Did you know that the banana plant is actually a huge herb? The stalk is composed of leaf sheaths that overlap each other and grow from an underground stem called a rhizome. This herb can grow up to 20 feet tall.
And there are about 500 different types of bananas in the world. That means if you ate a different kind of banana everyday, it would take almost a year and a half to eat every type!
Dolphins use sound to 'see' their way around in the deep. They use echolocation—making a sound and listening to it bounce off objects—to find food and to navigate.
They also hunt by making very loud clicking sounds that may knock out any small fish or squid within range. Then they just gobble up the soundstunned prey. Fabulous trick, right!
The hot springs at Yellowstone owe their vibrant colours to heat-loving microorganisms called thermopiles. Scientists believe these microorganisms are ancient and may shed light about the origin of life itself.
But they have a practical use too! Thermophile-derived enzymes are used to convert corn into sugar to sweeten drinks as their enzymes can work in high temperatures and trigger chemical reactions more quickly.
Aquatic, anaerobic bacteria called ‘magnetotactic’ bacteria find their way around by using the earth's magnetic field. The bacteria make magnetic particles that contain iron. When lined-up, the particles make a long magnet that is it uses like a compass.
This built-in compass enables the bacteria to find its way down to the deep, oxygen-free parts of its aquatic habitat.
In the 1990s, scientists discovered copper contamination in 7,000-yearold layers of ice in Greenland glacial caps. This points to copper pollution of the atmosphere that occurred about 2500 years ago. The pollution is attributed to the Romans who used copper for military purposes and to produce coins.
Romans in their heydays produced nearly 17,000 tons of copper annually, an amount not produced again until the Industrial Revolution in Europe. With this enormous output of copper came pollution that would also be unsurpassed till the Industrial Revolution.
In Holland, tulip farming is a thriving industry. This exotic flower was brought from Turkey in 1593 and became a status symbol among the rich. In the 17th century people were willing to pay such exorbitant prices for tulip bulbs that it led to an economic crisis.
An old bill of sale records what was paid for a single tulip bulb: 2 loads of wheat; 4 loads of rye; 4 fat oxen; 8 fat swine; 12 fat sheep; 2 hogsheads of wine; 4 barrels of beer; 2 barrels of butter; 1,000 pounds of cheese; a bed; and a sizeable wagon to haul it all away.
You know of spotted leopards but whoever has heard of spotted lions? At the turn of the century, however, mysterious small, canines were seen at heights of 10,000 – 11,500 feet in Kenya's Mau forest. The locals called them "Marozi," These creatures were about 4 – 5 feet in length, had brown spots on a tan background and looked like lions.
Lion cubs have similar spots but they lose them as they grow older. So was this creature was a spotted lion? Was it a sub-species of lions, a separate species or a hybrid? The scientists continue the debate even though the animal was last sited in 1948 and is probably extinct.