8 Interesting Biology Facts to Read in A Study Break
Biology is a fascinating topic to deeply learn for most of us because it gives a close glimpse of who we are and how the other living organisms around us are so diverse. It’s so easy to overlook the small things about our bodies and the routines of the animals or plants around us. There is so much more than meets the eye in biology if you consider the microorganisms too. Here are some mind-blowing facts to keep you entertained while making you think for a second in a short study break.
1.) Humans glow in visible light
Not all of us are like Edward from Twilight, of course. Still, it is shocking to know that humans actually emit light as byproducts of the reactions taking place in our bodies which creates free radicals. Of course, it is not possible to see halos around our bodies since this emission is 1000 times less intense than what our eyes can detect. Scientists from Japan did carry out an experiment related to this fact and they found out that this emission changes according to our metabolic clocks. Around 10 AM the emission is weakest and around at 4 PM it peaks.
2.) Plants respire all the time, not just at nights
This is more of a misconception rather than an interesting fact. In the middle grade, we were told that plants respire at nights and do photosynthesis in the daytime but this is a bit trite. Just like all animals inhale and exhale all the time, plants do respiration activity in the daytime and nighttime. The only difference is that the photosynthetic activity is higher than the respiration activity, therefore plants release more oxygen than carbon dioxide in the daytime. Since there is no photosynthetic activity occurring at night, plants release more carbon dioxide just like we do. It’s all about simple math here.
Maybe some of our readers know what epigenetics is and why it’s mind-blowing, but here is a short recap for the ones who don’t know. Very vaguely, epigenetics study heritable phenotypes (traits) that are not coded in the DNA. DNA carries information not just with the four bases (A, C, T, G) but with methylation as well. This information has some interesting outcomes like what your father eats actually has an impact on your development process, exercising alters your muscles at an epigenetic level and we have a separate epigenetic clock that regulates our aging patterns. There is so much to digest about epigenetics and we even barely scraped the surface of genetics in the last century.
Marsupials are one of the three groups of mammals. They are fascinating animals since unlike other mammals, they don’t carry their offspring in placentas. It’s very much possible that you never ran into one in the wild unless you’re living in Australia because two-thirds of marsupials (about 220) live in that continent only and the rest are in South America. These unorthodox creatures grow their offspring very shortly in placentas and until the baby is ready to roam the wild, they are kept in their mother’s pouches. That’s why it’s possible that you heard of marsupials as poached mammals. The largest living marsupials are kangaroos hopping around and they can reach to whopping heights of 2 meters. They are ready to knock you out in the boxing rings.
5.) Blue-blooded animals
No, these animals aren’t the royal corgis of the Queen, they still bleed red like the rest of us. The reason that humans, and mammals like dogs, have red blood cells is a pigment called hemoglobin. The blue-blooded animals have a different pigment called hemocyanin to transport oxygen. The basic difference between hemoglobin and hemocyanin is all about one atom. Hemoglobin has an iron core whereas hemocyanin has a copper core. When an oxygen atom binds with two copper atoms on the hemocyanin it becomes blue. Crustaceans, spiders, squid, and octopuses are animals that carry blue blood. Some animals are just born royal.
6.) Venomous vs poisonous
These two words are so interchangeably used that it has become another misconception. It’s almost instinctual for some of us to yell “Hey, look out for that poisonous animal!” when we’re suddenly seeing a snake or an insect. Scientists have a strict definition of what is venomous and what is poisonous. An animal is venomous when they actually sting you and inject their toxins into your bloodstream. On the other hand, an animal is poisonous when you eat an animal (or a plant) and they dump the toxins into you. There is only one snake, the garter snake, which is poisonous. The garter snake is inherently not toxic but it’s still not edible since it collects the toxins of its prey.
7.) Dreaming in black and white
Every night after counting about a hundred sheep, everybody falls asleep and pays a visit to the Dreamland. Some people don’t even remember their dreams but most of us do and, weirdly enough, a smaller portion of people report dreaming in black and white. This interesting phenomenon has a root that goes back to our childhoods. In the 1940s, people were dreaming in black and white more because they didn’t have access to colored televisions. Nowadays, these numbers are reversed since we are bombarded with colorful screens. Next time you dream, know that you’re dreaming in multicolor because of the last TV show you binged and our brains are really complex structures.
8.) We can actually read rats’ minds
We admit, it is very tempting to make a claim about the invention of Professor X style headwear which is used for reading rats’ minds but the truth is less than that. The fascinating thing is, this is actually a Nobel Prize-winning discovery. In 2014, a group of scientists found out that place cells in the hippocampus fire when a rat is in a certain position. These scientists can now determine the next place a rat will be at according to their observations about the place cells. This information may not change our lives much but wait till the cats get this information.
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If you enjoyed this article about biology facts, you might want to read about some of the chemistry happening in our everyday lives