School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

Ask A Biologist graphic

Seed Anatomy

Seed Anatomy

show/hide words to know

  • Dormant: something that is inactive. Not growing or developing.
  • Embryo: the egg after fertilization and before it has developed into a recognizable form.
  • Germinate: when seeds start growing and developing after being dormant.
  • Madagascar: the Republic of Madagascar is an island country of the southeastern coast of Africa... more


Seed Anatomy

Seeing Seeds Close-up - These pictures are of a pea seed

seed with labels

Here you can see, I've removed the seed coat and split the seed in half. One half has the embryo and some of the stored food, and the other half holds the rest of the stored food.

 

 

 

Time Traveling Plants

Time Traveling Plants

By Elena Ortiz
Illustrated by Dr. Biology

show/hide words to know

  • Dormant: something that is inactive. Not growing or developing.
  • Embryo: the egg after fertilization and before it has developed into a recognizable form.
  • Germinate: when seeds start growing and developing after being dormant.
  • Reproduce: to make more individuals of your species... more
  • Suspended animation: temporary slowing or stopping of growing and aging.

Time travelers invade cornfields by the thousands! Live beings in suspended animation travel to foreign lands! Wild creatures escape the barriers of time - resurface after years underground! Time machines found in Ellen Sanchez' backyard!  

Sounds like science fiction? Well, it isn't.

X-Ray

two headed snake subheader

X-Ray

 

X-ray of two-headed snake

This is an X-ray of the two headed snake. You will notice the skulls have a dragon-like look. Our snake was only 56 cm or 22 inches long, but prehistoric snakes could have been much bigger allowing people to imagine large demons.

Two Headed Friend

two headed snake subheader

Two Headed Friend

two-headed snake

Our two headed kingsnake was first discovered as a baby under a toilet seat in the foothills of South Mountain. Not a very good beginning for our serpent. After several years it was loaned to the ASU reptile collection where it was cared for by Larry Nienaber. Larry is our long time animal care expert. With the special attention given our two headed friend, it lived a total of 17 years.

23 Functions of Feathers

Links back to main story on feathers

23 Functions of Feathers

show/hide words to know

  • Dozen: word used to describe the number 12. Eggs are usually sold as a dozen.
  • Foraging: looking for food.
  • Parabolic: having the shape of a parabola which is kind of a bowl or saucer shape.
  • Predator: an animal that eats other animals to survive. For example, a lion is a predator... more
  • Rigid: hard and stiff.
  • Stealth: moving or acting in a way that cannot be seen or heard.
  • Stimulate: to increase the activity of a process like growing.
  • Unique: one of a kind.

How do birds use their feathers?

Feathers make birds unique animals. How they are used by birds can be unique too. If you think to yourself, you can probably come up with maybe a half dozen to a dozen ways feathers are used by birds. To be sure, you will have missed a few feather functions. Let's go through 23 ways birds can use their feathers.

birds flying

Flying

Flight feathers are very strong and stiff feathers that are found on the wings of birds.

Check your heart rate

exercise experiment subheader

Check your heart rate

show/hide words to know

  • Artery: a tube-like part of the body used to carry blood away from the heart.
  • Pulse rate: the measured number of times an artery expands and contracts as blood is pumped by the heart.
  • Vein: a tube-like part of the body used to carry blood to the heart.

How to check your heart and pulse rate

In case you you didn't know it, your heart rate is measured by how many times your heart beats each minute. You can measure your heart rate by finding and counting your pulse rate. Because your arteries will expand and contract with each heart beat, your heart rate and pulse rate are the same.

Designing your own exercise experiment

exercise experiment subheader

Designing your own exercise experiment

show/hide words to know

  • Endurance: the ability to keep doing an activity for a long period of time. Marathon runners are know for their endurance.
  • Fitness: an individual's success in surviving and producing offspring, often measured by the number of offspring an organism has that survive to reproductive age. Fitness may also mean a measure of health, or how healthy a person is.

Something for your mind and body

Now that you know something about human physiology and exercise it is time to think about an experiment. Before you jump or run into an exercise program it is good to know what exercise scientists call your level of fitness. This way you can track how you improve over time. This can also be a great experiment to try out on your family and friends.

Hollywood Misconception

leagally blind subheader

Hollywood Misconception

show/hide words to know

  • Kaleidoscope: something seen with a large number of changing patterns or shapes. Term that comes from the kaleidoscope toy that uses prisms and color shapes to create colorful patterns.
  • Misconception: something commonly accepted as fact, but is actually not correct.

Do insects really see hundreds of tiny identical images?

A Hollywood Misconception - You’ve seen it in the movies: as insects fly through our homes they see hundreds of tiny screens, all showing the same picture. Why would an insect need to see one image multiplied by a hundred? As it turns out, insects DO NOT see a kaleidoscope of multiple images. Ants see only one picnic basket, bees see only one hive, and mosquitoes see only one warm body. Insects do have multiple lenses that take in light from their surroundings.

Clone-clusion

Cloning subheader image

Clone-clusion

show/hide words to know

  • DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid is the information "blue-print" of the cell. It is a nucleic acid and is made from building blocks called nucleotides. This genetic information is passed from parent to child... more
  • Egg: a female gamete, which keeps all the parts of a cell after fusing with a sperm.
  • Ethics: a part of philosophy where the idea of right and wrong are discussed and recommendations of correct conduct are made. In other words what is the best way society should behave and people to live.
  • Gamete: specialized cells found in your reproductive organs that have half the amount of DNA of somatic cells. These cells combine to make a fertilized egg... more
  • Gene: a region of DNA where a specific set of instructions for one trait is kept. We get some of our genes from our mother and some from our father... more
  • Nucleus: where DNA stays in the cell, plural is nuclei.
  • Somatic cells: the cells in your body, except for gametes. Soma is Latin for body.
  • Sperm: a male gamete, which only transfers its DNA to the egg... more

Clone-clusion clone-clusion

There are several issues that are brought up by cloning. The logical conclusion to most research done with cloning is the question of cloning people. Cloning of people is currently illegal in the United States and many other countries. There are two main applications of cloning that bring up serious legal and ethical questions.

The Story of Dolly

Cloning subheader image

The Story of Dolly

show/hide words to know

  • Egg: a female gamete, which keeps all the parts of a cell after fusing with a sperm.
  • Ewe: pronounced "you," a female, or girl, sheep.
  • Gamete: specialized cells found in your reproductive organs that have half the amount of DNA of somatic cells. These cells combine to make a fertilized egg... more
  • Nucleus: where DNA stays in the cell, plural is nuclei.

The Story of Dolly the story of dolly

Dolly is the name of a sheep that has the honor of being the first mammal to be cloned by a group of scientists in Scotland. Dolly was born July 5th, 1996 and she passed away in 2003. She lived for 6 and a half years, as a normal, active ewe. She was not that normal though, she was a clone after all.

Share to Google Classroom

dropdown arrow downdropdown arrow up  Learn More

Share to Google Classroom