Dialogue 2014 #3
Elementary My Dear Readers
Book Review of Guide to Animals
The author, Frank Sherwin has organized his introduction to animals in interesting ways. The message is conveyed partly by the text, partly by his organization of topics, but also by the amazing variety of beautiful illustrations. In style, this book closely resembles its sister publication Guide to Creation Basics. Read the rest of this entry »
Where Did They All Come From?
It was in 1909 that Charles Walcott of the Smithsonian Institution, noticed an unusual fossil in Canada’s Rocky Mountains in Yoho National Park. It was the discoloured, extremely thin remains of a soft-bodied marine creature. Now wait a minute, he must have thought! What we normally find as fossils are the hard parts such as shell or bone from once living creatures. Naturally intrigued, Walcott returned to British Columbia for several summers. He found a whole collection of soft bodied creatures previously unknown to science. Read the rest of this entry »
Animal Secrets from High Tech Espionage
Animals display many remarkable behaviours. To better appreciate their talents, how often have we wished that these creatures could communicate with us? We would love to know where they go during migrations, for example. In recent years however, animal ecologists have developed techniques to allow us to track some of these creatures. As a result, these animals communicate with us simply by doing what comes naturally, during the course of which our little espionage devices report where the animals have gone. Read the rest of this entry »
The Venus Flytrap: A Major Enigma for Evolution
Among the wonders of the natural world are plants that eat animals, and the best known example is the Venus flytrap Dionaea muscipula. In Charles Darwin’s book on insectivorous plants, he described the plant and its ingenious design in great detail, but did not offer even a clue about its possible evolution (Darwin, 1896, pp. 286-320). He even called the plant “one of the most wonderful plants in the world” (p. 286).
This carnivorous plant is found growing in peaty sandy soil mainly in one small place, the extreme far east coast of North Carolina (Schnell, 2003, p. 85). It catches its prey, mostly ants, beetles, spiders and other crawling arachnids, with a complex, well designed, mitt-shaped trapping mechanism located at the terminal portion of the plant’s leaf (Ellison, 2006; Ellison and Gotelli, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »