A story in earwax

We all get earwax, even whales. But whales don’t have fingers or doctors with syringes and so their earwax stays there, building up, year after year. Yuk, you might think. But we can learn a lot from whales’ earwax. The wax accumulates into a long plug which is trapped inside the whale’s head. It builds…

A metal nose, a pet moose and the stars

We take it for granted that the universe changes. It began with the Big Bang, is still expanding;  stars generate, die and are recycled. But until the sixteenth everyone believed – as the great Greek philosopher Aristotle had taught – that the heavens are eternal and unchanging. Then in 1572, a new star appeared. That…

Dead heads all in a row

The creature in the picture is a caterpillar with a pretty weird habit. That bit that looks like a spike is actually a pile of heads. As if that wasn’t odd enough, the heads all once belonged to the same caterpillar.   Caterpillars go through molts as they grow. They start off teeny-tiny, and as…