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Mimicry

Survival of the fittest and struggle for existence are two of the famous terms in Biology. It is obvious that all the living life forms are subject to that statement once or many times during their lifetime.  Life is a constant struggle for survival, whether the fight is for food or for mating or just to survive the challenges that environment throws at you. Only those who are best adapted to the ever changing environmental conditions survive and reproduce. To do so, different animals have devised different types of techniques to be well adapted or to just survive and thrive. One of the most interesting of such adaptation or behavior displayed in nature is Mimicry.

 

Mimicry

Mimicry refers to the similarities developed between non related species, which is used for beneficial reason, that can be for food or protection or survival. It’s sort of a survival adaptation with favorable changes which relates to a better suited animals in the wild.

The forms of mimicry can differ, morphological similarities, behavioral similarities, communicative similarities. Mimicry can be analogous to camouflage in a sense, when it comes to an anti-predator adaptation. A mechanism developed by an organism to counteract against its predator. In simplest of terms, a harmless prey mimics a harmful prey in front of a predator, in order to confirm its survival, because the predator hesitates to attack a harmful prey.  For example, two snakes species found in Thailand, Assamese Mountain Snake and the Big-eyed Mountain Keelback , both of these Snakes are harmless, but when threatened they mimic a Cobra by raising its hood in a similar manner to that of a Cobra. Hence, it will manage to scare of its predator, which  will assume that it’s a cobra.

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Why Evolution makes sense?

There are millions of different types of plants and animals in our planet. The basic underlying genetic plan or structure of all those animals are similar. Of all the million types of possible molecules that we have on earth, strangely all the living animals and plants have genes that are made up of the similar molecule, the DNA. That can’t possibly be just a coincidence. Most people brush off the idea of evolutionary theories being wrong even while struggling to understand the basic principle under work here. Why does Evolution makes sense?

Here’s why! 

  • Taxonomy 

The simplest of way to understand the trends in evolution comes from taxonomy. Taxonomy refers to the  science of systematics and classification of organism. Most people, even the students of Zoology and Botany, fail to realize that, what classification shows is a gradual change from a primitive animal to more advanced forms of organisms climbing up the ladder of classification system. It shows that in the series of animals starting from Protozoa to Mammals, the invertebrates to vertebrates of highest forms, there is a gradual change in forms in the animals that follow up the ladder. If there was no gradual change from a primitive animals to the advanced forms, why is it that we don’t see an advanced form of animals in the middle of the ladder of classification? Why is there a distinct pattern of Evolution seen there? Let’s say, if it was a random origin, or if someone created all the animals in the world, why do we not see animals such as birds, which are advanced form of life, between Platyhelminthes  and say Arthropoda? Or why do we not see Mammals,  the most advanced forms of animals before Protozoa? If not for Evolutionary concept, religious, mammals or especially humans are the most important animals or most talked about, why were the Protozoans created first and only few billions years later mammals were created? That surely doesn’t make sense, does it? Let’s not talk about the advanced mammals or humans. Let’s just talk about the fishes, as soon  as the hot mass of earth cooled, there was water eventually, but still the fishes first appeared in the Silurian period of Paleozoic era.(Silurian period is when diversification of bony fishes took place, though the earliest fishes were prevelant in during Ordovician period)  Why? They could have easily come in between Poriferans and Coelenterates who fully enjoyed living in the water? Why they had to wait for millions of years to exist? That too with characters accumulated gradually with time with all the preceding animals? It would take a whole book to give examples of such events! I have just outlined the evolutionary events within the Animals, there are plenty of such examples within plants and even microorganisms.   Continue reading “Why Evolution makes sense?”

ठिटोको कुरो ‘I/NGO गोष्ठी देखि वेबिनार सम्म’

Photo Taken from: eeecos.org
Photo Taken from: eeecos.org

हेर्नुस है भर्खरै इञ्जिनियरिङ्ग सकेको ठिटोले ठाडै भन्दियो ‘सरकारीको नोकरी चै गरिन्न, I/NGO मा जागिर खाने हो’ । परो फसाद बा आमालाई, धन्न बुझ्ने बा/आमा, सोच्नु भो होला ‘अब केटाको पढाईले मात्र काम चल्दैन’ अनि स्वाँ-स्वाँ (अलिक बिस्तारै पढ्नुस है, निन्द्रा पो लाग्छ बाई यस्ता सब्द सारो पढ्दा) गर्दै कुद्न थाल्नु भो सोर्स-फोर्स लाउन । फोर्स यानकी बल, पढ्नु नै भा होला विज्ञानमा (विज्ञान ब्लग हजुर, विज्ञान मन परारै छिर्नु भा होला) कार्य त्यसैलाई मान्निन्छ जाहाँ बल लगाएर केहि दुरी नि पार गराइन्छ कुनै बस्तुलाई, ठ्याक्कै त्यस्तै ६० किलोको शरिर लेर बा दैलो-दैलो, बुझी हाल्नु भो होला धेरै लेखेर बर्बाद किन पारूँ तपाइंको समय । लामो कुदाइ पछि, भर्ति भइयो, बधाई छ ठिटो जागिरे भयो । छिरेको भोलि पल्ट देखि मन मिलेकालाई भन्न थालियो, ‘कुरा नगर्नुस तारे होटलमा गोष्ठी गरेर, एक गाम सिचाई बेवास्था गर्ने भन्दा बढि रकम त बन्ध बिर्को खोल्दै खर्च गर्ने रहेछन्’ । धन्न आफुले काम गर्नेले चै, चाउ-चाउको झोल खुवाएर भए नि गामका लाई पानि पिलायो (कति पटक त ठिटोले नै यसको बिरोध गर्यो) Continue reading “ठिटोको कुरो ‘I/NGO गोष्ठी देखि वेबिनार सम्म’”

Goals of science vs Goals of scientists (& a love letter to PLOS One)

social bat .org -- Gerald Carter

This monster post has been sitting on my computer hard-drive for a few months (seriously). For awhile, I was too scared to publish it. What I’ve written below is based on a (very) informal talk I gave at a graduate student seminar series at University of Maryland. To get the gist, the slides for that talk are below (all the way down) or here.

It’s also based on my stewing thoughts in response to dozens of conversations I’ve had about science and academia over the last year or so. My question is: does being a “good academic” and being a “good scientist” ever conflict? And if so, how often? And more importantly, can we fix academia (or science) to eliminate this conflict?

I’ll get to that in a moment, but I’m going to start with a related discussion of the journal PLOS One. If you are thinking…

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प्राकृतिक जोम्बीहरु

साइन्स फिक्सनमा धेरै सुनिएको, देखिएको “जोम्बी”। जोम्बी शब्द हाइटीको लोक कथा बाट आएको शब्द हो, जसको अर्थ एउटा मरीसकेको लाशको पुनर्जन्म हो जुन बिभिन्न जादु वा टुना मुनाले गरिन्छ। अाजकल जोम्बीलाई भाईरस इन्फेक्सन बाट हुन सक्ने भन्दै धेरै साइन्स फिक्सन तथा हरर चलचित्रमा देखाइने गरिएको छ! जोम्बी हुनु कुनै मानवको मृत शरीरमा सम्भव हुने कुरा शायद नै हैन, र भाईरसका कारण हुने नै रहेछ भनेपनि कुनै दिन भएछ भने मात्र प्रमाणित होला! तर जनावरहरु मा “जोम्बी” शब्द को प्रयोग भएको छ, मृत शरीरको पुनर्जीवन नभइ, एउटा जिवित शरीरमा जोम्बी झै प्रवृत्ति ल्याउने प्रक्रिया जनावरहरुमा देखिन्छ।

सानो छँदा कुमालकोटी (Emerald Cockroach Wasp or Jewel Wasp (Ampulex compressa) ,देख्यो कि  घरमा यस्ले साङ्लोलाई कुमालकोटी बनाउँछ भन्ने हुन्थ्यो। अचम्म लाग्थ्यो सोचेर, तर त्यो बेला अन्धविश्वास वा चमत्कारमा नि विश्वास लाग्ने भएर होला नि त भनेर टारिन्थ्यो। तर अहिले आएर साङ्लो र कुमालकोटी  यथार्थ बारे बुझियो!  सोच्थेँ कसरी साङ्लो कुमालकोटी  हुन्छ।

Bsl6l1RCIAEFniB (1) Continue reading “प्राकृतिक जोम्बीहरु”

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