Biology news

folk remedies

At ... we learn that a medieval cure by a so called 'leech doctor' was found to treat superbugs that modern doctors struggle to cope with. A recipe for an 'eye salve' surprised researchers when it worked against the superbug MRSA which is apparently resistant to modern antibiotics. The recipe came from Bald's Leechbook and calls for garlic and onions, wine, and bile from a cow. The mix had to be brewed in brass and left for ten days.

What did mammoths eat

To get an idea we only need to look at what elephants consume - and they are much smaller than mammoths. At ... we find they eat as much as 660lbs of vegetation in a day - and they drank as much as 50 gallons of water in a single 24 hour stint. The interesting thing is that because they need to drink so much water, in the wild, they are never far from rivers and water holes. They are even capable of excavating holes in the ground in search of underground water sources - by using their tusks as digging tools.

Age of Reptiles

At ... there is quite a nice discussion of the cataloguing of animal remains to specific periods of time with an emphasis on dinosaurs. The Mesozoic began 250 million years ago and lasted up till the K/T boundary event around 63 million years ago. It is defined as the Age of Reptiles which came out of the idea that reptiles were the dominant species throughout the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of time. The idea goes all the way back to the 19th century where these things were first being discovered by scientists of the modern era.

big elephants

During the Pleistocene Ice Ages some mammal species had a large than life form. Cave bears were large in comparison to modern bears and giant elks roamed the temperate regions. We also had giant sloths, giant cats and beavers, and giant elephants. These were the mammoths.

Jurassic mammals

The New York Times of February 17th 2015 had a piece on Jurassic mammals. It said that scientists once thought the only mammals that existed alongside the dinosaurs during the Jurassic were small shrew like creatures. Why such insignificant life forms should expand to fill the niches created by the extinction event at the end of the dinosaur age has always been somewhat of a mystery. In 2006 a fossil beaver like animal was found and more recently, other mammal fossils somewhat larger than the humble shrew.


Boabs grow native to Africa and Madagascar - and a single relative thrives in the Kimberley region of NW Australia. How did boabs reach Australia?


Are flies vermin? Velikovsky accused this humble insect of being vermin and in the right circumstances they are - blue bottles especially. However, they also have a more beneficial role in human affairs - it is being suggested they are major pollinators of food crops. See

Building Blocks of Life

Media discussions on the Rosetta mission are fond of telling us that the probe on the comet is all about studying the origins of life - from outer space. This contrasts with the sort of thing you might read on blogs such as that of Phil Plait where the idea of life from space is regarded as junk science - and people like Chandra Wickramasinghe are described in unfavourable terms. Such blogs are designed to defend the faith - manning the ramparts of consensus science. At ...

lampreys, bird eggs, and bird brains.

At ... lamprey larva are soft and small and are rarely fossilised. Lampreys themselves are also rarely fossilised because they do not have a skeleton - they have no bones and no teeth. They suck blood. However, in Lower Mongolia there is a Late Cretaceous shale deposit with a perfectly preserved collection of lampreys and their larvae.

influenza 1918

At ... there is a discussion on the 1918 influenza epidemic, overshadowed as it was by WWI (which ended in the same year) and the idea it was space born in origin, specifically in the wake of strong geomagnetic storms close to inferior conjunctions of Venus with the Sun.