Picture a land cut off from the rest of the world for millions of years. It is lush and green, with food aplenty. There are no natural predators – in fact, the animals that do live there have grown so accustomed to living in peace that they have lost any natural defensive capabilities. You might think of this place as a sort of real-world Hobbiton. Which, in 2016, is exactly what it is. New Zealand broke off from the super continent Gondwana 65 million years ago. Some species
One of the best studied and largest birds in the world, with the largest wing span of any living bird: the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) is vulnerable in the wild according to its ‘Red List’ status. Would you believe that global warming has made the world a more habitable place for this charismatic bird? A 2012 study in albatross reproduction found that more high speed winds in the southern hemisphere, a direct result of climate change, has allowed albatrosses to fat
Nature has been inspiring technology since the renaissance period, but a scientific discovery has never had such humble beginnings as the blue-rayed limpet. Here’s how a simple sea creature inspired the minds behind some of the latest tech. No bigger than a 5p coin, this tiny mollusc inhabits kelp forests along the coasts of northern Europe. The vibrant blue stripes on the limpet’s shell that attracted researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Tec
Ever heard of diatom? No? You're not alone. These beautifully patterned, unicellular phytoplankton (a group of algae) are often overlooked, literally. Diatoms are small (and when I say small I mean microscopic) with the cells ranging from 2 to 500 microns (or 0.002-0.5 mm). However, although they are small they have a massive impact on our lives. The Art of Diatoms Diatoms live in aqueous environments; from rivers and oceans to bogs and damp rock surfaces. They are nature's o
In 1839 Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’, prior to that figures from Shakespeare to Thomas Jefferson expressed the same idea. All early acknowledgers of a shifting power base, from those with a capability for violence to those with a mastery of words.
Gone are the days where problems can be solved by a slap with the glove and duel to the death. No single factor has caused this transition but undoubtedly the growing complexity of th