The biological study of animals.

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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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248 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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121 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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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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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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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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366 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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834 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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95 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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971 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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51 views

How can a drone be male?

A drone bee is male and is the product of only a queen bee. How is it that the drone bee can be male. I know that a drone is produced by an unfertilized egg, but this does not explain where the two X ...
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98 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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36 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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117 views

Can ants sense food from a long distance?

I recently had ants find and then swarm to a food container that I put down on a desk, and I'm curious as to whether an ant would have needed to get lucky, discovering the food after crawling up the ...
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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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221 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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133 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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113 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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151 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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251 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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40 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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211 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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284 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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62 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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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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104 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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346 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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28 views

Detailed mechanism of the cause of diabetes mellitus type 1?

I have read in some texts that diabetes mellitus type 1 is caused by degeneration of beta cells due to our body's own immune reaction.Is it true? Can you explain further how are such types of immune ...
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41 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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82 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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75 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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227 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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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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83 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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293 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 ...
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51 views

How diverse are dogs in their traits other than appearance?

I've asked this question about dogs not so long ago, and the short answer was - dogs are the most diverse looking species of mammals because they got a small number of genes that have a big impact on ...
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Is there such thing as “biological cycles” of activity/performance/etc in mammals?

I'm looking for some information about the cycles of increased/decreased activity, mental performance or endurance that are related to a mammal's age and the time of a season. First of all, I'm not ...
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260 views

Why apes started to contemplate and become altruistic? [closed]

I was asking this first on philosophy forums, but it is suggested, that answer could be found from evolutionary view of point, so here we go: Again my question raised when thinking of myths, their ...
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142 views

how much grass does a sheep eat in square meters per day? [closed]

I want to buy some sheeps in order to eat my garden's grass. How much grass does a sheep eat each day ??
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Why do ants dig surface paths?

A few days ago I observed a corridor built and used by ants that went over a path in fields: Why do they build it? It seems it doesn't bring any considerable protection from the surrounding ...
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Help with designing the analysis of radio telemetry study [closed]

I was wondering if there are any spatial ecologists out there who can provide some insight on the trouble I'm having with my Masters research. I am looking at the association a bat species to high ...
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Laying eggs vs giving birth: is there a connection with internal vs. external ears?

I have heard that "The animals who have their 'EARS' outside their body give birth to their young ones and the animals who have their 'EARS' inside their body lay eggs." Is this true? Are there ...
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What organs are absolutely needed by the human body?

The title is my question: what organs are absolutely needed (fatal if injured/removed) by the human body and perhaps animals in general? I'm not asking which organs are mechanically replaceable, but ...
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What insect is in this photo?

Found in Russia, in the kitchen. It is about 1–2 cm length.
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What does this Barbary Macaque facial expression mean?

A girl pretended having a piece of food in her hand and pointed it to a Barbary Macaque in Gibraltar. As a response he made this facial expression to her. What does this mean?
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308 views

How to know if a woman is fertile without actually making her pregnant?

How to know if a human female is fertile (can give birth to child in future) without making her pregnant? Any signs, tests?
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210 views

How can we know or measure pain in animals?

Is there any standard way to know how much pain an animal feels when it gets hurt like when a bird loses it's wing or hen when killed etc. All pain sensation points? Hey I'm new to biology. :)