Early Earth was a water world. Continents only formed after tectonic plates got into gear.
The fluttery flight of butterflies is unique. It is also optimal.
Terrestrial fleas descended from plant-sucking scorpionflies to dine on ascendant amniotes. Tiny aquatic crustaceans begat water fleas.
Pinyin, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine for lung congestion, knows when to hide itself. In doing so the miracle of adaptation is revealed.
Climate change befell and extinguished ancestors of humanity.
Insects are the only invertebrates that evolved flight. Their wings are a marvel of engineering skill.
In a planetary circuit, electricity courses throughout Earth’s atmosphere and its surface. By 1749 Benjamin Franklin concluded that the properties of lightning were similar to those found in machines. This is also true of organisms on Earth, right down to their cells.
Animal pupils are attuned to lifestyle.
Life runs on a universal workforce: the proteins which build and maintain cells. Despite vast diversity, regardless of life form, the jobs proteins do are […]
Plants are constantly battling herbivores to avoid being eaten. One way they do so is to disguise their scent.
Spittlebugs are the nymphs of froghoppers. The nymphs are better known, as gardeners consider them especial pests.
Organisms adapt to new habitats but remember where they came from.
Some widely successful species, sometimes called “invasive”, outcompete by being versatile, such as having a broad diet. In being euryhaline – able to withstand wide-ranging salinity, the round goby is that. But what got the goby its widespread presence is an inner strength.
Only mammals chew their food. Mammals originally had their ears on their jaws.
Many animals employ fluorescence: a light show via various biochemical means with a diversity of intentions.
An organism’s habitat is the range of environmental conditions which are tolerable. Whereas organisms which adapt to specific niches are specialists, generalists have more tolerance.
Many orb weaver spiders sport lemony coats: a seemingly odd color choice, except that yellow attracts lunch.
Many moths sport luxurious scale pelts which make them look like fuzzy butterflies. The fuzz evolved as acoustic camouflage.
The term animal comes from the Latin animalis, meaning “having breath.” But not all animals breathe.
The plantain, a small plant native to Europe, has successfully spread around the world. Its success owes to savvy in adapting to local conditions.
Neoteny is the retention of features seen during early development in related species.
Bats have wondrous immune systems which are perpetually primed to handle viruses without getting sick. This training ground makes viruses more virulent.
Preferences for foods or mates may be passed to offspring before they are born: the phenomenon of instinct known as precocious knowledge.
Sociality is an exercise in communication. Nature inclines organisms to certain universal principles of social interchange, as researchers discovered when listening to jackasses talking.
There have been many mass extinction events on Earth. The one currently underway is somewhat novel.