Are you irresistible to mosquitos? We all know someone who gets covered in bites every time they venture outside. Why are some of us so much tastier than others? The deadliest animals Only female mosquitos bite: they need the protein that comes from a blood meal to make their eggs. But there are thousands of species of mosquito, and they have different ideas about who and what is tasty. Some prefer birds, some frogs, some […]
Dogs give the impression of understanding our every word. How well can dogs read our emotions, and can they really smell fear? Man – and woman’s – best friend Anyone who grew up with, or has a pet dog will agree: dogs have an amazing ability to make us feel understood. It’s in the way their eyes study us intently, often with a sympathetic tilt of the head. Dogs tend to stay close when we […]
Love spicy food? Find certain songs calming? You started developing preferences for flavours and sounds while you were still in the womb. And it’s not just us: many animals begin learning about the world around them before they’re even born. Listening from the inside Before you were born, you had a lot to listen to. There was the regular thumping of your mother’s heart, the blood whooshing through her body, and even the rumbling and […]
You’ve probably heard of echolocation. Whales, dolphins and bats all use it to find their way around when their eyes just aren’t up to the task. But did you know some blind humans have learned to do it too? Seeing with sound In the late 1700s, Italian scientist Lazzaro Spallanzani surgically blinded bats in an attempt to work out how they navigate when flying in the dark. He was amazed to discover blind bats could […]
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 […]
Before goji berries, chia seeds and spirulina, there was honey. The second sweetest thing found in nature, honey is the original superfood. Not only is it extremely tasty, honey has been used in medicine since ancient Egyptian times. What is it about honey that makes it so special? The magic of bee vomit The earliest written reference to honey hails from about 2000 BC: a Sumerian clay tablet refers to its use as a drug and […]
We’ve all heard about ‘clever’ animals... learning to use tools, communicate complex information and solve problems. But can animals count?
Can’t get enough of Pokémon Go? There’s no shortage of people glued to their screens desperate to catch a Snorlax or Vaporeon. At the same time, thousands of people are hooked on Wildlife Spotter: a National Science Week project that involves spotting real animals. Why is the search for these real and imaginary creatures so addictive? When you don’t know what you’re going to get Back in the 1950s, psychologist B. F. Skinner made a fascinating discovery. […]
Have you ever been to a pheromone party? The idea is to find your perfect partner based on smell, yep: body odour. All you need is a smelly t-shirt, a zip-lock bag and an open mind. We know pheromones play a huge role in the animal world, but scientists can’t agree if the same is true for us.
Hi I’m Jen and I’m not a big fan of spiders. Research shows I’m not alone: fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias in the world. But why are so many of us scared of spiders when hardly any spiders are actually dangerous? And what can we do about our arachnophobia?