biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow sunglasses birds

Internal Sunglasses

Some birds appear to have sunglasses

Although I myself did not have to wear glasses (except perhaps sunglasses) until I turned 55, millions of people on Earth may view this simple ‘tool’ to improve the resolving power of their eyes as one of the greatest inventions ever made. Photographers, microscopists, and opticians can tell you that the aperture of an optical system not only controls the amount of light admitted (and thus the brightness of the image you see) but also the resolving power of the system. —>—>

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What the cockerel needed to turn into a cock

The story of testosterone

Every day on my way to my office in the Electron Microscopy Unit of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, I passed a small monument, dedicated to a famous British scientist. It was Ernest Henry Starling, who was buried in Jamaica in 1927 and commemorated with that monument. Starling was a physiologist who had made significant contributions to our understanding of the function of the heart, muscles, and kidneys, but who is perhaps remembered most for having coined the word “hormone” for the chemical messengers in human and animal bodies. —>—>

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Locked in, Locked up, Locked on…

Something that’s difficult to open

You can lock arms with someone, you can lock on to something or be locked in or even be locked up or locked out. But this essay is about animals that possess locking mechanisms. In the tropical waters of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, for example, I once caught a pair of matchbox-sized trigger fish and observed their behaviour in my aquarium on board of the research vessel “Walter Herwig”. These denizens of the tropical seas as well as their cousins, the file fishes, can wedge themselves into rock cracks and coral crevices in such a way that it is virtually impossible to dislodge them by pulling at their tails. —>—>