This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
Dugongs (Dugong dugon) Grazing
Owl Neck Rotation
as many of you have heard owls can turn their necks 360 degrees fully around. Well I’m here to tell you that is not entirely true, as owls can only turn their head 270 degrees. But how? Well owls are special because they have fourteen different bones in their neck protecting their spinal chord, compared to the 7 bones found in humans, this excess amount of bones means more flexibility and as such owls can turn their necks farther . But why are owls the only birds that can do this? well it is obvious that owls are physiologically different than most birds especially in their heads, and owls lack the muscles in their eyes that allow them to rotate so owls cannot move their eyes without moving their heads, and if an bird cannot see behind it or to its side it is easy prey to a predator, so to prevent this these wise birds evolved an alternate method to move their field of view and look creepy in the process…
How Do Jellyfish Sting?
the science of cnidocytes and nematocysts
jellyfish don’t sting through electricity or by touch. Jellyfish sting through a special type of cell called a Cnidocyte, there are three types of cnidocytes currently known. Spirocysts which entangle their prey, Ptychocysts which build tubes for tube anemones and the most well known Nematocysts. Nematocysts consist of a toxic barb which is coiled on a thread inside the cindocyte, when triggered the barb is ejected almost instantly taking only 700 nanoseconds to fire and firing with a force of five million g’s. A cindoctye can only fire once, and must be replaced when fired a process that could take 2 days.
Short-tailed fruit bat (Carollia perspicillata)
Lateral (top) and ventral (bottom) views of stage 19 bat embryos as viewed by reflected light (left) or after alcian blue staining and clearing (right).
photo by Chris Cretekos and Richard Behringer
How do animals change color?
the science of chromatophores
Animals like cuttlefish and chameleons are able to quickly change color in-order to blend in with their surroundings. They can do this due to a special type of cell called a chromatophore. Chromatophores work by moving vesicles that contain different color pigments into different forms by contracting and expanding them, so a different color comes to the “surface” when moved, giving the animal a different color. This can either be controlled by the animals nerves or happen hormonally.
This photographer was attacked by a polar bear while shooting a documentary for the BBC in Norway!
Fortunately, he was in a pod that let him see out.
You can now add polar bear selfie to your photo bucket list.
Velvet Worm - Slime Guns
The velvet worm - among the phylum, Onychophora - hunts by shooting fast drying adhesive at its prey and yes, I know what you’re thinking. The segmented worm-like organism can range from 0.5 to 20cm long and slime glands are located in the center region of the body making up about 11% of the total body weight in slime which is made mostly of water and some proteins.
In order to detect prey it senses slight changes in air currents with bumps on its skin and chemical sensors on its antennae to let them essentially taste something to determine if its food. When a prey item is eventually encountered, the slime is forcefully squirted through oral papillae near the head and launched up to 30cm in a sort of spray-and-pray manner. Once the slime contacts the victim, it quickly dries ensnaring it, where now the worm then seeks to eat the organism by injecting its saliva and digestive enzymes turning the innards into a slurpee. Mmm delicious.
The velvet worm are primarily nocturnal ambush predators and their senses and locomotion allow them to hunt. They move silently and fluidly with pneumatically inflated sets of valves to inflate/deflate their legs, meaning they don’t really rely on muscles for movement and is why it looks so cool as they glide along the ground. Another awesome thing about them is they have a tubular heart that extends almost the entire length of the body creating an open circulatory system.
Here is a diagram of the velvet worm anatomy
It’s like the pokemon move ‘water gun’ except with slime, coool!
Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)
Native to South America, the arapaima is one of the world’s largest fish and is considered a living fossil. The fish can grow up to 2m (6.6 ft) long, and frequently weighs more than 100kg (440 lbs).
The arapaima is peculiar in that it has a fundamental reliance on atmospheric oxygen. This is an adaptation to the oxygen depleted floodplains of the Amazon.
Genus cassiopea is a genus of jellyfish commonly known as Upside-down jellyfish found in coastal regions around the world in mangroves, mudflats and turtle grass. they earned the name upside-down jellyfish due to the Medusa stage usually lives upside down with the tentacles in the “air” and the bell on the bottom like a sea anemone, they then sit on the floor and feed. their sting is relatively mild as the animals are primarily photosynthetic. they have a symbiotic relationship with the urchin crab (Dorippe frascone) who picks up the cnidarian and carries it on its back and the jellyfish defends the crab. the genus includes 8 species: C.andromeda,C.depressa,C.frondosa,C.medusa,C.mertensi,C.ndrosia,C.ornata,C.xamachana. people often think something is wrong with the animals as they sit on the bottom and just pulse but they are fine.
*Also yay 200th post!!