Bees! The little critters that our life here on Earth depends on. They're hard-working, queen-worshiping, sugar-loving social beings, just like ourselves. Even more so, they are, according to science, addicted to caffeine. Wait, what? What is actually going on, where do bees get a cup of coffee, are they addicted to it, and what's caffeine after all? Let's find … [Read more...] about A cup of coffee for pollinators: are bees addicted to caffeine?
Engaging in popular science, you may have come across terms like turning genes on or off. Let's say spring comes, and trees turn on genes for growth and leaf sprouting, while animals turn on genes to be, well, turned on. But does it ever cross your mind what it means to turn a gene on or off? Is there a switch? Sort of, but let's find out. The short answer: genes are … [Read more...] about How body turns genes on and off
You may have heard that genes are responsible for everything right and wrong with you. Genes determine whether you can tie your shoes, how long your neck is, and whether you pour cereal into the bowl before or after the milk. Even more so, only a tiny difference in your genes determines if you are a human or a chimp. But do you know what a gene is? Here, I will give a … [Read more...] about What is a gene? A simplified explanation
Have you ever wondered if insects have brains? Can creatures so tiny as mosquitoes or even bees have brains inside their skulls? The short answer is yes, insects do have brains, and surprisingly, quite sophisticated ones. Just like our own, insect brains are complex structures divided into specific regions, each designated to handle certain types of information. … [Read more...] about Do insects have brains
Have you ever wondered why we have fingerprints? Surely, they're a fundamental tool in forensics, but that can't possibly be the reason why evolution endowed us with this trait, right? Forensics started using fingerprints in person identification a mere 100 and some more years ago. Even if we consider Babylonians using fingerprints to sign clay tablets, it is still quite … [Read more...] about Holding on with your fingertips: evolutionary function of fingerprints
Have you heard that humans evolved from monkeys or that evolution cannot explain the evolution of complex organs, such as an eye? Unfortunately, these are misconceptions, and the theory of evolution is among the most misunderstood sciences. Even more so, I think there is also a stubborn urge to interpret and comment on it without understanding. Unfortunately, it also … [Read more...] about Seven misconceptions about evolution
When we think about evolution, we often view it as fierce competition, survival of the fittest, and selfishness in a struggle for resources. It's every individual for themselves, right? However, paradoxically, we often see selfless and altruistic behavior of animals in the natural world. they help each other, sometimes at their own expense—so how can this be? In this … [Read more...] about Why animals help each other: kin selection and inclusive fitness
Recent news headlines reveal that plants scream in ultrasound when scientists cut their leaves. We can't hear these sounds, but they're there, and we can record them. Media erroneously reported that as beyond doubt proof that plants, just like animals, communicate through sounds. They said that plants warn each other about danger through ultrasound screams and, most … [Read more...] about Do plants communicate distress through ultrasound screams?
Queens are peculiar, especially insect queens like bees and ants. They reproduce early in life and then lay eggs for the remainder of their lives without mating again. Most even stay within their nests. How is this possible? The secret lies in a specialized organ called the spermatheca. It is a sac-like structure (its name means "sperm case" in Greek) that can hold and … [Read more...] about How can queen bees or ants keep laying eggs without having sex ever again?
Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by scientific discoveries. I remember reading a special article in our local newspaper about scientists searching for life on Mars. To my disappointment, they weren't seeking little green men; instead, they were hunting for water. Nearly 30 years later, their search continues. Why is water so important? The primary reason is … [Read more...] about Four reasons why water is essential for life