What Animals Teach Christians about Getting Along

Portuguese_Man_o'_War_at_Palm_Beach_FL_by_Volkan_Yuksel_DSC05878
Portuguese Man o’ War By Volkan Yuksel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The deadly marine wonder, the Portuguese man o’ war, resembles a jellyfish with its beautiful blue and purple ship-shaped bladder and impressive 30-foot stinging tentacles. What may at first appear to be a single organism is actually a colony of four completely different types of polyp, working together so closely that they are not able to survive Continue reading

Exploring the Grey Areas: Why zoology sometimes hovers on the border of metaphysics – Or, when science and religion is at its best

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Meerkat Babies by Jon Pinder. Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We’ve probably all experienced the scenario of the irritatingly good teacher. You ask a perfectly straightforward question, but instead of a straightforward answer you receive a much harder question in return. This is good teaching, but it’s Continue reading

Better Together – Lichen’s Story

Can we really do better together? Is the natural world driven by competition alone, or is there space for cooperation between different Continue reading

Flies and Robotics: Ordered Irregularity

The organization of Drosophila wing epithelial cells after wing inflation. Iyengar, Balaji (2012). figshare. License <a
The organization of Drosophila wing epithelial cells after wing inflation. Iyengar, Balaji (2012). figshare. License CC-BY

As I child I wondered what would happen if my bones grew at a different speed to my skin? Would the bones pop out or would I have floppy boneless regions? How did everything coordinate? As with most childhood questions, below the surface of the apparently childish simplicity there is a deep scientific question which parents often battle to answer. Continue reading

Cooperative Slime: A sociable amoeba that sheds light on altruism?

Copyright, M.J. Grimson & R.L. Blanton, Biological Sciences Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Texas Tech University
Copyright, M.J. Grimson & R.L. Blanton, Biological Sciences Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Texas Tech University

The first time I saw a video of a slime mould I was completely captivated. Dictyostelium discoidium is not slimy or a mould, but an amoeba with an amazing ability. When food is plentiful they reproduce simply by Continue reading

The Ultimate Reservoir of Wonder: Questions of science and philosophy

© Jeff Schloss
© Jeff Schloss

What happens when scientists team up with full-time philosophers? This is something that Professor Jeff Schloss has been doing for the last twenty years, exploring questions about altruism, morality and human uniqueness. Continue reading

The Wood-Wide Web

© RM Bancewicz
© RM Bancewicz

This spring, I experienced old-growth forest for the first time. I’m not sure that we have such undisturbed woodlands left in the UK[1], but on a visit to Vancouver Island I saw the most incredible temperate rainforest that made recent tree plantations look completely and utterly sterile. Owing to the relatively mild, wet climate of British Columbia, mosses and ferns cover nearly every available surface, and the undergrowth is close to impenetrable. Continue reading