The biological study of animals.

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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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122 views

How do animals handle light refraction in different media?

For a human, when diving underwater, everything is blurry because of the water's different refractive index compared to that of air, which we are accustomed to. How do animals, like turtles, seals or ...
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116 views

Can I force evolution in a group of cells by removing all the smaller cells?

I actually have algae growing in water in a container. I was thinking if it was possible to filter the water so that all the small cells will be filtered out and only the bigger ones will remain to ...
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367 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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109 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 ...
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58 views

Do mosquito repellent sprays work on all insects?

I would like to know the mode of action of mosquito repellent aerosols. Are these specific to mosquito or are other insects affected too?
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247 views

Will a completely removed cat whisker grow back?

I just accidentally pulled out, while playing, my cat's whisker entirely, follicle and all. I feel terribly as I know she is a kitten and whiskers are rooted deep in a place rich in nerves. I'm ...
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173 views

How does sex differentiation work in Paracerceis sculpta, the sexually tetramorphic isopod?

Paracerceis sculpta is a marine isopod species known for its unusual reproductive strategy: female: medium-sized; lives in harems run by an α male α male: large; keeps a harem of females β male: ...
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165 views

Is there a way for a 19th century scientist to prove that the octopus doesn't revive?

Say a sophiscated scientist in the 19th century noted that applying soy sauce on a dead octopus leads to movement of the legs, as a result of the voltage differences resulting from the salt in the soy ...
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219 views

intravenous (IV) in the tail vein of an anaesthetized mouse

I trained myself to do intravenous injection on live mice. However, on anaesthetized mice you don't see the flux of your product showing that your injection was successful. In the same way, on live ...
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25k views

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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96 views

How do animals lose heat?

I remember being told as a child that dogs stick their tongue out to stay cool, because they can't sweat like us. This made sense to me. But only a couple of days ago I suddenly thought: What about ...
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47 views

Why do insectivorous birds migrate?

Living in northern latitudes, I have always wondered why do migratory birds invest so much time and energy to travel twice a year the vast distances between their breeding grounds and wintering areas. ...
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286 views

Sexual selection in cats or other animals

I was wondering if you could answer some of my questions regarding sexual selection in cats (or any other animals). I would like to apologize beforehand for my incorrect term use. When it comes to ...
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122 views

Identification of this Salamander

This salamander was found in a small forest pond somewhat near the Oregon coast. In the area are many rough skinned newts and a small number of another type of salamander that I still can't find the ...
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69 views

What animal's lower eye lid moves to upper one when closing eyes?

I know cock's lower eye lids moves to meet the upper one when it closes its eye. What other animals does this? BTW, "cock-eyed" can mean upside down, I think.
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103 views

How animals maintain their body shape after development to maturity?

I've recently read a book on evolutionary-developmental biology for laymen, and it described how a fetus is progressively divided into more refined zones of genetic activity. These zones, kinda like ...
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256 views

How do I save a coffee damaged wasp? [closed]

I found a wasp in one of my coffee cups about 1 hour ago. There was barely any coffee left but it had managed to get itself pretty much drenched in coffee. I took it out. Put it on a piece of paper ...
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387 views

Why is the frog genome so much larger than a fish's?

As we have heard in the summaries of the human ENCODE project, 80 per cent of junk DNA appears to have an essential function. Many fish have a genome with only one tenth the size of a usual vertebrate ...
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929 views

Difference between mice and rats

What is the actual biological difference between mice and rats? Are they actually the same thing with two different names depending on appearance (are they all mice for instance and we call the larger ...
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97 views

Color of the Fur coat of Polar bears

Recently I was playing a quiz and a question was asked about the color of the fur coat of a polar bear. To my surprise the answer was black. I thought it was yellowish white or creamy. Why so ?
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Which organs do cats not eat on their prey?

My female cat is a very active hunter and brings me her prey daily. Except for shrews and birds, she always eats them entirely. This afternoon she brought me this: It was quite large (maybe ...
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1k views

The number of nipples (breasts) a species has?

Only mammals have mammaries and mammary glands. What evolutionary factors determines the number of mammaries (nipples/teats/breasts) a species has? Is it always an even number?
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106 views

How do cats survive falling from great heights?

Among mammals, cats are able to land safely when falling from great heights. For example, when compared to dogs or humans they can survive drops from relative large heights. How do they manage? A ...
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37 views

Why are canines not nauseated by similar foodstuffs/state of decay as human beings?

I am continually surprised at the items my pet dog is willing to ingest. I understand part of the consumption is driven by nutritional instincts (licking salty liquids such as sweat) or nurturing ...
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Polymorphism in cnidarians?

To me, the phenomenon of polymorphism in cnidarians is particularly troubling. I gather that it essentially refers to existence of various different forms or kinds of individuals, i.e. zooids and ...
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Why do some animals have 8 Limbs (e.g. Spiders, Octopuses)?

Octopuses have 8 tentacles, spiders have 8 legs. Is there something special about 8? It seems like an animal that needs 360° mobility has 8 legs.
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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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65 views

Why does cucumber skin kill ants?

I recently read that cucumber skin is an effective repellent for some ants: Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to ...
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273 views

What is the fastest marine mammal?

When I did a research, most of the sources say that orca is one of the fastest. But I could not find a source that says it is actually the fastest. Some sources say that Dall's porpoises rival orcas ...
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149 views

Are these cats calico?

Calico cats are cats that have 3 fur colors and are always female or males two X chromosomes. I've seen many cats that will have 2 fur colors (one of them is usually white) and another, third, color ...
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121 views

Is it possible to pet/groom birds?

I wonder if it's possible to pet a domestic crow, or an owl. Do birds respond to grooming as cats or dogs, for example? If so, then how does one pet a bird?
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156 views

What kind of caterpillar is this?

I've made a photo using the reversed 58 mm lens and my cropped DSLR: Could you please help? I really don't know where this came from. I found it in Russia.
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291 views

What is the known maximum ranging distance of a bat's sonar?

Bats are known to navigate by using echo-location. How far away can a bat detect an object by its sonar?
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69 views

I found these skulls in a old bottle in the woods. Can you tell me what they are?

Can you help me identify these skulls I found in an old bottle in the woods?
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47 views

How are chickens affected by light?

When I was young, I was told never to put a fluorescent light in a hen house because it continuously turns on and off. Extra lighting is used, as far as I know, to 'extend' a chicken's day. Human eyes ...
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220 views

Identify this Harvestman

I spotted this guy in Switzerland. It's clearly an Opilione (Harvestman), but I really know nearly enough about this diverse group to be able to identify the species. Sorry, I didn't think to ...
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1answer
360 views

How does the Cuttlefish camouflage itself accurately despite being color-blind?

I have seen/read that the Cuttlefish is able to camouflage itself extremely accurately. I have also seen/read that they are completely color-blind, though see with very high contrast. How does the ...
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67 views

Has an artificial symbiotic relationship ever been created?

Have 2 organisms ever been introduced to create a symbiotic relationship that doesn't occur in their natural environment?
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100 views

What is the fastest but not venomous snake?

Is it known which non-venomous snake can attack most quickly? I guess it is a snake that attacks its opponent by bites, and not some kind of constrictor.
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105 views

Would non-human carnivores be able to survive on farmed foods?

Certain creatures that are considered carnivores are non-obligate carnivores and are technically omnivores (such as wolves/dogs). How different is the potential digestive ability of these species ...
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381 views

Do all sea creatures that have scales have to have fins?

Do all sea creatures that have scales have to have fins? Do we know of any sea creatures that have only scales without fins? I'm especially interested in fish that have scales but no fins.
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Why are killer whales found in the Gulf of Mexico smaller than ones found in the Pacific?

I recently found out that there are killer whales that live in the Gulf of Mexico, but they are smaller than killer whales that are commonly found in the Pacific Ocean. Why is it they are smaller in ...
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42 views

Why did many odd-toed ungulates become extinct?

There were a lot of odd-toed ungulate animals in the ancient times but now just few of them survived. What is the reason for that?
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83 views

Will a garter snake eat unusual prey if made to smell like something normal?

I have noticed that my garter snake only eats after it has smelled it's prey to make sure it is a slug, and it doesn't matter whether it's moving or not. If I were to coat, say, a caterpillar with ...
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76 views

Fear in elephants

It has been noted that elephants trained for war, as was done occasionally in earlier times, have still shown a tendency to panic in battle much more often when compared to a war horse trained for the ...
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236 views

Has synthetic biology created new plants or animals as of 2013?

I've seen a Ted.com talk where the speaker suggests that modern science can create new micro organisms, like bacteria with a pre- defined new set of traits. But has anyone create a new species of ...
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90 views

Identifying internal structures of dissected fish

Note : Images displayed below might be disturbing to some people. I have dissected a fish for the first time ! I have some idea of what some of the structures might be but I am not sure and so would ...
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1answer
88 views

Book recommendation on selective breeding?

I am looking for a good book that gives a nice overview of the science and technics of selective breeding. I am particularly interested in the use of population genetics to support decision in this ...
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340 views

Is there a difference between pig and cow anatomy that makes religious slaughter of the latter less painful?

This question is not for the squeamish. I was told that non-Kosher animals like pigs have a different anatomy in their neck compared to kosher animals like cows such that the Shechita method of ...