Mating/Territorial Display

Design, Purpose and Specificity of the Narwhal’s Tusk

The narwhal’s tusk is a fascinating organ as it has the composition of a tooth but very different properties, in particular its ability to grow in a straight line. To understand the design mechanism allowing this particular feature, we will first present the composition, function and properties of the tusk.…

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Regulation of the Gut and its Effect on Animal Behavior

This paper explores how neurotransmitters, chemical signals, and the enteric nervous system regulate this impressive organ. It then follows with an extensive account of how the gut microbiome influences social groups, recognition cues, and mating preferences among animals. Finally, acting as complementary sections for “Stable Isotopes and Diet Analysis: Insight…

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Marvels of Eggshell Pigmentation: Why Eggshells Vary so Greatly in Color and Pattern

In contrast to their closest modern relatives, the family Crocodylinae, avian eggs dramatically range in egg size, shape and color. Primarily for protection from predators, many bird species have evolved unique phenotypes including colored shell markings that represent a novel development in the phylum Chordata’s gene pool. Selection for egg…

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The Biochemical Basis for Olfaction

Often, only the sense of sight and hearing are considered essential to understanding the world in which humans live in. In practice, however, the sense of smell, or olfaction, plays an important role in everyday tasks that are taken for granted. For example, the ability to taste food is highly…

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Feather Structure and Assembly

Birds are the only animals alive that have developed feathers, evolving from the scales of reptiles. Feathers are necessary for flight, insulation, and courtship displays. As a portrayal of the importance of feathers: for nearly two decades, researchers have been trying to imitate bird flight, a goal hindered by the…

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