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The smell of fresh-cut grass is an attack warning

We love the smell of fresh-cut grass. But in reality what we are smelling is a warning signal being released by plants under attack. The pheromones emitted by freshly-mown grass are known as…

Andi Edwards/Alamy/ImageSelect

What is the world’s most toxic tree?

“I recently say a sign in Wingham Brush Nature Reserve, warning of giant stinging trees. Are there any trees more toxic than these?” The various species of Dendrocnide, such as the Dendrocnide excela…


Why do our eyes water when we chop up onions?

Onions emit a sulphur-containing gas when they are chopped. The gas irritates the cells of the eye, which react by producing tears that are intended to clear away the substance. In ordinary onions,…

Scopio: Artem Pyatnitskiy

Is Rudolph’s nose really red?

Reindeer do have red noses, due to a high concentration of red blood cells. The four-legged animals have at least 25% more blood cells in their noses than humans. While this may have…

Alamy/Imageselect & Jurgen Freund/Ingo Arndt/Nature PL

Why do Christmas Island crabs swarm every year?

Once a year on Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, some 120 million terrestrial crabs migrate from the jungle to the water to breed. The crabs swarm during the rainy season, which takes…

Image: Brocken Inaglory

What is beach ‘foam’?

Beach foam is produced from proteins. The white beach foam is due to fat and protein in ocean water, which the surf ‘whips’, just like whipped cream. Animals and plants in both salty…

Why doesn’t a dishwasher dry plastic?

After a dishwasher cycle, the plates and glasses are usually dry, whereas plastic boxes and cups remain wet. The difference is due to the different materials’ ability to absorb heat, also known as…

Why do whales and humans have such long menopause?

Long menopause allows killer whales to care for sons.

How accurate are the weather models that predict thunderstorms?

The forecast is sunny, but there’s a slight chance of chaos.

Can the shape of the glass affect your drinking habits?

Have you ever finished a drink almost twice as fast as your friends?

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