

Dinosaur Age Bird Keratin

‘Dinosaur age’ bird keratin found according to reports in ScienceDaily 21 November 2016, ABC News 24 November 2016 and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1617168113, published online 21 November 2016. In recent years scientists studying the microscopic structure of fossil birds and dinosaurs, have found small structures that look like melanosomes, granules containing the pigment melanin. There has […]

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Gannet Flying

Why Diving Birds Don’t Break Their Necks

Why diving birds don’t break their necks revealed in reports in ScienceDaily 5 October 2016 and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1608628113, published online 4 October 2016. A group of scientists at Virginia Tech have carried out a study of the biomechanics involved to find out why diving birds don’t break their slender, apparently fragile necks. Some diving […]

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Why Mantises Don’t Crash

Why mantises don’t crash explained in reports in Science Shots and Science Daily 5 March 2014, and Current Biology doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.054. Juvenile Praying Mantises do not have wings, so they can’t fly, but they can jump to reach targets like overhanging branches. However, small creatures such as insects can easily spin out of control when […]

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Arm Swinging Not Vestigial

Arm swinging not vestigial, according to reports in The Independent, Royal Society News and Reuters, 29 July 2009. Swinging your arms when you walk has been considered an evolutionary leftover from when people used to be four legged creatures. Researchers from the University of Michigan, USA and Delft University of Technology, Netherlands have carried out […]

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