Are you more afraid of snakes or cars? Most people would say that snakes make them more uncomfortable, despite cars killing over 30,000 Americans per year and snakes killing an average of 5. Why are we so afraid of snakes, spiders, and bats, but not SUVs? The answer lies in our evolutionary history.Read More
In the midst of a New England winter you would be hard-pressed to find anyone that hasn’t fantasized about exchanging the frigid temperatures of March for the tropical weather of Hawaii. The Aloha State is known for being a vacation hot spot around this time of the year, but did you know that it’s also a famous geologic “hot spot” as well?Read More
On both land and sea, the sun is the primary source of energy in most ecosystems. Plants or algae use sunlight to create food through photosynthesis. Animals eat the plants and algae, and then get eaten themselves by predators higher up the food chain. Without the sun providing a base amount of energy input, most ecosystems would swiftly collapse. Even so, there are some animals that live beyond reach of the sun’s rays.
How can life exist in the deep ocean without getting energy from the sun?Read More
A vestigial structure is a body part or organ that was useful in an ancestor, but is diminished in size, complexity, or utility in their descendant. Many animals have vestigial structures, like the small spurs on pythons that once were legs. Humans have vestigial structures too, and they give us a tantalizing glimpse into our evolutionary history.Read More
On display in the science galleries of the Bruce Museum we have arrays of glittering gems and minerals, a forest of taxidermy animals, cases of archaeological artifacts, and all sorts of other objects, great and small. What many visitors don't realize is that these items on display only represent a small fraction of our natural history collections. Recently, we had an opportunity to show off a few more of our objects at Greenwich Town Hall.Read More
The body plan and lifestyle of crocodilians has changed so little in the last 83.5 million years that they are often called "living fossils." There is something about being a crocodile that is very evolutionary advantageous. It’s so advantageous in fact, that animals that look and act like crocodiles have evolved time and time again throughout the evolutionary history of the earth. In this curious case, evolution appears to have repeated itself over and over throughout the history of life on Earth.Read More
Why is color a useless identifier of minerals? As it turns out, there are a lot of minerals that can be found in a variety of different colors that are not the minerals’ natural color. Why do some minerals come in different colors? The answer to that question is a bit more complicated.Read More