Life and Nature ~ Page 3 din 11

Neutrino Discovery

The shy neutrino is an invisible, almost massless particle that hardly ever interacts with anything. We tell you how scientists first detected this so- called “poltergiest particle” . This is for Thursday, October 11. On this date in 1995, Frederick Reines received the Nobel Prize in physics for helping to track down the elusive neutrino. Wolfgang Pauli was the first to suggest that these particles …

Leapin’ lemurs!

The Madagascar island – off the south-east coast of Africa – is the only area on Earth where these ancient primates live in the wild. There are more than 30 species on Madagascar and the neighboring Comores Islands. Mouse Lemur The mouse lemur is the smallest species of its kind in the world and is about the size of a chipmunk. Within this species, there …

Shark Attack!

Got an idea that sharks are cold-blooded underwater predators? You’re partly right, but there are warm-blooded, or endothermic, sharks too — not to mention a few species which might provide lifesaving compounds. Read up on the exploits of the shark… Under the fin’s skin An international research team gets under the skin of unidentified shark fins to find out which species may be over-exploited. It’s …

Jaws was a picky eater

A light grey fin silently emerges from beneath the surface of the water, slicing like a knife through the waves. Its approach is direct and deliberate as it heads straight for its target: a boat filled with oblivious teenagers. Their joyous revelry is drowned out by the building crescendo of the orchestra. The boat pitches wildly. Screams fill the air. And then there is only …

Help from an accidental fisher

“You are what you eat” holds true for the salmon shark, at least in name. These warm-blooded, energetic sharks prey on the anadromous (freshwater spawning) fishes that swim up the North American west coast each summer. So it isn’t surprising that the salmon shark is found high in the northern Pacific, following the salmon runs into the estuaries of the big rivers in Alaska and …

Sharks in Canada

True blue The deepsea cat shark doesn’t meow and the dogfish won’t bark, but this resident of the Atlantic lives up to its name: even underwater its distinctive blue skin is easily recognizable. Known scientifically as Prionace glauca, the blue shark is long and slender with a pointed snout. It’s a fast swimmer and at 3.8 metres is among some of the larger sharks of …

Loss of habitat threatens poison-frogs – and your future health.

Continued from Part II For centuries, humans have turned to the plant kingdom for new medicines. Aspirin was derived from the bark of the willow tree. Digitalis, a heart medication, came from the foxglove plant. Codeine and morphine came from the poppy. And the cancer-fighting drugs vinblastine and vincristine are derivatives of the periwinkle plant. But we’re only now understanding the medical value that surrounds …

The real threat of sharks

With row after row of glistening, serrated teeth, a mouth as wide as its body and an electrical sixth sense to track down prey, sharks are easily the most terrifying creatures of the sea for most people. Much of that fear is misplaced, however. Humans just aren’t on the menu of most sharks. George Burgess directs the International Shark Attack File, the biggest and most comprehensive …

Under the fins skin – silky shark fins

A sign in a Hong Kong market announces the catch of the day: silky shark fins. At an exorbitant price, they are the key ingredient in the popular shark-fin soup and a key item for fishermen to bring to shore. But is the silky shark fin in the market really from a silky shark? Does it matter? In order to establish a plan to protect …

Killer Bees (Africanized Bees)

Description: Genetic laboratory studies are usually needed to distinguish a European honeybee from an Africanized honeybee. The more aggressive African bee is a bit smaller than common honeybees but are otherwise identical in appearance. Where to find them: Historically speaking, Africanized bees (labelled as killer bees) are descendants of a strain of African bees that migrated from Brazil in the 1950s and headed north over …

Black Widow Spiders

Description: There are about six species of the black widow spider – all of which are poisonous. The female black widow spider (the most deadly of the two genders) is shiny and black, with a reddish hourglass shape on the bottom of her spherically shaped abdomen. The female’s body is about two and a half centimetres long (including her legs). The male is about half …

“Tidal” forces at work beneath the Atlantic

North Americans typically regard the West Coast as a geologically hazardous area because it’s situated where two tectonic plates meet – on the San Andreas Fault. But recent studies have shown the East Coast could be geologically volatile as well. In this week’s Science, geologists from Penn State University say pressurized water trapped deep within the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean has the potential …