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How an ant can lift so much weight?



- WATCH VIDEO: Find out the main reason why ants can carry so much weight.


-OR READ THE TRANSCRIPT: 


Engineers have long marveled at how an ant can carry heavy objects more than its weight.

What is its secret?

Its secret is its neck structure.


Ant neck structure

 
Amazingly, according to the journal of biomechanics the neck joint of an ant can withstand pressures up to five thousand times the ant's weight.

Initially, scientists guessed that an ant might withstand one thousand times their weight judging by the leaves and prey they carry.

Thus these current findings were beyond expectation.

When humans carry only a third of their weight they may be unable to move fast after a few kilometers they may begin panting and require a break.

If you expect this to apply to ants then you are mistaken they can carry this weight effortlessly.

Ants accomplish even more when they work together you can see them carrying insects of considerable size through very uneven terrain and landscape.

Why are ants able to withstand those pressures with ease?


Withstanding pressure  


The researchers' micro ct scans of the ant's neck, reveal the unique interface between the soft and hard material connecting its head.

It explains why the ant's neck has unique properties of being both flexible and stiff at the same time.

However much remains to be learned on how the ants neck works this knowledge will greatly aid in making better robotic arms used in lifting objects.

They will be able to carry things that are more than their weight.

We hope this information has helped you understand why an ant is able to carry so much weight.

The mystery of dull coot parents but colorful chicks



- WATCH VIDEO: For some time scientists have been puzzled as to why coot chicks are colorful while their adult parents have dull colors. Here are some recent finds that might explain this anomaly.


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The mystery of dull parents but colorful chicks


The coot usually builds a nest from the stems of marsh plants. 

It makes it from living or dead plant materials, such as reeds and grass. 

The structure is almost always on the water as a floating platform.

Coot chicks are born with a colorful mix of black and yellow-orange feathers, unlike their dull black and white parents.

Scientists have long wondered why there is a big difference between the colors displayed by coot chicks and their coot adult parents. 

Colorful plumage in birds is mainly used for mating and courting displays. 

Often, male birds tend to be the ones attracting mates; hence they tend to be more colorful.

But this is not the case with coot chicks. 

They lose their beautiful colors by the time they reach sexual maturity. 

Furthermore, chicks are typically more vulnerable to predators than adults are, so why should they have bright colors? 

It has been a mystery for some time.

But now, scientists from the National Academy of Science think they've solved the mystery. 

In a study they published, the researchers explain how they found a correlation between coot chick color ornamentation and the order in which those chicks hatched. 

Therefore, it turns out that the chicks that hatch later become more colorful.

But why should this strange correlation exist? 

Researchers found that the coot parents have a strategy of picking favorites, making sure that the most colorful chicks are the best fed.

Initially, the first chicks get a head start in growth, but everything changes ten days after the last chick hatches. 

From this point, the parents start allocating more food to the younger ones to ensure they survive. 

Hence, the color code becomes very useful to coot parents to identify the younger chicks. 

Indeed, this is especially difficult to do when 8 to 10 chicks are scrambling for your attention.

A coot's nesting behavior also reveals that coots use a breeding tactic called brood parasitism. 

Brood parasitism is a breeding strategy where a female lays its eggs in a host nest to fool them into raising their chicks. 

However, according to a study by the University of California Santa Cruz, coots have learned to counter this by using the hatching order to recognize and reject the invader's chicks. 

So again, the color code comes in handy.

A coot needs to recognize its chicks to ensure they will be among those that will survive. 

It is critical as it is usually for a coot to have more chicks than it can raise. 

Therefore, some will inevitably die due to a lack of enough food. 

The chicks are reliant on their parent's feeding for at least a month, after which they start slowly becoming more independent.

How do chameleon eyes work?



- WATCH VIDEO: Discover three amazing facts about a chameleon's eyes that make them unique among eyes in the animal kingdom.


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READ THE TRANSCRIPT:

How do chameleon eyes work?



1.  Eye rotation



First, the chameleon can rotate its eyes with a high degree of freedom without moving its head.
 
This ability enables the chameleon to have an unrestricted view in any direction.


2. Monocular and binocular vision

 
Secondly, the chameleon can smoothly transition between monocular and binocular vision.
 
It means they can view objects with their eye independently or with both eyes together.

Scientists initially thought that the eyes function separately because each eye moved independently.
 
However, recent research has shown there is close coordination between both eyes.

How so?
 
When tracking prey, chameleons can monitor two targets at the same time independently, with each eye focusing on a different target.
 
However, when they finally decide which prey to target with their tongue, they now use both eyes to focus on this one target for the final strike.


3. Concave lens


Another outstanding feature of chameleon eyes is that they have a concave lens.
 
The image size captured by the retina is increased, thus making possible a more precise focus on distant objects.
 
Nothing compares to the chameleon's eye image magnification ability in all other vertebrates. 

However, this makes them not have very good near vision. 

Fortunately, they do not need to get close to their prey. They use their long sticky tongue to capture prey from afar distance.

We hope this information has helped you appreciate the workings of a chameleon's eyes.

What giraffes like to eat?



- WATCH VIDEO: Giraffe has a very long tongue. It may reach up to 22 inches. In comparison a human's adult tongue is about 3 inches. But what does the giraffe like to eat with that long tongue? Find out.

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READ THE TRANSCRIPT:

What giraffes like to eat?


Giraffes are mainly herbivorous, thus their diet mostly consist of plants. 

But what do giraffes like to eat? 


Acacia tree leaves


There favorite food of choice are the acacia leaves. The acacia tree usually grows in warm climates like Africa and Australia. 

This is why the savanna plains where the giraffe lives, is mainly covered by the acacia trees.

One outstanding feature of the acacia tree is that they have long and sharp thorns. 

This thorns are meant to deter animals from feeding on it. 

However, this is where the giraffe’s long neck and tongue comes in handy. 

They ensure that the giraffe can be able to maneuver around the thorns and reach the leaves. 


Benefits of eating acacia leaves


The major benefits of eating acacia leaves is that it contains a good amount of water. 

This minimizes the need for the giraffe to drink water often. Drinking water for giraffe is a tedious and dangerous process. 

This is when a giraffe is most vulnerable to predators. So the less they have to do it the better.



Dry season diet


A giraffes diet is also affected by what is available. 

During dry season they switch to what is readily available and may even snack on fruits. 

Thus they may eat other plants such as mimosa, myrrh, bush willows and even grass. 

Furthermore, they may also change to other part of plants such as seeds, buds and even branches of trees.

Strange diet needs



Strangely, giraffes on rare occasions may also chew and suck bones of other dead animals when they feel they are lacking certain specific nutrients. 

They use their saliva to dissolve the nutrients and absorb them into their body.


How much can an adult giraffe eat? 


A giraffe can eat up to 34 kilograms of food, however they may need only 15 kilograms to survive.

We hope this information has help you gain a better understanding on what a giraffe feeds on.

Why turtles and tortoises live so long?



- WATCH VIDEO: Discover the 3 important things that make turtles and tortoises are able to live long.

- OR 
READ THE TRANSCRIPT:

Why are turtles and tortoises able to live so long? 


Let us consider 3 main factors:

1. Slow Metabolism


  Metabolism: "typically refers to the chemical and physical processes that happen within a living being so as to make them stay alive."  


One major reason turtles are believed to have such long lifespans is their slow metabolism. 

Turtles and tortoises continue to grow very slowly throughout their lives. This prevents them from aging in the same way other animals do. 

Furthermore, turtles are generally very slow-moving and relaxed animals this helps in keeping their energy requirements very low. Thus they generally live stress free lives.

2. Healthy lifestyle


Turtles and tortoises are omnivores like us humans. That means they eat a variety of foods, including meat and fish to vegetables and fruits. 

Usually what they eat usually amounts to a balance diet. They ensure they eat vegetables that they come across in their region. 

When turtles and tortoises are young, they need to eat a lot more protein, so younger turtles tend to be more carnivorous. But as they grow old, turtles start eating less meat and more vegetation.

3. Protection from predators


When protecting themselves from predators turtles and tortoises first line of defense is their shell. Once fully developed, the toughened shell keeps them safe from most predators. 

Turtles and tortoises tend also to live in locations where there aren’t many predators in the first place, at least none that live as long as turtles to attack them repeatedly and make their lives difficult. 

Sea turtles on the other hand, live a long life as there is less danger to their extinctions down underwater. 

Thanks to turtles and tortoises slow metabolisms, they can also survive long periods without food or water, thus they are able to survive and tolerate harsh conditions well.

Great egret mating season

 Bird Pictures

Great egret mating season.

Russet-naped wood rail bird

Bird Pictures

Russet-naped wood rail bird.

Picture of a Tyrannosaurus

Mammal Pictures

Picture of a Tyrannosaurus.

It would have been very terrifying to live in the dinosaur jurassic period. Although they are now extinct, even just imagining them can instill in us both feelings of awe and fear at the same time. Here is an animated illustration of a Tyrannosaurus.

Great blue heron with it's reflection

Bird Pictures

Great blue heron with it's reflection.

Herons have long legs to be able to wade through shallow waters of oceans as well as lakes and wetlands. Here is a great blue heron with it's reflection.

Pretty blue tit

Bird Pictures

Pretty blue tit.

Lioness drinking water at Okavango delta

Mammal Pictures

Lioness drinking water at Okavango delta.

Owls amazing wings for flight

Bird Pictures

Owls amazing wings for flight.

Owl wings have a large surface area relative to the weight of the bird. This makes them to fly effortlessly without too much flapping and aid them glide easily for long periods of time.