It’s hard to believe now (when the government’s approved the sexual education for 5-year-olds) that there were times when parents and teachers were embarrassed even to mention the words ‘sex’, ‘sexual intercourse’ and ‘reproduction’. As usual, humans turned to animals to ‘take the blame’ for something they were mortified to admit – as if they... Continue Reading →
Birds of a feather: individuals of similar character. While the original meaning of it was very logical (‘birds of a feather flock together’, i.e. the birds of the same species live together), tearing of a part of the proverb to use it as a separate idiom with a different meaning (individuals of similar character) makes... Continue Reading →
Different cultures perceive animals in very different ways. In Western cultures, the owl is a symbol of wisdom. The feature serving to indicate cleverness is the owl’s huge eyes – what lies behind these eyes is of little interest to the humans. The owl ‘looking wise’ means for them the owl ‘is’ wise. I... Continue Reading →
As mad as a March hare – completely mad, crazy – is a common English idiom based on a popular belief about hares’ odd behaviour (including boxing at other hares, jumping vertically and so on) during mating/breeding season. Since the 16th century, the phrase has been found in many texts, for example: - in Sir... Continue Reading →
Mice love cheese – Yes, but only when there is nothing else on the offer. They prefer high-sugar diet of grain and fruit. If there is nothing to eat, mice would consume anything – meat, dead bodies, their own tails, and yes, cheese. References: Hanlon, M. & Fryer, J. (2006) ‘Of mice and myths’
Many autistic individuals are said to have a special connection with animals. This issue has been investigated by Temple Grandin in her co-authored book “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior”. As people with autism are mostly perceptual thinkers, it is no wonder that some of them can understand the... Continue Reading →
Freud defined telepathy as a primitive form of communication made dormant by language; in other words, it is the ability mentally to communicate thoughts, emotions, words or images silently to another person. We can get a better understanding of ‘non-verbal communication proper’, is we study animals’ communication, most of which is non-verbal. They do produce... Continue Reading →
Got a hot date?
If it’s with a human, you’ll probably have to rely on the classic wooing strategies: flowers, chocolates, dinner and dancing, smelling good, etc.
But in the animal kingdom, courtship often has a different flavor. I combed back through the archives of New Scientist’s Zoologger, a weekly column about extraordinary animals, and turned up some unusual techniques that other creatures use to seduce their chosen mate.
Bugs stab their sweethearts in the stomach.
Male bed bugs and bat bugs use sharp penises to stab their partners in the abdomen and deliver sperm directly into the blood. Bean weevils, who have huge and spiny penises, also lacerate their mates during sex.
Koalas use a sexy voice.
Koalas bellow to attractive females in an unusually deep voice. Their mating song, which sounds “more like a series of burps and snores,” is 20 times lower than scientists would expect the little…
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