All posts filed under: Biology

The study of organisms: plants , animal and and other forms of life.

The long way home

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Biology / Ecology / Evolution / Zoology

Fish do it, so do reptiles and insects. Mammals – including humans – do it too. The way some birds do it will blow your mind. We’re talking migration. Why do some animals travel around the globe and how do they find their way? And what happens when the habitat they need along the way disappears? Just keep swimming It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to writing about animal migrations: there […]

Do early birds catch all the worms?

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Biology / Health / Myths / Psychology

We’ve all heard ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’. But what evidence did Benjamin Franklin have when he said it? Is it true the hours of sleep you get before, rather than after, midnight contribute more to your health and wellbeing? Nighty night, sleep tight Most parents I know prioritise getting their kids to bed early. We all know only too well how kids fare if they’re short […]

Blink and you won’t miss a thing

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Biology / Health / Myths / Psychology

You may not have noticed, but you spend about ten per cent of the time you’re awake with your eyes closed. I’m talking about the fact you blink your eyes every few seconds. Why do we blink so often and why don’t we notice the world plunge into darkness every time we do? Be clean, eyeball If you’re awake for 16 hours a day, you have your eyes closed for more than an hour and […]

Lacking total recall

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Biology / Health / Medicine / Myths / Psychology

What’s your earliest memory? Chances are you can’t remember anything before the age of three. Otherwise known as childhood amnesia, it affects us all but isn’t quite the stuff of Hollywood. In the movies, the plot usually revolves around someone being bopped on the head and suddenly having no idea who they are or what they are supposed to be doing. And more often than not, a second whack to the head and the person’s memories return, good as new. But is that an accurate depiction of amnesia?

Do you taste what I taste?

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Biology / Health / Myths / Zoology

Confession time: I adore chocolate. I’ll never forget a chocolate experience I had almost 20 years ago when I was given the opportunity to try some <em>Gymnema sylvestre</em>. It’s a herb that suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. And eating chocolate straight after the herb was rather distressing. The chocolate had virtually no taste and had the texture of wax, or maybe soap. I could feel it coating my tongue and teeth and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to eat it again. That’s the power of our taste buds. But not all animals can taste the same flavours we can.

Living to a ripe old age

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Biology / Botany / Evolution / Health / Zoology

When I was a kid I aspired to live to 100 so I could get my letter from the Queen. These days I have a rather different view of the monarchy and more insight into the pivotal role of good health in old age. If you want to talk old age, there are a plenty of other animals and plants with lifespans far more impressive than ours. The question is: why do some living things live so much longer than others?