The biological study of animals.

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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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508 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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382 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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342 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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105 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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211 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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98 views

Cross-integration of puma subspecies populations

A major concern of conservationists in south Florida is the population of native Pumas, the Florida Panther. Until recently, it was thought that the Pumas were a genetically distinct subspecies, ...
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687 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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Small worm living in some kind of cocoon, what are these animals?

I am curious what animal is this. It is/lives inside some kind of cocoon, about 1 cm in length. They are attached to walls and to the ceiling, but sometimes they fall off. Inside the structure there ...
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75 views

Chickens roosting, is it sleep or torpor?

At night when they roost, do chickens experience a state of sleep (meaning do they move from NREM1 to NREM2, NREM3 and REM) or are they in a state of torpor (reduced metabolic rate and decreased ...
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906 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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648 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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How animals know which is carnivorous and herbivorous?

Deer ran away from tiger or cheetah, but not from giraffe or zebra. where did deer learn this? How animals know which is carnivorous and herbivorous?
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How do marine mammals control buoyancy?

Presumably, as a whale or seal dives, its lungs get compressed by the increasing water pressure, and it gets less buoyant. Under this model, for a given amount of air taken in at the surface, the ...
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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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191 views

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

Do any animals become psychologically 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 ...
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Can a lizard shed a regrown tail again?

Some lizards are famous for their ability to voluntarily shed their tail to elude predators (Autotomy). After a while, the tail will be regenerated, though with slightly different qualities, as ...
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How was the cama's life expectancy computed?

A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998, yet on the Wikipedia page it is said that a cama's life span is 30–40 years. How was ...
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345 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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389 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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Why does the bunny have a white butt?

There are several species of plant eaters that have a very visible bright white behind: several kinds of deer, rabbits, antelopes, etc. Does this white spot have any function to it, or is it purely ...
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206 views

Theoretically, is domestication of (virtually) any animal possible?

Looking at ones that manage well alongside us human animals, such as dogs and cats, we see that this is possible for evolved, distant animals to have heritable, preferable traits around people. ...
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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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105 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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191 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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441 views

What produces the strong odor of decaying dead animals?

Are there specific chemicals responsible for producing the strong, putrid odor that is present after an animal deceases? Also, how long does this odor last?
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296 views

Are fish and reptilian scales homologous?

Wikipedia: Fish scales are dermally derived, specifically in the mesoderm. This fact distinguishes them from reptile scales paleontologically. So aren't reptilia scales also dermally derived?
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What's the smallest organism that can produce voice? [closed]

What's the smallest organism (animal, insect, or any living creature) that can produce voice. And not just make sound, but has an organ to specifically to create sound, like how us mamals have vocal ...
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159 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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309 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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126 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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Can all mammals swim?

When I checked it seemed trivial to answer: yes, all mammals can swim. But research on the internet provided different information. I found: people and primates cannot swim, but can be taught how to ...
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171 views

What evolutionary mechanism caused felines to develop purring?

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

Why do small organisms make faster movements than big organisms?

I hesitated to ask this question because it seems so obvious and intuitive. However, I am not able to explain this tendency. Background It seems to me that small organisms make faster movements than ...
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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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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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(Why) are polar bears more common in Labrador than in southern Greenland?

The Labrador Sea is between Greenland, Labrador, and Qikiqtaaluk: Map source. A Greenlandic source on polar bears states: In Greenland the polar bear lives and breeds in the northernmost parts ...
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173 views

Why are there so many sex determining systems in animals

There are several sex determining systems in animals. In mammals XY = male(except in rare cases where SRY crosses with genes on the X so that it is the reverse) and XX = female. In some birds it is ...
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Species of this White Dove

I visited a bird enclosure close to where I live in Australia. The enclosure had several different species. The birds that stood out most were these doves sitting right along the fence railing, making ...
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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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182 views

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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202 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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582 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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320 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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85 views

Why do these earthworms stay between the road lines?

This article shows pictures of earthworms during floods in Texas. The worms ball up, supposedly in order to survive the floods. Can anyone explain the phenomenon a little? I can't seem to find ...
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73 views

Burns' “To a mouse” - what species of mouse?

What's the most likely mouse species Robert Burns is referring to in his poem "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough". Burns farmed near Ayr, which is on the Firth of Clyde in ...
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403 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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57 views

Zoology - Help identify the kind of spider

Yesterday, I bought a banana tree (Musa Basjoo) from a local supermarket. Today, I noticed a hive of small spiders on the tree. I do not know where they came from, so I am curious to identify these ...
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132 views

Help Needed Identifying Corvids

I'd appreciate some help identifying these three corvids I photographed in Austria during the Summer: I know identifying corvids can be difficult, I'm not an ornithologist, just an amateur bird ...
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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 ...