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

The pagan origin of the “Roscón de Reyes”

The well-known “roscón de Reyes” (ring of the kings) is not a contemporary food by a long shot. Its origin, moreover, is pagan. We have to go back to the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans celebrated festivities known as Saturnalia between 17 and 23 December of the Roman calendar in honour of the … Read more

Have the Three Kings always been three?

The Three Kings weren’t always three. In fact, the canonical Gospels never established their number. The first Christian theologians and exegetes discussed this aspect, and went so far as to establish from two to several dozen Magi. Three was the definitive number thanks to Origen of Alexandria (184 or 185-254), who established that if three … Read more

Balthazar, the polymorphic King

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Balthazar didn’t always have African features. In the sixth-century Byzantine mosaic presented here, from San Apolinar el Nuevo (Ravenna), Balthazar is white (the first character on the left). Like the other two Kings, he is dressed in a Phrygian cap and Persian vestments, thus indicating the origin of the Magi protagonists of the Epiphany. We … Read more