biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow animal communication

Talking to the Animals

Dr Dolittle was not the only one who could do that

What are the essentials of “communication”? Of course, there has to be an emitter, a sender of a signal. But there also needs to be a receiver and in order to make the interaction between the two to agree with the definition of “communication”, there has to be a response of a sort. It’s easy to see a response, when you send a vocal signal like “you are beautiful” to someone or when you ask someone “wasn’t that a great movie”? —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow chemotrophy cave movile

A Chemotrophic Ecosystem

The wonders of Romania’s “Movile Cave”

Most people would have been taught that life on Earth depended entirely on the sun and the green plants. The latter with their ability in the presence of chlorophyll and light to turn the inorganic molecules CO2 and water into organic carbohydrate (known as photosynthesis), are said to be the basis of the food chain for all animals A few people, however, may also have been taught that there is an alternative to photosynthesis, namely chemosynthesis and that this gave rise to a food chain, for example near hydrothermal vents, not based on green plants and sunlight, but on thermophilic bacteria that use hydrogen and sulphides to build organic material and release methane. But deep sea hydrothermal vents are not the only places where chemosynthetic activity leads to a food chain. The so-called “black layer” a few centimeters below the surface of intertidal mudflats is also a place of chemosynthesis, but the most amazing place is “Movile”. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow organs

Lacking Something ?

Organisms without the organs we expect them to have

Desmond Morris described us human beings as “Naked Apes”, but as I pointed out in an earlier blog, we are not totally naked, even without clothes. However, we do lack a tail – just like the other so-called “great apes”, but not the gibbons, the baboons, macaques, etc. When something is missing we notice it at once: a snake has no legs, but still does pretty well without them; whales and dolphins also lack them, and the kiwi bird of New Zealand, even though it’s a bird, does not even have wings. —>—>