A language to alert humans of the future

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Dr. Thomas A. Sebeok, of the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies at Indiana University, never imagined the request the Ohio Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation would make to him: to build a language system to warn people of 10000 years in the future of the places where potentially hazardous nuclear waste is buried. The … Read more

The fossil that didn’t want to be Neanderthal

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Today, the existence of our evolutionary companions, the Neanderthals, seems irrefutable to us. However, when their remains began to emerge, the scientific community categorically refused to recognize they were facing a new species. In 1856, some quarry workers found a set of bones inside the Feldhofer cave, located in Neander valley (where the name of … Read more

Kenneth Parks, the sleepwalking killer

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Parasomnias are still very mysterious. Sleepwalking or noctambulism is part of this set of sleep disorders, and although it is the best known, there are still many mysteries around it. A paradigm in this regard is that of sleepwalking killers, who on more than one occasion have put courts in check. It is still incomprehensible … Read more

Meet the Aye-aye

Daubentonia madagascariensis, also known as Aye-aye is a strepsirrhine endemic to Madagascar. Acording to the UICN Red List, it is endangered. They usually weigh between 2.5-2.7 kg and their life spectancy is about 24 years in captivity. SOME CURIOUS AND UNIQUE  MORPHOLOGICAL FEATURES They are the largest nocturnal primates. They have orange eyes surrounded by … Read more

An egg sack to take care of the offspring

The spider Agroeca brunnea makes a simple-looking egg sac and usually attaches it to an elevated site. But the curious thing is that it is bicameral, composed by the chamber of the eggs (1) and the chamber of molt (2). Eggs hatch in chamber 1 and newborn spiders pierce the cover plate, falling into chamber … Read more

The accidental origin of Heavy Metal

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There is no doubt that Heavy Metal has been one of the most indispensable artistic creations of humanity. Its enormous variability and richness also allows it to adapt to any type of audience. However, did you know that an accident caused the birth of this musical art? The protagonist of, to a certain extent, the … Read more

The orangutans’ “trick” to ensure their reproductive success

Orangutan females reach sexual maturity at 11-15 years. Males reach puberty at 7-9 years and thereafter they have 2 possibilities : 1.Reach adult size with all its features (such as lateral facial pads -green arrow-). 2.Stay in an adolescent state (development interrupted) in terms of morphology, but still are fertile and reproductively active. Possible meaning? … Read more

Excommunicated animals

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In an effort to ensure power and faithfulness to God, the Church has created all sorts of strategies. One of the best known is excommunication. Excommunication consists in the social and ecclesiastical exclusion of the condemned person from the sacraments. This punishment was imposed on people of all walks of life. But also to animals, … Read more

How does the ogre-faced spider hunt?

These spiders of the genus Deinopis are weavers, but the web they manufacture consists of a few threads attached to the front legs. When prey (e.g. a moth) approaches, the spider separates the legs, extends the spiral and rushes over it to catch it. They’re called “ogre-faced” because of the “face” of the prosoma. They … Read more

The crime solved by a water meter

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On the morning of November 22, 2015, a resident of Bentonville (Arkansas, USA), James A. Bates, called 911 to report that he found dead one of his friends, Victor Collins, the hot tub in his back patio. The night before, they both were with several other friends having a nice time. James and the rest … Read more

Orangutans, the mammals that take the longest to have a calf

The intergenesic interval (the time from one birth to a potential next pregnancy.) of orangutans is the largest of all primates and mammals: 6-8 years. During all this time the offspring are very dependent on the mother because they need a long learning period in order to survive on their own. For instance, they learn … Read more

The punished St. Valentine

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Behind February 14, Valentine’s Day, lies the biography of a character who had a rather tragic and nothing “valentinian” ending. St. Valentine would have been a priest from Rome who was beaten and beheaded in 270 A.D. His crime: secretly marrying soldiers with their partners in defiance of the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who … Read more

The extravagant story of Charles Darwin’s nose

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Did you know that Charles Darwin’s nose almost prevented him from making the trip aboard the HMS Beagle, which was decisive in elaborating his Theory of Evolution? And all because its captain, Robert FitzRoy, was a supporter of Physiognomy, a discipline that holds that facial features and characters are a reflection of the individual’s personality. … Read more

The hearing of snakes

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Snakes don’t have eardrums… HOW DO THEY HEAR THEN? What happens is that the lower jaw is connected to the columella (homologus organ to the mammalian stapes), a bone that connects to the oval membrane, which in turn connects to the inner ear. In this way, being in contact with the ground or water, the … Read more

An aquatic spider?

It is Argyroneta aquatica. This spider not only dive, but completes its entire life cycle underwater. How does it breathe? It produces an air bubble that envelops the opisthosoma (the “body” without the “head”). As the bubble consumes, the spider comes to the surface to add other bubbles and increase its supply of air. How … Read more

How do amphibians hear?

Amphibians have two ways to capture the vibrations of the medium and transform them into sound: In one hand, through their legs… What actually happens is that when the ground vibrates, vibrations are transmitted by the legs to the scapula of these animals, and  through the opercular muscle and opercular bone, reaching the oval membrane … Read more

Scorpions also shine

Scorpions emit fluorescence…when they are illuminated with ultraviolet light. It is supposed to be a kind of warning. The same happens with centipedes. In biology this phenomenon is called aposematism, that is, warning mechanisms to indicate that they are dangerous. There are several types of aposematism, especially in relation to color (intense colors such as … Read more

Syrphids. Camouflaged as wasps

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Surely, many of you have seen these animals flutter in the field… And surely many of you have turned away when you saw them nearby and shouted: “Watch out, a wasp!” Well, they’re actually flies… yes, harmless FLIES known as syrphid flies, flower flies or hoverflies. They imitate the coloration of wasps, which warns of … Read more

Cobwebs: Architecture in miniature

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There are up to 7 types of silk-producing glands (and each silk is different). But not all spiders have all those glands. Not all the spiders build cobwebs, but all of them have the ability to produce silk. The construction of cobwebs is genetically codified, it is not by learning. In addition, it is done … Read more