How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans

By Isabelle Hall  Rotten meat forms a significant part of the diet of numerous scavengers, including vultures and hyenas. Vultures are obligate scavengers, surviving almost solely on carrion. Instances of human consumption of rotten meat have been recorded – some reportedly practise this as a method of achieving a euphoric high, possibly through contraction ofContinue reading “How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans”

The cracks in our skulls and what they can tell us about vertebrate evolution

By Heiloi Yip Out of all the anatomical features unique to vertebrate animals, the skull is arguably one of the most significant traits. As a skeletal structure that not only protects the brain, it also comprises the structure of the jaw and contains the sensory organs, making the skull a very valuable trait for anyContinue reading “The cracks in our skulls and what they can tell us about vertebrate evolution”

Why do mammals yawn?

By  Jemima Frame Warning: Reading this may cause excessive yawning Yawning is a behavioural trait that is common between all vertebrate mammals and is seen as one of our most primitive behaviours, with Charles Darwin (1838) noting that “seeing a dog & horse & man yawn, makes me feel how much all animals are builtContinue reading “Why do mammals yawn?”

How urbanisation shapes evolution

By Rachel Chan Around half the world’s population lives in an urban area: packed in cities that make up 0.5% of our planet’s surface (Ritchie & Roser, 2018; Schneider, Friedl & Potere, 2009). For the flora and fauna in urban areas, life is dramatically altered compared to that of their wild, non-urban counterparts. After all,Continue reading “How urbanisation shapes evolution”

A call for research on Myzobdella lugubris

By Justin Bauer The widespread North American leech Myzobdella lugubris is part of the Piscicolidae family. Due to its small size (1-2mm) and its marine habitat, it is not very well researched. While is maintains a commensal relationship with crustaceans it is a parasite to fish and more research must be conducted to fully assessContinue reading “A call for research on Myzobdella lugubris”

Demystifying Polar Gigantism: The Oxygen-Temperature Hypothesis

By Wang Jia Hua Gigantism is a natural phenomenon which has long fascinated biologists, but its underlying mechanisms remain contentious and elusive. Examples of gigantism include insular gigantism and abyssal gigantism, in which certain island dwelling or deep-sea dwelling species are considerably greater in size than their mainland or shallow-water counterparts, respectively. Indeed, gigantism isContinue reading “Demystifying Polar Gigantism: The Oxygen-Temperature Hypothesis”

Wait but most of our ancestors are left-handed?

By Haoyu Li For many years, scientists have always believed that right-handedness is more likely to be a phenomenon unique to humans (Balter, 2009). Humans’ preference for the right hand began millions of years ago: In a study published on Evolutionary Anthropology, Lozano et al (2017) analyzed the fossil of Homo habilis and found thatContinue reading “Wait but most of our ancestors are left-handed?”

Why do so many animals choose to live in social groups?

By Jemima Frame There are a huge number of animal species that choose to live in social groups, despite the negative consequences that this brings to the individuals, especially lower ranking ones. So why do so many animals choose to do this? While there are most definitely benefits that come with living in a group,Continue reading “Why do so many animals choose to live in social groups?”

How Shrimp deal with Microplastic – And the Threat it poses to Humanity

By Justin Bauer The use of durable plastic products has led to plastic items disintegrating into numerous small microplastics in the ocean. This poses a great threat to marine biota. Microplastic particles could damage digestive organs (Sonakowska, 2016) or accumulate and clog organs (Murray, 2011). Increased mortality rates due to microplastic ingestion have been observedContinue reading “How Shrimp deal with Microplastic – And the Threat it poses to Humanity”

Natal homing: the animals that always find their way back home

By Rachel Chan  Natal homing is a process whereby animals return to their birthplace to reproduce, despite dispersing long distances away in their adult lives (Lohmann, Putman & Catherine, 2008). The long journey can prove to be beneficial, as their natal region provides a suitable and safe breeding ground. This is common in marine animalsContinue reading “Natal homing: the animals that always find their way back home”