The biological study of animals.

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When do most mammals mate?

Is one part of the day more prevalent then other when it comes to mammal animals mating? Is there an aggregating study that has been done to see if these living beings in nature mate mostly during day ...
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314 views

Do egg laying animals experience a pregnancy?

Does a female animal that lays eggs experience a pregnancy-like period of time, where she will feel and behave differently as if she were fertilized and her body is prepared to lay a fertile egg, not ...
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468 views

Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?

As you see in the picture goats (not only wild goats) are so fearless, but I never saw any sheep do this. What is the source of this difference in behavior?
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231 views

Where can I find the common names for the zoology taxonomy?

Forgive me if my question does not belong here or if I'm using incorrect terms, but I'm not educated in biology at all. I'm investigating the workings of the biological classification system. I was ...
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863 views

Why do parasites sometimes kill their hosts?

It's bothered me for a while now. I understand why a parasitoid would do this, as it only temporarily requires the host, and that not all parasites kill their hosts. There seems to be no evolutionary ...
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2k views

What's the difference between a plant and an animal?

Are there some living things where the distinction between plant and animal is blurry or unclear? I wouldn't know where to put something like yeast. I also thought of photosynthesis, but then I ...
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125 views

Can any species be bred selectively/engineered to become as diverse looking as dogs?

I've done some research and it appears that dogs are the most diverse looking single species of mammals. The questions that interest me is - are dogs special in respect to genes/gene activation ...
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129 views

What is this crow eating, and is it a common part of the corvid diet?

Here's a picture (by Rob Curtis) of a crow carrying and eating the corpse of what looks a bit like a small hawk or falcon: Other pictures clearly show the crow is eating the dead bird. This image ...
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862 views

Why animals can move and plants cannot in general?

To clarify, I think the answer should be able to explain: What are animals? What are plants? What's the difference between animals and plants (How do biologists differentiate them, if they ...
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173 views

Why do the feet of the Gecko Lizard not stick to Teflon surfaces?

I have noticed that lizards feet can stick to walls but not to Teflon surfaces? Why is that?
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94 views

Is there a term for tool use in animals?

Is there a technical/scientific term that scientists use to refer to tool making abilities found in certain types of animals? Reference ...
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178 views

Effect of spaying on the female cat organism and health

Veterinarians often recommend spaying a female cat if the owner does not want her to have kittens. What does biology know about the effect of spaying on female cats' organism and health (apart from ...
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310 views

Can female Drosophila melanogaster lay eggs without males?

Can female Drosophila melanogaster lay egg without males? I maintain our lab stock but find a line that seems to have all females (or all males). In the vial, I see some eggs laid, but the flies ...
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129 views

Is recognizing one's own mirror reflection a valid test of animal intelligence/self awareness?

I've been looking at this Ted talk on interspecies internet, and it appears that they have selected a small number of species of animals (dolphin, elephant, and some ape(?)) and are intent on ...
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775 views

What happens to snakes that swallow rodents as a whole?

As we all know, a few species of snakes swallow rodents as a whole. My question is what happens to the teeth and bones of these animals? Won't they cut into the flesh of the snake and hurt it? Are the ...
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239 views

What medical and commercial proteins are made using genetically modified animals?

Recombinant technologies in micro-organisms being used to produce commercial and medically useful proteins like insulin are fairly common. However some proteins are still produced commercially in ...
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312 views

Why are there ecosystems?

Why would things self-organize in such a manner? I'm a mathematician and I have no baggage in ecology or biology. If the question is too broad maybe someone can point me to formal sources where this ...
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769 views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
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407 views

Do animals get sick from eating dirty food or eating off the floor?

Humans have very strict tradition of hygiene, such as washing hands before eating, using utensils, and in general keeping as much distance between food and dirt as possible. At the same time, most ...
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472 views

Do octopuses have better eyes than humans?

I've read that unlike humans, octopuses have eyes "designed" the "right way", i.e. with the nerve fibers behind the retina, thus getting rid of the blind spot we humans have as well as theoretically ...
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116 views

Is there a DNA test to identify dog mixes?

We adopted a dog at the age of two. Our vet said it was a mix of an Australian Shepherd and Border Collie, which we've told everyone. Based on markings, I think it's likely. I am wondering, however, ...
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170 views

Are tongues red because they contain blood?

Many animals have red tongues, though not all of them - blue-tongued skinks and giraffes come to mind. Are they red because of the blood (and therefore haemoglobin) in them? It sounds plausible, but ...
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109 views

Is there any reason the common housefly continues to return to an area?

This might come off as a really silly question. But I'm wondering (especially in the case of food) if there is any reason a fly would continue to try and sit on top of a piece of food even after ...
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150 views

What evolutionary mechanism caused felines to develop purring?

And why can some felines roar while others meow?
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209 views

Why does ostrich meat look and taste more like beef than chicken?

Some time ago I tasted ostrich meat, and what was amazing to me was that the meat very much resembled beef, much more than it resembled chicken, turkey or duck meat. And even more than lamb and pork ...
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126 views

Do dogs have something different about their physiology that allows them to pant without hyperventilating?

I was wondering this as I considered how effective panting would be for humans as a means of cooling.
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2k views

Why is it that cats can jump so high for their size, compared with humans?

My cat is about 1' high at the shoulder, and I am a little over 6', but my cat can easily jump onto something as high as I am. That is 6x it's height. If a cat can do this, then Why can't I jump up ...
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Homologies to insect wings

All winged vertebrates have wings which are homologous to each other and to the forelimbs of the non-winged vertebrates. But what about insect wings? Are all insect wings homologous, and are there any ...
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135 views

Is there such thing as Animal non-verbal body language?

Have there been any studies done on the animal use of their bodies to signal, communicate or express their emotions, particularly to members of other species (ex: humans)? I've been observing a very ...
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422 views

Did dinosaurs have more than one brain? If so, why?

I once remember reading (15 years ago) that dinosaurs had two brains. One for their head and another one for their digestive functions. What is the current opinion on this theory? Has more evidence ...
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102 views

If a dead snake reflexively attacks itself, why does it not always attack itself?

Recently there has been this video going around of a snake that had been decapitated. Its body swung around to the decapitated head and the head attacked the body on "reflex". Now we know that most ...
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175 views

Are there animals which can see movements better than shapes or colors?

I remember that in Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park, Tyrannosaurus Rex was supposed to have movement based vision. (Of course, that is a novel and not a scientific text.) I have also noticed ...
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308 views

What happens to an ant colony when the queen dies?

Does the colony collapse? Do workers keep following the last orders? Or can future queens replace the dead one? I'm guessing this might also depend on each specific sub-species.
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489 views

Is there a relationship between efficiency of cellular metabolism and warm-blooded-ness?

My BIO 101 book states that when human cells convert glucose to ATP, the process is only approx 35% efficient, and much of the potential energy is lost as heat. However, that heat is useful to us in ...
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261 views

What makes an animal/species suitable for domestication/training?

Humans have domesticated all manner of creatures during the course of their civilization - dogs, horses, several types of cattle, varieties of birds, and perhaps others too. A prerequisite for an ...
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139 views

Are there any other animals that become attached to a non-living object?

Do any animals become attached to any non-living object that is not useful to the animal for any of its physical needs, like some children do to stuffed animals? Some children are so attached to their ...
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2answers
411 views

What is dental health like in animals?

Do animals suffer from tooth decay, such as cavities? Is it to the same extent as in humans, or do animal teeth decay more or less? If teeth decay in animals as well, are there natural strategies ...
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960 views

Fetal development, gastrulation and embryonic disc

I am completely confused by the images circulating on the internet of human gastrulation. First, lets see how it happens in deuterostomes. This image depicts the process: (image is from Wikipedia) ...
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Why is Portuguese man o' war considered a colony?

The wikipedia entry on the Portuguese man o' war says: ... the Portuguese man o' war is ... not actually a single multicellular organism but a colonial organism made up of many highly specialized ...
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909 views

Is the theory of evolution being disproved by bats?

For some species the Darwin's theory evolution makes perfect sense. I can easily imagine how, for example, the giraffe has evolved to its current appearance: the natural selection was favoring ...
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231 views

Is life expectancy linked to intelligence in animals?

For example, animals that live only a few days or a few years are often not very intelligent. In contrast, the most intelligent animals seem to live longer. Is this true? Are there any studies to ...
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192 views

What is this beetle and what are the strange antennae for?

I found this wonderful creature in my yard (I live in the south of France) last night: It was about 2-3cm long, with a hard carapace and wings. It also made loud hissing noises when agitated. I ...
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137 views

Excretion of small kangaroos while in the pouch

How is the excretion of small kangaroos done when they are in the pouch of their mother, fastened onto her teat? My question is what happens with the products; do they accumulate in the pouch?
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218 views

What did pangolin scales evolve from?

Were they developed anew or a heritage from fish?
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149 views

Why would deers keep crossing a river full of crocodiles while some of them have been killed?

I recently watched a clip on Discovery Channel, where I saw deers crossing a river full of crocodiles, ignoring the fact that some of them would have been killed doing so. What could be an ...
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74 views

The least complex animals with ability to dream

People can dream, dogs can dream, cats probably too when they are sleeping. What about other creatures? Can a bird dream? Do rats have dreams? Are there any studies about that kind of thing? What ...
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103 views

Do animals suffer from “Human” mental disorders?

It is tragic, but apparently Killer whales and Dolphins can commit suicide too (e.g. here)... This suggests they can become depressed. I wondered whether they were "clinically" depressed like many ...
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99 views

What limits the size of fish compared to marine mammals?

The largest extant fish species is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). With a length of 13 meters and a mass of about 20-30 metric tons, the whale shark is relatively small compared to the largest ...
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189 views

How do sharks and other fish conserve and gain water in marine environments?

With the osmolarity of the average vertebrate being around 300mOsml, and salt water having an osmolarity of 1000mOsml, why does the water from the shark not leave to the salt water around it? I ...
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100 views

Does culling badgers restrict the spread of bovine tuberculosis?

The British government has announced that it plans a large-scale badger cull which they argue are implicated in the spread of Mycobacterium bovis - so-called bovine tuberculosis. Any cattle that ...