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Foregut fermentation in birds
A foregut-fermenting bird was long considered a paradox. But what about the hoatzin, a curious South American bird known locally as the "stinking pheasant" thanks to its smell of fresh cow manure?
Agriculture in dugongs
When you think of grazing mammals, you might envisage large herds of antelopes roaming African savannahs. Did you know that there is an equivalent in the ocean, feeding on seagrass?
Agriculture in aquatic snails
Termites and ants are famous for tending fungal gardens, but did you know that also a marine snail farms a fungus? And this is not the only example of agriculture in this group…
Foam nests in animals
Nests crop up everywhere, but one made out of foam? Might not sound like a great idea, but it is. And no surprise, it has evolved several times...
Extremophiles: Archaea and Bacteria
Surely, no organism can survive in boiling water or brines nine times the salinity of seawater? Wrong - some archaea and bacteria have independently evolved adaptations to such extreme environments...
Gut fermentation in herbivorous animals
Ever tried eating a newspaper? Don't. Plant cell walls contain cellulose, which is notoriously difficult to digest. Considering that all vertebrates lack the enzymes to attack this polysaccharide, how do so many of them manage to survive on a plant diet?
Agriculture: from ants to dugongs
Human farmers tending their fields are a familiar sight. But don't forget about those fungus-farming termites or the fish with a garden of algae…