A description of planet Mercury including its slow rotation around its axis and short orbit around the Sun. An explanation of the planet’s atmosphere, elliptical orbit, magnetic field and the apparent motion of the Sun across the mercurian sky; a description of mercurian night and day. Significant features of the planetary surface are explained including impact craters and impact basins.
Reasons why our hunter gatherer ancestors originally evolved a sense of taste; the five senses of taste explained; how our taste receptors are housed in our taste buds; a description of what taste buds are and how our taste receptors work; the four different types of papillae and where they are located on our tongues; the taste buds of some other organisms including catfish, cows, ducks and cats.
Reasons for the evolution of eyesight during the Cambrian explosion; how the evolution of eyesight resulted in organisms becoming either prey or predators. An explanation of how eyesight evolved through eight simple steps; recessed light sensitive cells, the pin hole eye including a description of the eye of the nautilus mollusc; the spherical lens with greater refractive powers.
The conditions required for nuclear fusion to occur in the core of the Sun; the requirements for extreme pressure, extreme heat and the presence of hydrogen. How the process of nuclear fusion takes place; the state of plasma that exists in the core of the Sun and how protons fuse together to produce helium atoms; the state of hydrostatic equilibrium; Sun in 4.5 billion years time.
The evolution, growth, pollination and seed dispersal of the Coco de Mer palm tree; how the Coco de Mer evolved over millions of years in the tropical rainforests of the Seychelles; discovery of the palm tree; the unusual way in which the Coco de Mer nut germinates; how nuts become infertile and how they reach the Maldives on ocean currents; the evolutionary pressures to grow bigger and bigger seeds.
This science blog examines the differences between constrictors and venomous snakes; how the two different types of snake kill their prey in different ways. Using Homer as an example, we explore negative reactions to snakes and try to counter these negative reactions. We looks at some reasons why snakes have a place in any eco system and what would happen if there were fewer snakes.
This is the first of two science projects that investigate the evolution of snakes. We learn how snakes evolved from lizards one hundred and twenty million years ago when Cretaceous lizards hunted food underground. We investigate evolutionary features that distinguish snakes from lizards including their long backs, absence of limbs, unique eyes and unique way in which they eat and digest their food.
This article investigates different ways in which plants disperse their seeds using the wind. Different methods of wind dispersal are explained including gliding, parachuting, autorotating, spinning/fluttering and tumbling. Examples are provided for each different method including the flying seeds of Javan Cucumber Vines. Botanical terms are explained including the ‘papus’, ‘achene’ and ‘samara’.
An investigation of how plants disperse seeds using animals, birds and other organisms. We look at different ways in which hitchhiker seeds have evolved to attach themselves to the bodies of animals and birds; we examine how organisms eat the fruits of plants containing seeds and later excrete the seeds which can then germinate; we look at seeds whose primary dispersers are long extinct.
This science project looks at the life of Edmond Halley and his work predicting the return of the comet that now bears his name. We investigate Comet Halley’s nucleus and its seventy-six year elliptical orbit. We consider how the orbit of the comet leaves debris in its wake and why meteor showers occur twice a year as a result. We briefly look at some of Edmond Halley’s other notable achievements.