Category: Big Question

Dec 15

Big Question: Does Incest Occur in Nature?

Incest in humans is, and almost always has been, one of the most common of all cultural taboos. Most modern societies have laws regarding incest, not least because children born of close incestuous union have a greatly increased risk of disorders, death and disability because they are more likely to be affected by recessive or …

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Aug 31

Big Question: Why did the dinosaurs die out?

For 160 million years they walked the Earth. They were the largest land animals that have ever lived. And, thanks to the number of movies, documentaries, books and television shows featuring them, they have captivated us like no other prehistoric animals. They are, of course, the dinosaurs. But the reign of the dinosaurs ended rather …

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Apr 26

Big Question: Why and How do Birds Migrate?

The swallow. A quintessential summer bird if ever there was one. It typically arrives in the UK around now (late April), spends the summer raising its young, and then leaves our shores again in September. The swallows travel back to sub-Saharan Africa and other warm regions to spend the winter. This periodic movement of animals …

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Jan 08

Big Question: Who was Alfred Russel Wallace?

Everyone knows about Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution and natural selection, but not many know that another man came up with the same ideas at around the same time. His name was Alfred Russel Wallace. Sadly, whereas Darwin has gained all the attention and glory in the past one hundred and fifty years, …

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Oct 17

Big Question: Why are there so many kinds of dogs?

Approximately 30% of the people living in the UK have a wolf in their living room. The dog is nothing more than a domesticated subspecies of the grey wolf, and although most breeds of dog look vastly different, they are all almost genetically identical to their wild ancestor. The story of the dog begins at …

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Sep 01

Big Question: What really is evolution?

Somebody once asked me that if evolution were real, then why didn’t monkeys in zoos evolve into humans to escape? I despaired for several hours afterwards. The person in question wasn’t a particularly religious person, so I can only assume that his or her views stem from a huge misunderstanding on the subject. Indeed, if …

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Aug 24

Big Question: How Does Metamorphosis Work?

As children, we all learn stories about certain very hungry caterpillars that eat and eat and eat until, one day, they spin a cocoon and eventually emerge as a beautiful butterfly. Indeed, the transformation of a small, wriggling caterpillar into a graceful butterfly is a perfect metaphor for change. But the process has become such …

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