The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis): the Godzilla of lizards

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DIET AND LIFESTYLE The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), a truly imposing animal, is the largest saurian in existence today. Adult males can exceed 3.5 meters and their weight can exceed 90 kg. At birth they measure 45 cm and are exclusively arboreal. They feed mainly on carrion, but also hunt and ambush their prey, mainly … Read more

Tear drinkers. The mystery of lachryphagy

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When we come across horses or cows, we often see them trying to get rid of the annoying insects that flutter around their eyes. What are they doing there? Are they looking for something? The next time you witness this phenomenon, remember this term: “lachryphagy”, because you are probably witnessing these insects trying to feed … Read more

Human echolocation: the real BATMEN

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Who hasn’t ever imagined enjoying the “superpower” of bats? These animals (as well as dolphins, various species of whales and some birds) emit sounds in the form of clicks that bounce off surfaces and bodies in the environment. The returned echo is picked up by specialized organs and processed by the brain. In this way, … Read more

The Carrington event: the great solar deflagration

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It was the end of August 1859. Those who looked at the sky from certain latitudes saw strange lights, unusual northern and southern auroras that should not be there, while, at the same time, the Sun was progressively filling with “small” moles. The inhabitants of Cuba or Honolulu could see the spectral lights of the … Read more

West Ford Project: Wrapping the Earth with needles

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The neurotic fear during the Cold War against enemy attack led the world powers to develop all sorts of extravagant projects to defend themselves and outdo each other. Hypocritically cloaked under the umbrella of scientific research, these preventive measures actually responded to a military emergency. It was in this context that the West Ford Project … Read more

The end of a myth: Medieval armors allowed for agile movements

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It is overwhelming to see medieval knights in the movies, loaded with their heavy plate armor and fighting to the death in some crude battle. Canned in kilos of steel, they could at best move around like clumsy robots, right? Well, it’s time to abandon this distressing vision, because these armors were made to provide … Read more

Lukasa: the ancestral African memory boards

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Human beings need to archive information. This may be due to his innate curiosity and his unstoppable desire to know and not to forget. This is why we invented data storage media, designed to replace the oral transmission of knowledge, which is imperfect and subject to alterations. We quickly think of hard disks or USB … Read more

Asteroids, meteors, bolids, meteorites, comets… What are their differences

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Although space may seem a distressing and empty place, the truth is that it is full of millions of roaming travelers that, from time to time, can be seen from Earth. There are several types of them, and you’ve probably wondered more than once how to distinguish them. Here are some clues: Asteroids: rocky masses … Read more

The lizards that weep blood

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Because of this peculiarity, they look like creatures out of some disturbed mind, but they are very real, both they and their bloody “weepings”. They do not “weep” blood because they have seen something horrifying, but because it is an extremely curious defense mechanism. This behavior has been recorded mainly in some species of horned … Read more

The Turing test: Can machines think?

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With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), our conception of intelligence has been slightly disrupted. After all, AI machines meet the requirements of some of the definitions of “intelligence”, such as solving complex problems. So, can machines think? This question was already proposed in the middle of the last century by one of the fathers … Read more

Types of snakes according to their fangs

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Snakes have often been associated with evil, either for cultural reasons or, directly, because of our survival instinct. We fear and respect them and the venom they use to hunt and defend themselves. However, as it usually happens, fear is diluted when our knowledge about them increases. In fact, they are not all equally poisonous … Read more

The cunning trickery of Ophrys orchids

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Life has devised a multitude of strategies to adapt and survive, such as mimesis. We all quickly think of examples from the animal kingdom, such as syrphids, some caterpillars, various butterflies or spiders that resemble ants. However, plants are not far behind. Orchids of the genus Ophrys sp. are true works of art of nature. … Read more

The explosive beetles

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Nature is the best weapon engineer. Some living beings are equipped with a series of strategies and tools that it’s difficult to imagine they were generated by chance. In fact, devotees of creationism and intelligent design use these examples to vindicate their beliefs. Let’s look at the case of the carabid beetles of the genus … Read more

The SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Part 2: Lights and shadows of vaccines

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In the face of the current situation, which will undoubtedly mark humanity forever, a race against time has been generated to try to overcome it as quickly as possible. Not in vain, in less than a year it has shown us how vulnerable we are, but also our resilience. The most promising weapons with which … Read more

The SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Part 1: The mechanisms of vaccines

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Is the end of the pandemic near? Is SARS-CoV-2, the same one that has shown how fragile the egomaniacal Homo sapiens and his civilization are, giving its last breath? Will the longed-for vaccines end with this science-fiction situation? The vaccines are being presented as the definitive solution to our problems, the definitive weapon that will … Read more

Six curiosities you didn’t know about Venus

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Venus is considered the brother planet of the Earth. However, since their births they have followed different trajectories that have led them to very different destinies. The current atmosphere of Venus is composed of 96.5% carbon dioxide. Toxic clouds of sulfur dioxide travel rapidly through it. But Venus has not always been so unwelcoming. It … Read more

The 5 most important facts about the plague you should know

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“¡How many brave men, how many beautiful women, how many gallant young men whom Galen, Hippocrates, or Aesculapius would have judged to be very healthy, ate breakfast with their relatives, companions, and friends, and in the evening dined with their ancestors in the other world!” – The Decameron, Bocaccio 1. The disease can occur in … Read more

The most dangerous virus in the world

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SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of the respiratory disease COVID-19, has turned our civilization upside down. It has spread in the blink of an eye across the globe. But the most terrifying thing is the death toll. Every day, thousands of people continue to swell the numbers. However, this virus is not one of the most … Read more

Boundary layer: a tool to protect against the cold

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Endotherms, like mammals and birds, mainly use two methods to minimize heat loss by convection in cold environments: .Increasing heat production Reducing heat loss by increasing the efficiency of the insulation, but how? By empowering the BOUNDARY LAYER. The boundary layer is a layer of fluid (water or air) adjacent to the surface of an … Read more