November 2009 Archives

Sea Rockets: Incredible Sibling Plants

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srcktcmbndpctrs.jpgA small plant lies far out on a sand dune near the British Coast. You can tell that the brown and withered buds on the plant used to be beautiful white flowers.

Sea Rockets are incredible sibling plants. They can tell whether the plant next to them was sprouted from an unrelated seed or from the same mother tree.

When they sense that the foliage next to them belongs to a sister plant by using chemical signals, they don't compete with the others. But when they are in a place alone with other species, the Sea Rocket sends out more and more roots so it can become more established than its competitors.

There is a theory that plants can see, think and have some kind of communication, and this is proof. It seems that plants should be able to know what they're doing if they are able to droop when touched (The Shy Plant) or dance in the windowsill (Dancing Grass).



The Colossal Explosion: Yellowstone's Massive Volcano

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       When Wyoming was still a territory, Lieutenant Gustavus Doane, head of an exploring expedition, noticed something strange when looking out from the top of a mountain. He noticed that there was a giant volcano. But the Lieutenant, even though he made a good guess, thought wrong: in his mind, the ancient crater was extinct.

    ldfthflgysr.jpgTwenty craters have been in existence since mighty sheets of ice covered Yellowstone National Park. The volcano is known to be the cause of all the geysers, mud pots, terraces, and hot springs in the park.

When we went to Yellowstone, we liked seeing the mud pots (even though they smelled like rotten eggs) and we saw Old Faithful erupt three times. Then we went to Morning Glory Pool (a multicolored hot springs.) But, while we were there, we didn't see any symptoms that the supervolcano's blast was going to happen soon.

    Earthquakes have been happening recently (which is a sign that the park could explode soon). However, scientists say the eruption could happen anytime from next week to the next millennium. The future is anybody's guess!

   

For More Information:
USGS Volcano Facts
Discovery's Yellowstone Insights   
National Geographic's "Under Yellowstone"


Club-Winged Manakins Sing By Vibrating Feathers

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It’s not a new idea that crickets chirp by rubbing together their toothed wings, but new studies suggest that birds also vibrate their wings to attract mates. Although an animal singing by rubbing together parts of its body is a practice common among arachnids and insects, only one vertebrate is known to “sing,” or even to make noise, in that manner.



Male club-winged manakins, found in the rainforests of Ecuador, make a series of high-pitched notes, so fast that the individual tones are indistinguishable, every time they flap their wings. Other birds’ flapping may sound like clapping or wind, but this songbird’s sound is unique. To the manakins, which are territorial, the noise is used to attract female birds and to tell other male birds to leave their region.

Manakins flap their wings over 100 times a second, or twice the speed of a hummingbird. On one wing, one feather had seven bumps and on the other wing one feather was stiff and curved, serving as a bow for the bird’s ridged feather. Every time the bird flaps its wings, the stiff feather vibrates against the ridges, producing the unusual sound. The surrounding feathers, which also quiver when the feathers are struck, strengthen the noise.

To find out more about this unusual animal behavior:
Tuning-fork feathers give bird its ‘singing’ wings
Bird “Sings” Through Feathers

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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