biology zoology birds dinosaur paleontology

Do Dinosaurs Still Exist?

You bet: Dinosaurs still exist!

Three years ago I visited with my grandchildren a dinosaur exhibition in Singapore. On that occasion I asked the guide very politely and with a serious face whether dinosaurs still existed today. And equally politely and seriously the guide answered “No, Sir, they died out years ago.” But have dinosaurs really become extinct a long time ago, is “Nessie” of Loch Ness in Scotland perhaps a survivor of the distant past or just a figment of imagination? (I am sure it’s the latter). —>

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Can the environment affect an animal’s colour? Of course it can!

Of course !Environment can affect animal’s colour

A few days ago there was on item on the BBC news about a new hair-dye for humans; a dye that apparently changed colour depending on ambient temperature. I immediately thought what’s so special about that? I know many examples in which environmental temperature affects the colour of an animal and chameleons and some Australian desert reptiles came to mind, which are quite dark in the cold of the morning and become increasingly pale as the temperature rises towards noon. And there are amphibians too that respond to temperature changes with colour changes. However, I then realized that the changes I was thinking of depended on hormones that controlled the colour change, but which themselves were affected by the temperature they were operating under. What I needed to look in connection with the hair dye were direct effects of temperature on the pigmentation of an organism, but such effects, especially in combination with humidity levels are also common. —>

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Blood Suckers

The good, the bad, and the evil

On an expedition to the Onabasulu cannibals of the Southern Highlands in the mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea near Mount Bosavi with my companion Tom Ernst, at that time a PhD-student and later university professor in the USA, we were constantly pestered, beleaguered one can almost say, by blood-sucking terrestrial leeches. They were sitting on slippery stones, clinging to wet foliage, attached to any vantage point on logs or trees that allowed them to wave their menacing front ends around in circles, ready to leech on to their victim as soon as they sensed our approach. These annelid animals are so adept at taking meals from the occasional passers-by that in spite of our utmost vigil, we once counted 42 individual bloodsuckers all simultaneously taking blood meals from Tom’s covered legs. —>