Calendar: London Zoo Lates 2012

Zoo Lates London Zoo 6-10pm Fridays, June-July 2012, adults only Fancy a wild night out? Then London Zoo Lates could be for you! Tickets are still available for the very popular London Zoo Lates which returns this summer, following great success last year. Every Friday night in June and July, London Zoo is opening its doors […]

Pooh Sticks

Just a short post today. I came across this video of the strangest animal behaviour I’ve ever witnessed. The bear, named Claude, can be seen twisting and spinning a large stick with more precision and agility than your average sergeant major. Such complex tool use is rarely seen in the animal kingdom naturally, such as […]

Bird Brainiacs

Fact of the Day #2 Pigeons are smarter than most mathematicians. Well, they are if you look at one specific mathematical conundrum called the Monty Hall Problem. The name  comes from the host of an American quiz show, who, at the end of each show, offered a contestant the chance to win a prize. The prize […]

Dolphin Wisdom to be Revealed

According to a friend, people think we’ll be able to talk with dolphins within 5 years. After questioning his drinking habits (and a quick Google), it turns out he was right. Research has shown that once we get the basics of the ‘click click’ language of dolphin’s down, we’ll be able to hold full conversations […]

Not-so-happy feet

If a human stopped feeding their child for 5 months it would soon be a matter of national news and public outcry. However, it seems King Penguins don’t mind if their children go hungry, in fact, they leave them for months on end. New research from the University of Strasbourg has shown that King Penguin […]

The Descent of Giraffe

The birth of a new life, for most of us, is a wonderful thing. For the newborn, it is the first glimpse of our bright, brave new world. What adventures have we set in store? What beauty will we see? A multitude of possibilities are ahead. For a baby giraffe, however, birth must be an […]

Science Behind the Photo #28

This is odd behaviour for a southern tamandua anteater (tamandua tetradactyla).  They’re usually found in trees, not wandering open grassland.  In fact, tamanduas are so badly adapted for living on the ground, they have to walk on the outside of their feet to stop their claws piercing their palms. What’s more, being nocturnal, they’re usually […]

Natural mathematicians nonplussed by negative numbers from an early age

Ai is 35 years old and lives with her son, Ayumu. They both work together in a computer lab in Kyoto, Japan. Ai and Ayumu caused a riot in 2008 when they proved they could win at any standard (albeit math based) computer game. Using their faster-than-average ability to remember numbers in sequence they would […]

The Dance of the Starlings

This amazing video by Mark Rigler demonstrates the beautiful complexity that exists throughout the natural world. Like a Bach fugue, patterns emerge and fade, interweave, and are exquisitely modified to form an endless variety of beautiful structures. The end result seems too complicated, too ordered, too apparently designed to have appeared by chance. But, like […]

Run Lassie – no not over there! Damn you Lassie!

Scientists can be utter bastards some of the time. Not content with letting us unwashed masses revel in our ignorance, they systematically poke and prod the world around us, looking for answers to questions best left unanswered. The latest casualty of this scientific tirade – my childhood. Specifically, the destruction of my faith in man’s […]

Buzz Off: Are Bees the Answer to the Elephant Wars?

“I studied Zoology.” “Oh right, the study of zoos.” “Not exactly.” Zoology is the study of ANIMALS and it’s one of those science disciplines that rarely gets the reaction that chemistry or physics have come to expect. The response is normally one of confusion – why would anyone want to study something that has no […]

Fish Go GaGa For Ginger Gene

  There may be plenty of fish in the sea but the medaka knows what it likes. A single gene mutation that causes the Japanese Killifish to be born a drab grey colour has proved to be a turn-off to members of the opposite sex. By over-expressing the ‘ginger gene’ in the medaka ‘super attractive’ bright […]

Your world’s a toxic, dark hole

Your home is your only place of sanctuary. Yet, lurking in the walls is a silent menace. It is a noxious, suffocating, toxic presence, creeping out of cracks and threatening to overwhelm you if you let your guard down. If you venture out to collect food, you face attack: your only option is to flee […]

Small change, large difference

Picking up a penny won’t make you an instant millionaire. But what if it was the penny that made up the exact price of a lottery ticket you were going to buy, and that ticket won you the lottery, and hence made you a millionaire? Small and singular changes can result in massive consequences. However, […]

Vampire Bats

“Again I woke in the night, and found Lucy sitting up in bed, still asleep, pointing to the window…between me and the moonlight flitted a great bat, coming and going in great, whirling circles.” (Dracula, p104). Vampire bats have been flitting around human imaginations for a while. Unused to thinking of ourselves as a food […]

Ant Wars

Warfare in the ant world is nothing new. From chemical weapons to suicide bombers these insects have done it all before. Poison is the attack method of choice for most ant species; those that can’t sting spray formic acid instead. Of the stinging ants, the Bullet ant is the most notorious. It has a sting […]

Science Behind the Photo #19

  There can be few species on Earth about which more myths exist than piranhas. Piranhas have an aggressive image as flesh-eaters, able to dilacerate a human body in seconds. While piranhas do occasionally attack humans, this is only usually when water levels are low and there has never been an official recorded death due […]

Science Behind the photo #17

  If you own cows, don’t feed them mouldy beet silage – it could be their last meal. Experts were called to a farm in Belgium recently to investigate why cattle were refusing their food and dying.  They found that mould on the cows’ feed contained a powerful neurotoxin. It’s the first observed link between ingestion […]