Panthera leo


Most of us know about the Kings of the Animals, but I researched a few facts that I did not know about these amazing creatures, some of them may surprise you…

  1. You can tell the age by the colour of the nose. The nose starts out pink then as the lion ages the nose darkens to black.
  2. Lion’s are the only felines to have hair surrounding their face, called manes, hunt and live in groups.
  3. The colour of a lion’s mane can show the strength of the lion, the lighter the mane the weaker the animal.lion-cub-pic.jpg
  4. The sounds made by hyenas feeding attract lions, because it is a simple task to scare away the hyenas in order to get a free feast.
  5. The majority of the time lions do not hunt elephants due to the fact that they are too large, but it has been discovered that there are some prides (groups or packs of lions) that will hunt these animals.
  6. Lions prefer to hunt during the night.
  7. The lionesses are the ones who do the hunting for the pride.
  8. If a new male joins a pride he will, most often, kill all of the cubs to insure that his genes are the genes that get passed on.
  9. The feeding order is: lion, lioness, and cub.
  10. You can tell one lion from another by the spots on his or her muzzle.
  11. Male lions tend to consume 15-60lbs of food in one sitting; therefore they only hunt every two to three days.
  12. The cubs are usually born two to four per litter.
  13. When running for short periods of time they can run up to 58 kilometres per hour.
  14. Lion’s life expectancy is about 15 years.
  15. From nose to tip of tail lions range in length form 6.69ft to 9.79ft.

Cirac, T. (n.d.). Quiz: lions. Retrieved from

McGrath, M. (n.d.). Animals: creature feature. Retrieved from

Diminutive hummingbird’s secret: a big brainhummingbird.jpg
When thinking of hummingbirds, most people think only about how fast they can move and how often they beat their wings. But a few scientists took it to the next step, what enables the hummingbirds to be able to beat their wings at such a fast pace? They found out that the hummingbird has nuclei, which control how much visual intake they have, is about two to five times as large as any other species nuclei (comparing in size ratio). They think this is what is making these birds able to have amazing accuracy and precision, though they will be looking into this more deeply at a later time. For now it stays a mystery as to way these little birds can move the way they do. Go see a video of a hummingbird in slow motion!

unknown, . (2006). Diminutive hummingbird’s secret: a big brain . Retrieved from

Re-growing hearts??

The red-spotted newt of North America has been found to be able to fully repair its heart if it is damaged, and they will regain all functions of the organ. The ability to regain the use of the heart is brought down to the heart cells to be able to go through cell division, and these cells will divide rapidly in order for the heart to be repaired before it is too late. But by doing cell division quickly the cells are not made perfectly, they have a different level of protein and they sometimes loose their characteristic properties. Fortunately after roughly two weeks these cells will evolve so that each cell has the proper properties that it should have.
The scientists find it fascinating that the newts do not need to have stem cells in order to re-grow the muscle, they figure that the stem cells are not needed because the newts do not have as many specialized heart cells as a human does, so the theorize that when the cells form it is a simple process to make them become heart cells. Also, they believe that during the healing process the new cells communicate with the existing cells in order for them to recognize what their function shall be.
unknown, (2006). The Red-spotted newt. Retrieved from


Rhino horn riddle

Ever wonder why a rhinoceros’ horn doesn’t break off when the rhino’s get into fights? Well you probably thought that these horns were made out of a very strong type of bone, but in that sense you would be wrong. The horns are made entirely out of the material that makes up our fingernails and hair. You might be thinking that if those horns were really made out of keratin (fingernail) then they would easily snap off, or break in two. But the horns are strengthened by calcium and melanin. While the keratin is worn down by the sun and the abuse that the rhinos’ inflict upon these appendages, the calcium and melanin stay strong. And the horn gets the curved shape from the keratin wearing down and giving it its pointy tip.
All of these studies are being done on the horn so that it will show to the world that we do not need to poach these animals for their horns because they are made up of the exact material that make up our fingernails. They hope that this will allow the rhino population to survive, and that the killings will stop.

unknown, (2006). Rhino horn riddle. Retrieved from

Among apes, teeth are made for the toughest times

Apes primary source of food is fruit, and as a backup plan the apes will eat leaves and bark. The reason that the apes have a backup food source is because they have adapted so that their species does not become extinct, and they are in threat of becoming extinct because large companies have been invading their habitat and bulldozing all of the fruit bearing plants. But, having bark and chewy leaves as a backup food will not help anything unless they can eat it, so they evolved. Their molars became larger and got a thicker layer of enamel to protect the teeth. Now that the apes have changed it would be thought that they would be able to survive, but they have run into another problem, all of the trees that they eat the leaves and bark from are being cut down. These animals do not have a chance. In the article they remind people that we need to care for our planet and all of the creatures residing here. We need to stop taking away other species homes and start making an effort to protect these critters.
NIST, . (2009, December 18). Among Apes, teeth are made for the toughest times. Retrieved from

Ask A Scientist

I read this article and I thought it was pretty cool. A university student asked
"Why do injections hurt more on some parts of the skin than on others?" The scientist wrote that there are many nerves in our bodies and they lie just under the skin, so we can feel pain. With each part of our body there is a different amount of nerves, so there is different levels of pain for different amounts of nerves. He said that the places with the best tolerance for pain is in the back, shoulder, buttock, and thigh because they have fewer nerve endings. But, out of these four areas, the back is where the least amount of pain is felt during injections. This may make you wonder as to why all of our injections are given in the shoulder when it is less painful to give in the back. Well that would be because getting injections in your back is quite dangerous, due to the fact that if the doctor is not being careful he or she could puncture an organ, or artery. Also, the peferable spot for shots to be injected is in the shoulder because it is easily accessible for all the paitent will have to do is push up their sleeve and it's over and done with. The scientist also mentioned that there are scientists who are trying to come up with ways for shots to be less painful, and less scary. This is still a work in progress of course, and will hopefully come out in the near future.

injection.jpg, P. (2009, February). Ask a scientist. HHMI Bulletin, 22, 51.

Jon And Kate Plus 8
For the past few years I have watched Jon and Kate Plus 8, one thing I have always wondered is how did two sets of multiples? What is the reasoning for the multiple births?
Kate didn’t think that she was able to have children, so she went to the doctor and he concluded that she was right. But this news did not stop Jon and Kate from getting a child. They decided to use IUI, intrauterine insemination. In Kate’s case, she had an injection that induces ovulation so that the treatment can be done. When this injection has been given to the patient has a high chance of having multiple eggs enter the fallopian tube; which results multiple births. After the woman has ovulated, they take a sample of sperm from the woman’s partner and inject it into the uterus near the fallopian tube. This increases the chances in becoming pregnant.

After having a successful run with IUI, Jon and Kate had a set of twins, Mady and Cara. Once the two girls had grown out of their baby stage, Kate wanted to try for one more child. With much persuasion Jon thought that having one more kid would be a good thing. So back to the doctor they went, and went through with IUI for the second time. Again, they were happy to find that the treatment had worked, but they also found out that they were pregnant with seven children. After much shock and many tears, the doctors suggested in have a reduction but the Gosselins decided that they would go full term with all of the children. In the end Kate gave birth to three boys and three girls, one of the embryos did not develop. The boys are Aaden, Collin, and Joel, and the girls are Alexis, Hannah and Leah.

Babycenter, LLC. (2009). Fertility treatment: artificial insemination (iui). Retrieved from, K. (2008). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from

Light at the end of the Tunnel- A Near Death Experience

Near death experiences (NDE) are described as a glimpse into what ones life will be like after they have crossed over from the earth to the unknown. As scientists see it, it is an illusion created when the brain’s function is fading. Though nobody can be sure. Or that is what has been thought until now.
Kevin Nelson has an idea about NDEs, though none of these thoughts can be tested for it is near impossible to force somebody to have a NDE. He believes that people who have NDEs are actually people who are in a REM state. This is the state in which a person is in a light sleep, and their eyes move rapidly underneath their eyelids. One common REM is when you are just starting to drift into a good sleep and you get the feeling that you are falling and you wake up startled. Nelson believes that a NDE is basically the same thing as a REM, for most people who claim that they have had a NDE describe the same symptoms of a REM.
Scientists believe that what induces a NDE is lack of oxygen to the brain. Some also believe that “a flood of endorphins in the amygdale, a part of the brain associated with emotion, could lead to euphoria and feelings of detachment. Falling oxygen levels might also cause epilepsy-like electrical discharges in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory, leading to a rerun of life events.”
NDEs tend to happen when there is a panic or disaster at hand, for example, a car pile up. During these experiences the REM state can make the person either extremely calm, or they could make the person go into hysteria.
Fox, D. (2006, October 14). Light at the end of the tunnel. NewScientist, 192(2573), 48-50.

A thought to ponder…
Why is it that only domesticated animals get cancer?
Could it be that the wild animals aren’t tainted by man-made chemicals?

Does that mean that humans have caused the disease that they cannot cure?

“Out On A Limb”

There are two main theories on how humans evolved into being bipedalism. One is that we came from orang-utans, and the other is that we came from chimpanzees. The scientists that believe that we evolved from orang-utans because they have been found to “walk” in from branch to branch, by using their hands to help them stay balanced. They also think that the orang-utans then moved onto walking along the ground because of habitat changes, and that their legs became extended in order for walking to be easier. While there are scientists who believe that we evolved from chimps think that we started out walking on our knuckles and then started walking upright so because it was more energy efficient.
Though there is much research being done, neither of these two scientists can state that they are one hundred percent correct, but their theories cannot be proven wrong. So, for now we will have to keep wondering how we truly came to walk up-right, and we will have to wait for more fossils to be found to prove who is right and who is wrong.
I enjoyed reading this article because it showed me that there is more than one theory as to how we came to walk, as I had always assumed that we came from knuckle walking apes. I also learned that chimps have very bent leg joints, while orang-utans have more extended legs (like humans). I find this sort of evolution controversy very interesting.

Jones, D. (2008, March 8). Out On A Limb. NewScientist, 197(2646), 36-39.


Fainting Goats

There are little mysteries in life that some people find funny, but some people know what these mysteries are truly about. There is a disorder, Myotonia Congenita, which makes muscles in your body tense when moving after periods of rest. This is caused by a genetic disorder where the CLCN1 (“chloride channel 1; skeletal muscle”) gene has a mutation. This gene’s purpose is to create proteins that make up the channels that control the flow of charged ions from the cell into the muscle. The flow of the ions is what makes the muscle contract and relax, which is how animals move. But, in this disease the CLCN1 does not have the proper channels that distribute the ions; therefore the muscles do not relax which impairs the amount of movement in the muscle.
One of the most common areas of muscle that this disorder affects is the legs. For instance, if a person with this disorder were to sit down and watch a movie for an hour and a half, then they were to try to climb a set of stairs, they would most likely loose their balance and possibly fall over. Although any muscle can be affected, eyelids, hands, feet, arms, neck, etc.

This disorder is found 1 in every 100 000 people, but Myotonia Congenita is also commonly found in goats. There is a difference in goats that have this disorder and humans that do. It is that when the goat’s muscles tense it is due to fright instead of long periods of rest. There are many videos found on youtube that display the symptoms of this disorder.

National Institutes of Health (2007, February 14). NINDS myotonia congenita information page. Retrieved from
Genetics Home Reference (2009, September 25). Myotonia congenita. Retrieved from
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