Cells sometimes need to squeeze through tight spaces. Such maneuvers might squash a cell’s precious nucleus, which holds vital DNA. So, nucleus bubble-wrap evolved in such cells.
Peoples around the world have their own languages and traditions. But their songs share universal patterns.
Some women have a fine sense of smell without the physiological means for olfaction.
Plants compete for sunlight and soil resources. But they also cooperate for the good of the community to which they belong.
The mind is a pattern processor. The mental ability to discriminate is based upon contrast. As such, a reference pattern affords finer acuity.
A native of northeast Africa, the vulturine guineafowl is the largest bird in its genus. Taxonomically, this bird is more dinosaur than guineafowl. But its sociality is post-modern.
Plants are sensitive to touch and respond according to what is touching them. The feel of a neighboring plant receives a distinct reaction from that of an herbivore or falling rain.
Bird eggs come in a dizzying array of colors and patterns; each an evolutionary study of adaptation to a specific habitat. There is nonetheless a global trend.
Fungi in mutualist relationships with plants craftily ply their trade.
Bacteria are among the earliest evolved life on Earth. They have survived the vicissitudes of the ages through sense of community.
Avant-garde chemists and geneticists facilely fiddle with Nature. Alas, like Gustav Mahler’s tongue-in-cheek opinion of fellow German composer Anton Bruckner’s symphonies, these reckless scientists are “half idiot, half God.”
Autotrophs have it relatively easy. They can produce their own food. For most organisms, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Foraging, hunting, and parasitism are an easier lifestyle than pathogens, which must first find a host and then successfully invade. Getting past host defenses and evading the immune system are just part of the difficulties when infection is your chosen lifestyle.
How does a protein function? How does a virus infect? How does a cell know what it’s supposed to do? How do seeds start their journey into vegetation? How does a tardigrade spring back to life after being a dried husk? How did life on Earth begin? The answer is selfsame.
It is extremely common to read textbooks or magazine articles which state that the brain is responsible for consciousness and cognition. This is nothing more than religious rubbish posing as science. Neurobiology is to psychology what astrology is to astronomy.
All vertebrates feel pain. Pain functions to alert an animal to potential damage and to reduce activity after trauma.
Almost all cells – whether prokaryote or eukaryote – have tails. Eukaryotes evolved from a tail-bearing prokaryote. Only seed-producing plants have cells without tails, though their genomes retain the knowledge.
The mind and body are entangled. Changes to the brain can influence mental function. But, more than anything, it is the power of the mind that controls health. That’s true even for birds.
Late spring 2013: from the remaining forests of the northeastern United States, cicadas are emerging to mate as the culmination of their 17-year life cycle. Their ways retain enigmas.
Many mammals, including dogs, rats and cats, sniff each other out when they meet. For rodents at least, sniffing intensity signals social status.
The germ theory of disease originated in 1546, when Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro (1476 – 1553) hypothesized epidemic diseases were caused by infectious seeds of some sort. Since that time, bacteria and viruses came to be microbial evil incarnate. Only in recent years have bacteria redeemed themselves a bit by discovery that they define digestion, regulate physiology, and that humans are mostly made up of them. Now it is viruses turn.
Marshes form a transition zone between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Marshes are found worldwide.
Inspired by famous parrot Alex, Aimée Morgana of Manhattan, New York, acquired a gray parrot: N’kisi. By the time he was 12 years old, N’Kisi had a vocabulary of 1,500 words. He usually spoke in sentences.
Taily weed plays a special role in the desert ecosystem it inhabits. The weed sometimes serves a nursing role in helping other plant species become established. For animals, the taily weed produces thousands of tiny berries year-round.
A mother’s willingness to sacrifice for the sake of her children is innate in many species besides humans. Female polar bears starve to nurse cubs. Dolphin mothers stop sleeping to care for newborns. Some spider moms make a meal of themselves for their hatchlings.
Sloths live an unhurried life, letting them act as lodging for select species. It is a modest achievement for a modest underachiever.