Snake

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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Hummingbird

Hummingbirds Have Most Colours

A team of scientists at Yale University have carried out an extensive study of the wavelengths of light reflected by feathers of from 114 species of hummingbirds.  They then compared these with feathers of 111 other bird species, including penguins and parrots.  They found the range of colours in hummingbirds exceeded to range of colours […]

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No Blue Colour in Bluest Berries

The fruits of a shrub named Lantana strigocamara have a distinct blue colour with a metallic sheen.  Scientists at University of Colorado, Boulder, have studied these to find out where the blue colour comes from and found it is not from any blue pigment.  The berry-like fruits have a complex structure of lipid droplets in […]

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Trilobites

Trilobite Eyes Inspire Bifocal Lenses

Researchers from China and the USA have studied the eyes of a trilobite named Dalmanitina socialis.  These creatures had ‘bifocal’ eyes consisting of two lenses that bent light at different angles, enabling them to see both close up and far away objects at the same time. The researchers were “inspired by the optical structure of […]

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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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Socks

Keratin Socks It to Evolution

Keratin socks it to evolution, as our Tasmanian colleague Craig Hawkins exposes Australian sock producer Merino Threads, who proudly proclaims on its sock packaging that Keratin based merino wool is “Nature’s evolution tested renewable performance fibre”, that it will “outperform any synthetic fibre” and that “No synthetic fibre can match the complexity and performance of […]

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Macadamia Nuts

Why Are Nuts Hard to Crack?

Why are nuts hard to crack? This question is answered in reports in Science (AAAS) News, 10 August 2021, Royal Society Open Science 11 August 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210399 and Advanced Materials 20 October 2020, 10.1002/adma.202004519. Over the last few years Notburga Gierlinger, a biophysicist at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and colleagues […]

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Sea Sponge Fluid Dynamics Revealed by Supercomputer

Sea sponge fluid dynamics revealed by supercomputer, as reported in Nature News and Views 21 July 2021, and Nature 21 July 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03658-1. Researchers in Italy have used one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world to study the way sea water flows through and around the sea sponge Euplectella which grows on […]

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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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Hitchhiking Microbes Protect Plants and People

Hitchhiking microbes protect plants and people, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 22 March 2021, and The ISME Journal, 15 March 2021. Doi 10.1038/s41396-021-00952-8.  Soil dwelling bacteria known Streptomyces are known to colonise plant roots and protect plants from damage by other microbes by producing antibiotics.  Many of these antibiotics are also used in […]

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