India prevented people patenting their foods, traditional medicines, and yoga poses by recording them all in an online database: 34 million pages’ worth.
Worker bees will eject waste to keep the hive clean. But if the waste is too big to carry out, say a dead mouse, it will instead be mummified.
A mutated gene that improves reproductive success spreads widely – this is one of the principles of evolution. But sometimes other genes come along for the ride.
Jesus Christ is associated with many images: the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd… and the Pelican?
The 1952 Miller-Urey experiment synthesised amino acids essential to life from inorganic materials. The experiment’s vials were then sealed, and when scientists re-examined them 55 years later they were surprised at what was inside.
When did we start wearing clothes? We don’t know for sure, but the genetics of lice, prehistoric needles, and ivory carvings give us some clues.
What do bullet ants and guarana have in common? The Sateré-Mawé people of Brazil.
Cats hold a special place in Islam, reaching back as far as Muhammad’s own love of the animals.
How do you work out the function of a specific gene? Knock them out one by one and see what happens.
Fukuoka, Japan, is home to an iconic ziggurat-like building topped by a dozen roof garden steps.
Any attempt to categorise knowledge inevitably reinforces our cultural and epistemological biases. And nowhere is this demonstrated better than the absurd taxonomy of animals created by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Dogs diverged genetically from wolves between 20 and 40 millennia ago. But the first specimen that is indisputably a dog was found in a German quarry and dates back 14,200 years.
Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The loneliest tree in the world was knocked over by a drunk driver in 1978. The new loneliest tree in the world is very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand.
In 1875, trillions (yes, trillions) of Rocky Mountain locusts swarmed over the western United States. Thirty years later, they were extinct.