biology azoology blog organs teeth growth allometry

Give a Little – and Take a Little

Increases of some structures appear to parallel decreases in others

It seems odd, but no animal with horns or antlers, whether fossil or recent, has all the teeth required to give it the complete and full dentition characteristics of mammals. No species of spider is known to possess the ability to sting, but all have a poisonous bite (although, luckily only a few possess poisons potent enough to harm humans). The most colourful birds like tropical parrots and Papua New Guinea birds-of-paradise leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their ability to sing and the increase in swim speeds of fish like the tuna apparently went hand in hand with the loss of the buoyancy organ, the swim bladder. There are lots more of such examples, but what am I trying to demonstrate with these examples? I’m trying to show that the development in one area frequently has consequences in another and that a “push” in one evolutionary direction can see a reversal in another. —>—>

biology zoology blog spider web spiders arachneid


Arachno-Technology: Is there such a thing at all?

My grandfather, who was not a zoologist at all, but a tea merchant, always had a spider in a cage on his desk. Since most species of spiders in temperate countries do not live longer than a year or two, it was not always the same individual that entertained him (and me). Collectively, all these spiders had one thing in common: they all spun silk, which is why spiders are scientifically called Araneae (named after Arachne, who had challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest and promptly was turned into a spider as a punishment for such impertinence). —>—>

biology zoology blog swallowing in reverse

Swallowing in Reverse

What was swallowing in reverse called again?

During the time I was working for a TV’s education channel, I had plans for a series on food and nutrition. The opening sequence was meant to show a family sitting around the dinner table and helping themselves to some food, perhaps a bit of fish, potatoes, cauliflower etc. and just after having put some food in the mouth, I wanted the film to reverse and the food to come out again and end up on the plate as before. And then I wanted the film to show the sign ‘STOP’, and a voice saying “Let’s find out more about this food”. Unfortunately, the producer didn’t like my idea and my series (at least not with my idea) never got off the ground.