Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Why You Are Still Alive – The Immune System Explained

July 10, 2014

Why are we alive when our bodies are constantly under attack from bacteria, viruses and more? As this video explains, it is thanks to our immune systems that we have an army of cells fighting for our cause.

Dinosaurs were neither warm nor cold blooded

June 17, 2014

Depending on the source of an organism’s body warmth, it may be classified as either an ectotherm or an endotherm. An ectotherm is an animal that warms itself primarily by obtaining heat from the environment, perhaps by sunning itself. Ectothermic animals include most fish, amphibians, and reptiles as well as most invertebrates. An endotherm is an animal that produces most of its own heat and maintains a constant body temperature even when environmental temperatures fluctuate. All birds and mammals are endotherms.

Paleontologists have struggled for years to determine whether dinosaurs were cold-blooded like today’s reptiles or warm-blooded like most modern mammals and birds.

It turns out the answer is neither. Scientists have found evidence for “mesothermy” in dinosaurs. The “mesothermy” found in dinosaurs likely allowed them to move quickly, given that they would not need to constantly eat in order to maintain their body temperature (as do endotherms). As well, the dinosaur’s mesothermic metabolic rate would have decreased the vulnerability of these species to extreme fluctuations in external temperature, allowing them to exert some control of body temperature via internal mechanisms.

Dinosaur Mesotherm

Learn more here, here or here.

Dead man’s fingers

May 14, 2014

Xylaria polymorpha, commonly known as dead man’s fingers, is a fungus. It is a common inhabitant of forest and woodland areas, usually growing from the bases of rotting or injured tree stumps and decaying wood.

Spooky ….

Dead man's fingers

Your genes are not your fate

May 12, 2014

Dr. Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase. And new findings show that a healthier lifestyle can turn off disease-provoking genes and turn on the good ones.

Biologists Create Cells With 6 DNA Letters, Instead of Just 4

May 10, 2014

One of the first things you learn in Biology 101 is that the genetic code consists of four letters: A, T, C, and G. Each represents a chemical building block of DNA, the molecule that encodes the information necessary to build life as we know it. But what if we didn’t have to settle for just four letters? Now, scientists have accomplished something once thought impossible: They’ve created cells with an expanded genetic alphabet that includes two more letters.

6 DNA Letters

Having more letters to work with potentially opens the door to a huge range of novel molecules. (A rough analogy: Just think how many crazy new words you could spell with 39 letters instead of the usual 26). With further refinements, synthetic cells might one day be used to create–or evolve–proteins that don’t exist in nature, as well as new sequences of DNA and RNA, any of which could be useful for research, diagnosing disease, or creating new therapies. But that’s still a ways off. Learn more here.

Blood Vessel in Eye Spells the Word “Love”

May 7, 2014

Bloodshot eyes appear red because the blood vessels in the surface of the white portion of the eye (sclera) become swollen. This may result from dry air, too much sun, dust, something in the eye, allergies, infection, or injury.

And while a million monkeys typing for a million years will not reproduce Shakespeare’s work, 7 billion humans on Earth with 14 billion eyeballs will eventually create an eyeball which is capable of spelling the word ‘love’ using small blood vessels called capillaries.

See:

Blood Vessel Spells Love

Centipede vs Snake

April 16, 2014

In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’,  ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, and ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, here is ‘Centipede vs Snake':

Centipede Eats Snake

It seems a female nose-horned viper snake tried to eat a centipede. It got the centipede down its throat …. but the centipede fought back!!!

The centipede began to eat its way out of the snake, eventually killing the snake! The centipede almost succeeded in attaining freedom, breaking free from the snake’s body, when the snake’s venom finally killed it. Learn more here.

How do we smell?

April 14, 2014

An adult human can distinguish up to 10,000 odors. You use your nose to figure out what to eat, what to buy and even when it’s time to take a shower. But how do the molecules in the air get translated into smells in your brain?

Slow Life is Amazing

April 2, 2014

“Slow” marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.

Snake vs Crocodile

March 4, 2014

In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’,  ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, and ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, here is Snake vs Crocodile:

snake-eats-crocodile-2

An enormous water python has devoured a metre-long fresh water crocodile following an epic duel!

The fight began in the water – the crocodile was trying to hold its head out of the water at one time, and the snake was constricting it. After the crocodile had died, the snake uncoiled itself, came around to the front, and started to eat the crocodile, face-first.

snake-eats-crocodile-1

Learn more here or here.


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