Smelling Roses

Pleasant Smells are Multi Cultural

An international team of scientists asked people from 10 widely different cultures to rate how pleasant they found 10 distinctive scents.  The research was carried out in diverse communities across the world, including hunter-gatherer societies, agricultural societies and urban societies. The scents were presented in the form of identical odour dispensers shaped like pens, so […]

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Octopuses Feel the Light

Octopuses feel the light, according to reports in Inside JEB and Live Science 5 March 2021 and Journal of Experimental Biology 5 March 2021, doi:10.1242/jeb.237529.  Whilst studying the response of octopus skin to bright lights scientists at Ruppin Academic Center, Israel, researchers noticed that the animals moved their arms away from the light in a […]

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Cool Beaks For Puffins

Cool beaks for puffins described in articles in Inside JEB 8 November 2019, PhysOrg 27 November 2019 and Journal of Experimental Biology 8 November 2019 doi: 10.1242/jeb.212563.  Birds generate a lot of heat during flying and have to be able to dissipate some of this or they will overheat their bodies.  As they are covered […]

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“Bird Brain” Revision Needed

“Bird brain” revision needed according to an article in Outside JEB 9 May 2018 doi:10.1242/jeb.170001 and Current Biology doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.036, 5 March 2018. Birds have small brains without a cerebral cortex, the folded multilayered outer region of mammal brains that supposedly makes mammals smarter than other creatures.  Thus, the epithet “bird-brain” is used to insult someone’s […]

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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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Bonnethead Shark

Grass Eating Shark

Grass eating shark found, according to Science (AAAS) News 7 January 2018 and Sci-News 9 January 2018. The bonnethead shark is a small coastal dwelling shark that forages for food amongst the seagrass meadows along the coasts of southern USA and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2007 environmental scientists examined the stomach contents of bonnethead […]

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Velvet Black Viper

Velvet black viper revealed in reports in Wired Science 16 May 2013, ABC News in Science 17 May 2013 and Nature Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep01846 16 May 2013. The West African Gaboon viper, Bitis rhinoceros, has a distinctive geometrical pattern of black, brown and white patches on its skin. The black patches are a particularly dense […]

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Unique Pressure Receptors

Special pressure receptors unique to crocodilians described in Nature, vol 417, p241, 16 May 2002. University of Maryland biologist Daphne Soares has studied the small pigmented dome shaped lumps on alligators’ faces and found they are highly sensitive receptors that enable the animals to detect tiny disturbances in the water surface as they lie semi-submerged. […]

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Starfish Keep Their Cool

Starfish keep their cool according to an article in American Naturalist, vol. 174, pp. 890-897, 14 Oct 2009 and BBC News 28 Oct 2009. Starfish living in the intertidal zones can easily become overheated if they are left high and dry and exposed to the sun during a low tide because they cannot move until […]

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Speech Timing Revealed

Speech timing revealed, as reported in Nature News 20 February 2013 and ABC News in Science 21 February 2013. Edward Chang and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco have carried out a study of brain activity during speech. They were able to record directly from the surface of the brains of patients who […]

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