“Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes. But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own.” Paul Hawken
The work of Dr Gina Rippon has veered into controversial territory. More controversial, in fact, than you might expect, given that her primary research question is simply “how do brains become different from each other?”
Shining a UV light on the tiny amphibian revealed striking fluorescent patches decorating its head and back. The patches cannot be seen by the naked human eye, but it is possible that they could be visible to other animals.
There are some theories in biology which are widely accepted as truth. The refinement of our genomes through natural selection, for example, or the “central dogma” which dictates the multi-step processing of DNA instructions to functional protein. An example from virology is the basic understanding of how a virus – simply a selection of genes encased in a capsule – replicates inside its host. Or so we thought.
Primitive and slightly creepy though they may appear, lampreys possess one nifty talent that has inspired great interest among scientists: the ability to regenerate their spinal cord.
It is a fair assumption that you have not come across the phrase “transient anus” before. At least, no obvious context comes to mind.
For such a fundamental and routine part of existence, sleep is something that we know relatively little about.
The danger of our climatic amnesia is that we may fail to recognise these changes as the symptoms of a far more sinister trend: our pot of water is slowly becoming uninhabitable.
Fruit flies, homing pigeons, bats, mole-rats and turtles are among the diverse creatures unified by an intriguing characteristic: the ability to detect the earth’s magnetic field. Now, for the first time, there is compelling evidence to suggest that humans might also unknowingly share this ability.
New research by entomologist Samuel Ramsey suggests that for five decades we may have fundamentally misunderstood one of the greatest threats to honeybees: the Varroa destructor.