Long before humans arrived on this planet, elephants have been walking on Earth. Often referred to as the ‘keystone’ species by scientists, these gentle giants play a significant role in maintaining the ecological balance of their habitat.
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“Ecology is boring for the same reason that destruction is fun”, said Don DeLillo, an American novelist and playwright. This saying resonates very well with road ecology. Road kills are soon forgotten till the next one happens, reckless driving in protected areas is ubiquitous and polluting ecologically sensitive area is an act of no shame. And, this is not fun!
Savitri is a cheerful 6-year old girl with twinkle in her eyes and swiftness in her feet. She is extremely delighted to pen down the curvy tip of the beak of Purple-rumped Sunbird in her note, her 100th bird species to be identified during her birding trips. The alluring plumage, swift flight, striking songs of these feathered friends fascinate not only her, but the entire mankind!
Crab spiders are a family of small, pretty spiders, some of which you could find in your own backyard or even on a potted plant. They are accomplished ambush hunters, making meals out of insects much larger than themselves – a crab spider half the size of your fingernail can easily grab a large butterfly. They are coloured to blend in remarkably with their surroundings, much like an octopus or a chameleon would. They perch on a hunting platform of their choice – usually the centre or base of a flower – and lie in waiting for their prey to venture close enough.
Henrietta Lacks was just 31 years old when she passed away in October of 1951, succumbing to a short battle with cervical cancer. A poor, African-American tobacco farmer, her life and death was a quiet affair, perhaps most felt by her five young children and the widower she left behind.
The name ‘retrovirus’ raises more questions than provide answers. The term ‘retro’ reminds us of disco balls, bouffant hairstyles and polka dots. However, a retrovirus is not merely a virus with questionable fashion sense! It is a virus belonging to a family of single-stranded RNA viruses.
Onion (Allium cepa) and garlic (Allium sativum), belonging to the same genus ‘Allium’ has a lot of similarities in their chemical composition, but differ in their reactions. Almost every observable characteristic of these familiar vegetables can be attributed to a cascade of chemical reactions initiated by metabolites containing Sulfur.
Growing up in the USA, ten-year-old Steven was asked in school to read aloud a passage from a newspaper. The article described the opening of the first Disneyland. However, all the poor boy could see on the paper was this—“In a grand ceremony Disneyland opened in California to delirious applause.” Steven Spielberg did not know it at the time—and indeed until he was formally diagnosed several years later—that he was dyslexic.
If you were a travelling salesman, who travels to many places selling something, the most challenging part of the job is to find the shortest route to these places without visiting any of them twice. But, did you know many birds, animals and even insects like bees solve a similar problem in their daily lives while searching for food?
Anyone who has ever had a relative in a hospital or watched any form of medical drama will have heard of 'ECG'. Come to think of it, almost everybody has. An ECG or an electrocardiogram checks if your heart is working properly by measuring the electric current it generates as it beats.