In previous blogs I have mentioned interesting facts that I have learned about mathematics, science and history. Here are some interesting facts that I have learned about biology:

Since I was a small child I have believed that non-human animals experience life in very much the same way as people. I found evidence of this relatively recently when I learned that new varieties of the songs of humpback whales spread across the oceans in the same way as newly-composed human music. Of course, whales are mammals, and not all that distantly related to humans, but there is evidence that the same can be said of more primitive animals: I have read of an experiment in which forty marked snails were taken to a place three quarters of a mile away, and within two days thirty-eight of them found their way back.

In 1999 I learned that there is a taxonomic rank above Kingdom called Domain, and this is featured in the first of the scans accompanying my 16th blog. In 2016 I learned that there is an even higher rank called Dominion, which is not mentioned in the blog. Viruses based on RNA are in the Dominion Ribosa and everything else, including viruses based on DNA and bacteria, are in the Dominion Terroa.

Bacteria differ from higher organisms in that they have no cell nuclei. Viruses differ from bacteria and higher organisms in that they have no ribosomes.

The theory that organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts have evolved from bacteria has been confirmed by comparing their DNA.

There are four million nucleotide pairs in bacteria, fifteen million in yeast, a hundred million in nematodes and three thousand million in mammals.

There is enough DNA in a human being to reach from the earth to the sun and back.

Animals are more closely related to fungi than either of them are to plants.

The reason that coal is found today is that at the time it was laid down there were no fungi capable of digesting the plants that it came from.

There are eighty million field voles in Britain, making this is the only British wild mammal that outnumbers people.

Jennifer Owen identified 1600 kinds of insect in her suburban garden in 30 years.

I have read that there are a million times as many insects in the world as people, athough all insects are big enough to see with the naked eye. I find this hard to believe: if I go for a walk I don’t see a million times as many insects as people or anything like it.

The earthworms in a field can weigh as much as the cattle that graze it.

The total mass of microbes in the world is as great as that of visible organisms.

Recently discovered bacteria in deep sea sediments only reproduce once every 100,000 years.

The location of thoughts in the brain can be pinpointed using magnetic resonance imaging. It is now known that the frontal lobe controls emotions, that the cerebral cortex is the site of awareness, that the fusiform gyrus is used for facial recognition, that the pleasure that derives from music is located in the orbitofrontal cortex and that levels of happiness are controlled by serotonin. Surely this substance must hold the key to the achievement of universal happiness.


I am aware that much of the sound is missing from the video I submitted recently. I am hoping that this will soon be put right.