Category: Science & Nature

Pistol-powered Shrimp

What sea creature has lopsided claws, is barely as long as your little finger and yet is among the noisiest animals under the sea? The pistol shrimp or snapping shrimp gives sperm and beluga whales stiff competition for the title of loudest marine creature. Continue reading

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Passage to Pluto

If Pluto’s discoverer had lived to see the planet downgraded to a ‘dwarf’, he could have taken consolation from the fact that he will be the first person not only to have seen it but to travel through its orbit. Continue reading

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Pi Degrees of Separation

Numbers games and mathematics make a logical combination. So it’s no surprise that the maths world has its own version of the six degrees of separation game. Like the Hollywood game (created around actor Kevin Bacon) this one features a mathematician known for his prolific output: Paul Erdős. Continue reading

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Where Have All the Pachyderms Gone?

Fair enough question: wild elephant populations in Africa and Asia have been under threat from poachers for many decades. But are elephants actually pachyderms? The answer is yes, and no. Continue reading

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The Myth about Camel Humps

Camels get a bad rap, ridiculed as horses designed by a committee, and with a reputation for a terrible temper. They’re almost never acknowledged as hardy survivors in some of the toughest terrain on the planet. And there’s much more to their desert survival than those ungainly humps on their backs. Continue reading

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What do an escaped panther and a vegetarian spider have in common?

Their name! The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling features a black panther (or a black-toned Indian leopard) called Bagheera, who offered protection and guidance to a human child named Mowgli. Bagheera had once lived in captivity before making his escape and returning to the jungle; he has a better understanding of humans than most of the jungle-dwelling animals that he and Mowgli encounter. Continue reading

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