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The free will that humans enjoy is similar to that exercised by animals as simple as flies, a scientist has said. The idea may simply require "free will" to be redefined, but tests show that animal behaviour is neither completely constrained nor completely free. The paper, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests animals always have a range of options available to them. "Choices" actually fit a complex...

2010-12-16

 free will freedom thinking philosophy brain consciousness determinism biology fruit fly perception probability complexity random decision evolution survival animal animal intelligence
The snail, Hinea brasiliana, produces flashes of green light, which scare away predators. Its tiny "bioluminescent" body part is lodged permanently within its shell, but the shell amplifies the light, and the faint glow it produces illuminates the whole shell surface...

2010-12-15

 animal light biology marine protection toread
The Oriental hornet has a unique ability to harvest solar energy, scientists have discovered. The large wasp species has a special structure in its abdomen that traps the sun's rays, and a special pigment that harvests the energy they contain. The discovery helps explain why these hornets have a large yellow stripe across their body and why they become more active as the day gets hotter. It also changes our understanding of how insect...

2010-12-06

 solar energy nanotechnology hornet insect biology evolution light
A simple life form known as a slime mould, used in unconventional computing, seems to have a taste for sedatives.

2011-06-10

 mould computer sedative drug addiction growth food biology cell
Worms forced to reproduce asexually succumbed to a nasty bacterial infection and died. The researchers say the results are the most convincing evidence to date for a key theory in evolutionary biology. The theory holds that sex evolved because it lets organisms reshuffle their genes into new combinations to stay a step ahead of parasites.

2011-07-08

 worm sex reproduction evolution asexual cloning biology parasite resistance
Not so very long ago, we shared this planet with several other species of human, all of them clever, resourceful and excellent hunters, so why did only Homo sapiens survive?

2011-06-23

 Homo sapiens Homo ergaster Homo erectus human evolution evolution migration human species anthropology biology history
A study of hailstones has found large numbers of bacteria at their cores. The find lends credence to the "bio-precipitation" idea, which suggests that bacteria are actively involved in stimulating precipitation. The bacteria have protein coatings that cause water to freeze at relatively warm temperatures...

2011-05-25

 water bacteria microorganism precipitation rain snow ice freeze climate biology weather
Stick insects have lived for one million years without sex, genetic research has revealed.

2011-07-19

 insect asexual sex virgin birth evolution reproduction biology
Scientists have succeeded in forming a "feedback loop" between a computer and a common yeast to precisely control the switching on and off of specific genes...

2011-11-06

 biology genetics yeast computer
Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia?

2012-03

 brain biology parasite health
Researchers in the US have demonstrated a means to use short sections of DNA as rewritable data "bits" in living cells...

2012-05-22

 biology DNA memory computer

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