The evolution, growth, pollination and seed dispersal of the amazing Coco de Mer palm tree. How the Coco de Mer evolved over millions of years in the tropical rainforests of the Seychelles. The unusual way in which the Coco de Mer nut germinates. How infertile nuts reached the Maldives on ocean currents. The evolutionary pressures to grow bigger and bigger seeds. How the species is critically endangered.
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 120 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 76 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.
Bart Simpson and his amazing discovery of a comet unknown to astronomy. How Springfield is threatened with destruction by ‘Comet Bart Simpson’. Professor Frink explains the features of comets to less intelligent people; we learn about their nuclei, comas, gas and ion tails.The nucleus of a comet as it approaches the sun. Consequences of having a weak force of gravitational attraction.
This science project investigates the features and characteristics of planet Uranus; the length of a Uranian day; orbit of Uranus around the sun and Uranian seasons; weather and unusual axis of rotation; structure of the planet including its core, mantle and atmosphere; force of gravity and atmospheric pressure; eccentricity and perturbation of the moons; formation of rings and their composition.
William Herschel and his discovery of Uranus;mistaking Uranus for a comet; appointment as personal astronomer to the king; building a 40 foot telescope; his discovery of two moons of Saturn Mimas and Enceladus; his discovery of two moons of Uranus Titania and Oberon; observations about the Martian ice cap; invention of the term ‘asteroid’; discovery of infrared light; discovery that corals are animals and not plants
William Herschel’s early life and reasons for moving from Germany to England; how this accomplished musician became interested in astronomy; building his own telescope; refractor and reflector telescopes explained; discovery of binary stars and nebulae; hypothesis that nebulae were not only clouds of cosmic gas and dust but also contained stars; mapping the Milky Way.