They are not all the same! There are 4 giraffe species instead of 1

Scientists estimates there are 8.7 million living species worldwide, from which some 86% have yet to be fully described. Many of the unknown animal species are believed to be small invertebrates, like some spiders and insects. Otherwise, big mammals species – we might think – are very well described and studied… There would not be…

“Who’s a good boy?” Your dog knows when (and how) you say it

If you own a dog, you probably talk to it in an unique way, and you could swear that he or she understands almost every single word you say. A recent study shows that you’re not wrong at all! Dogs seem to understand both human’s words and intonation. Various species can express and also “guess”…

Sleep biology: not a simple lullaby

We all know the comfort feeling of taking a nap, or the relief of a good night of sleep after a long day of work. Mahatma Gandhi said: “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn”. In a less positive point of view,…

How and why do sunflowers follow the sun?

Sunflowers are known worldwide for their movements following the sun. These beautiful yellow flowers are the visible proof that plants are not static organisms, and their movements have been inspiring poets, musicians – and also scientists – throughout decades. In the morning, sunflowers face the east, awaiting for the rising sun and then follow its…

High temperatures can create “superfemales” lizards

In animals like turtles, lizards and other reptiles, individual sex is influenced, or even determined, by external variants, mainly temperature. As Earth is going through climate changes, population dynamics of these species might be subject to dramatic effects. Central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are large lizards found in Eastern Australia, whose sex is determined by…

It’s not just a pretty face! Ducklings might be capable of abstract thoughts

The capability of abstract thought is one of the characteristics that we, humans, want to believe it’s distinguishable in our species. Nevertheless, a recent research developed at Oxford University reveals that newborn ducklings can also be abstract thinkers. We’ve already known that some animals, such as parrots, apes, pigeons and even honey bees, were able…

Death is not the end of life, genetic research suggests

Is there life after death? This certainly is one of humanity’s oldest questions and has been the target of several religious, philosophic and scientific hypotheses and tales throughout time. Now, scientists have discovered that at least part of animal’s life machinery continues to work for up to four days after what we now consider as…

What is the link between health and day/night cycles?

All life on Earth evolved under light and dark cycles. In sunlight, we can see clearly, while at night, there is darkness with limited visible light. But more than vision, light cycles are important to regulate our whole body physiology, generating daily rhythms. The temporal programme found in organisms from all phyla is called “circadian…

Ants and birds help to spread out seeds by acting as gardeners

When you decide that you want to live in another place, you just pack and go. This may sound simple for animals, but it is not a feasible task for plants. For the large majority of plant species, individuals establish themselves early in lifetime (in the form of seeds) in definite sites. Their chance of…

Why have birds survived when dinosaurs went extinct?

Did you know that more than 90% of all species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct? Our planet has already passed through five big mass extinction events. After each of these events, almost all living organisms vanished at once. The organisms that survived were able to occupy and re-colonize the new environment, creating…

Breaking the rules: First eukaryote found without a normal “powerhouse”

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. The iconic statement of Forrest Gump’s movie can easily be used for Science. And you must be prepared for whatever you get, because it can change concepts you might think you know. For years, scientists believed that all eukaryotic cells contained…