Nature

Nature

Can animals feel shame?

Even animals can disgrace themselves. But does that result in them feeling embarrassed? “It’s been established that in certain situations some animals experience similar emotions to us,” says behavioural biologist Norbert Sachser.

Nature

How do leaves know that it is autumn?

“Leaves have an inner clock which measures daylight,” explains University of York cell biologist Seth Davis. In order to perceive the light, leaves possess sensors for red, blue and ultraviolet light. During the autumn every day is four minutes shorter than the one before it.

Nature

Can fish make their own suncream?

Even in the depths of the ocean, fish can be exposed to sunlight. A recent study found that certain types of fish can create their own endogenous sunlight protection compounds to shield them from sunlight in the water. Sea urchin and some birds also display this incredible skill.

Nature

What is the strongest material in nature?

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have found that the teeth of a type of limpet, measuring just one millimetre across, are made from the strongest biological material in the world. The tensile strength of the teeth equates to a whopping 4.9 gigapascal (GPa).

Nature

Do cows really sit down when it's about to rain?

How can you accurately predict if it’s going to rain? By visiting a farm. If all the cows are lying down, a rainstorm is on its way – or so the old wives’ tale goes. Experts say this is nonsense.

Nature

How do spiders spin the first web?

Unlike Spiderman a spider is not able to ‘shoot’ its threads through the air. But how then does the arachnid manage to spin the first threads of its web? “Spiders let a thin thread go, which is then picked up by the wind and sticks wherever it lands,” explains spider researcher Bernhard Huber.

Nature

How do chameleons change colour?

Chameleons alter the colour of their skin to regulate their temperature and to signal their moods and intentions to other chameleons.

Nature

Can you catch cancer?

The thought of a contagious cancer is enough to make the blood run cold. Unfortunately for the Tasmanian devil, a marsupial native to Australia’s island state, this nightmare has become a reality.

Nature

How do desert ants keep cool?

Does hot weather make you lethargic? It doesn’t bother the Saharan silver ant: this hard worker keeps toiling away even in temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius and can flit across the hot desert sand without a care in the world. But how does it manage this without being fried to a crisp?

Nature

Where is coral found?

Roughly 6,000 different types of coral exist on Earth – and 20 of them are found in north European waters. But these cold-water corals are far less researched than their diver-friendly tropical counterparts, which extend just a few metres beneath the water’s surface.

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