Bee on a flower

Why do bees buzz?

Bees, like most insects, don’t have muscles directly connected to their wings. Instead, the flight muscles are attached to the roof wall of the thorax. When it is pulled down, the thorax suddenly pops inward, like the dent that appears when … Continued


How does a shark navigate?

Sharks have a special electric sense that enables them to home in on small electric signals generated by prey. But the special electroreceptors in their skin also appear to be important in the long trans-oceanic migrations made by some species. The receptors develop … Continued


Watch the hognose snake play dead to deceive predators

Hognose snakes are incredibly skilled at scaring off predators, but they also have another cunning trick to use as a back up. If their initial defence, which involves spreading out their neck to mimic a cobra snake and hissing and striking, doesn’t … Continued

Gecko found on rope in Antigua

Gecko-inspired gloves let you scale walls of glass

Being able to scale walls like Spider-Man has just gone from being comic-book fiction to an exciting reality. A newly developed synthetic adhesion system inspired by geckos has been created and tested, enabling a 70-kilogram (154-pound) human to scale a 3.6-metre (12-foot) pane … Continued


Woolly mammoths could be brought back from extinction

The discovery of a female mammoth carcass preserved in snow could allow biologists to bring the ancient creatures back from extinction. The mammoth, which scientists have nicknamed Buttercup, was found frozen in Siberia in May 2013, and carbon dating of her flesh has revealed that she … Continued


Cyborg cockroaches could help find survivors in disaster zones

Cockroaches are known for being hardy creatures, and now they could be put to work as assistants in dangerous disaster zones. Researchers at North Carolina State University have fitted cockroaches with electronic backpacks that could help them find survivors trapped in the rubble after an earthquake or building collapse. These cyborg … Continued


5 fascinating facts about clownfish

Clever disguise Clownfish are covered with a mucus similar to that of their anemone home, making them immune to its sting and tricking it into thinking the fish is part of itself.   Beneficial relationship The clownfish has a symbiotic … Continued


How the Quake-Catcher Network monitors earthquakes

As well as being destructive and deadly, earthquakes are also very unpredictable. However, new methods for providing early warning systems are being developed. The Quake-Catcher Network is a worldwide initiative that aims to develop the world’s largest strong-motion seismic network in order … Continued

Hazel Eye

What are the specks you see floating in the eye?

Floaters are the shadows cast by tiny clumps of a protein called collagen, which forms in the vitreous humour, a jelly-like substance inside the eyes. The vitreous is mostly made of water and transmits light from the lens near the … Continued


How do Venus Flytraps work?

Venus flytraps tend to grow in boggy soil that’s low in nutrients, hence they need to find another source of food to sustain them, namely insects that happen to land on their leaves. These leaves are about eight to 15cm long … Continued


Ancient fish reveal the origins of sexual intercourse

Sexual intercourse among vertebrates – that’s animals with backbones, such as humans – is a lot older than first thought. 35 million years older, to be exact. It was previously thought intercourse and internal fertilisation began in primitive fish known as placoderms that lived around … Continued

©Brian Regal - Reconstruction of Sthenurus stirlingi, a giant kangaroo from the Sthenurinae family

Giant kangaroos were too heavy to hop

A new study, published in the journal Plos One, has revealed that extinct kangaroos were up to three times larger than the size they are today and walked on two feet instead of hopping around. The Sthenurine family of kangaroos, which existed … Continued


Desert island survival

What should I remember if I get marooned on a remote island?


Artificial photosynthesis

A Find out Friday interview with Dr Michael (M.H.) Cheah and Prof. Fred (W.S.) Chow from the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University

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