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Vibrational communication in mammals
Kangaroo rats drum their foot on the ground upon encountering a snake. Why? Read on for this and many other fascinating examples of vibrational communication in mammals…
Echolocation in bats
How can bats navigate in total darkness amongst trees and branches, but still locate a tiny, fluttering insect with extraordinary acuity? All made possible through echolocation, an astonishing sensory mechanism…
Pressure sensitivity and the tactile sense (excluding the lateral line)
The star-nosed mole is famous for, well, its nose, but do you have any idea what these peculiar 'tentacles' are for? The answer is rather touching and, of course, convergent...
Secondary xylem (wood) in vascular plants
Evolution of wood in plants as distantly related as lignophytes, Calamites and Lepidodendron is an elegant example of convergent evolution. Plants responded in a similar way to a need for better structural support as they diversified and increased in size.
Desert plants with succulent stems
Fleshy, succulent stems have evolved in several distantly related desert plant families, including cacti, certain species of Euphorbia and two genera of the family Asclepiadaceae, Hoodia and Stapelia.
Succulent desert plants
Classic examples of convergence in desert plants include the so-called 'stem succulent' cacti in the Americas and cactus-like Euphorbia species in Africa and South Asia, and also the striking similarity between 'leaf succulent' Agave and Yucca of the Americas and Aloe and its close relatives in Africa.
Intelligence and cognition in birds
House sparrows are known to gain access to shopping malls by flying in front of sensors that operate sliding doors, whilst herons have been shown to be adept fishers using baits and lures.
Tool use in birds
What animals can drop stones into a water-filled tube to bring floating food within reach or bend wire to form a hook? Obviously chimpanzees? No, New Caledonian crows have evolved sophisticated tool use too.
Sleep in animals
Suffering from insomnia? Fruit flies do as well...
Electroreception in fish, amphibians and monotremes
From an evolutionary point of view, electroreception is particularly intriguing as a sense modality that has been repeatedly lost and reinvented again.