Biology

A double edged sunscreen

  Biological soil crusts are unique ecosystems in arid landscapes (whether cold or hot ones) or can be colonisers of habitats disturbed by climatic catastrophes or humans. Recently, a team of scientists examined the capacity of a type of biological crust to produce a kind of sunblock but it seems that this molecule comes with its own harmful costs…

The newest addition to our family – Fossil Friday

It is quite rare that we can add a new member to the Homo family, but it is what happened last year. Homo naledi, a long lost cousin of our species, has been added to the already complex family tree of the genus Homo. At Sci&Fi, we just wished these other humans were still alive, it would be such a…
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Ancestral hair – Fossil Friday

Here is the Spinolestes xenarthrosus, or the fur ball as it has been nicknamed by the media. But it does not do it justice because this early mammal is the oldest evidence for a lot of features. While it is hard to appreciate it in this photo, it contained one of the basic elements that constitute modern mammals, hairs. Indeed,…
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Some true love birds

We think we have found some of the cutest couples there exist out there. These little guys would rather not eat than move away from their mate and would go at great length to just be with them. True romance in the animal kingdom 🙂

Unnoticeable cooperation – Fossil Friday

There are discoveries that await to be made. In 2012, an astonishing discovery was made on a 453 to 458 Million years old slab of rock that had been sitting in a museum for already over a century. It was discovered that a colony of a species of prehistoric plankton was full of connections between the individual living spaces.  A…
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Oldest plant fossil – Fossil friday

You are looking at the oldest plant remains scientists have ever found. These are spores (cryptospores to be precise) which are no bigger than 40 µm (micrometers) from at least five different species including an unknown one (h). They dated the rocks containing them and found their age to be 471 to 473 millions of years old! Although none of…
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The snake sanctuary

This time, we come back down to Earth and look into a deadly Snake Sanctuary. Its name means land-clearing fire, it is located kilometers away from the Brazilian coast, its lush rainforest harbours some of the deadliest snakes on Earth, let’s enter the Ilha Queimada Grande…

The desert locust, millenary plague

It is one of the ten Biblical plagues but a source of food; harmless when alone, a curse when grouped in swarms of millions of individuals… the desert locust. It’s biology is complex and changing, it can turn into a monster devouring everything on its path in a matter of days if the conditions force it too. As it was…
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Europe’s only wild monkeys

Man is not the only primate present in Europe. But would you know where to find the other one? If you have ever been to the Rock of Gibraltar, in the South of Spain, you surely haven’t missed its main attraction, the macaques. If you have never been then know that these are the only wild monkeys present in Europe!…
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