waterflea helmets – lamarckian, or epigenetic?

Water fleas – Daphnia – are rather cute little freshwater arthropods: In some circumstances (water temperature, presence of predators), rather than having that sharp little point on their heads (top of the picture, above the eyespot) some Daphnia will have a longer, spikier ‘helmet’. And this is where it gets interesting: it depends on the mother. If a […]

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does drinking coffee lower the risk of developing alzheimer’s disease?

"Gosh" said my husband, rustling the newspaper. "You’d better start drinking coffee!" He’d just come across a report saying that drinking more coffee in one’s middle years is associated with a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia, in old age. But is this enough to make me want to give up my […]

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snowball earth

For anyone with a passing interest in global climates, present & past, the UK’s Birmingham University has put out an excellent article looking at the conditions that could have prevailed on a’snowball Earth’.  The term ‘snowball Earth’ refers to a time (about 630 million years ago) when our planet was in the grip of a major ice […]

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