I stumbled across this interesting article on the history of artistic representations of our hominin ancestors written by Richard Milner and Ian Tattersall.
National Geographic has video of the neolithic village found at Stonehenge
Amusing quote from the video:
These are people who knew how to party.
Fascinating stuff that also includes footage of Durrington Walls…
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Some of you may remember my post on chemical warfare in the insect world. In that post, I mentioned:
Chrysomeline (Leaf) beetles, for example, have chemical defense glands. Originally, they synthesized the chemicals themselves. During the course of their evolution, however, the became dependent on plant hosts to acquire the chemicals they use for defense (in other words, they incorporate the host plants toxins into their own defense system).
Fireflies illustrate another, creepy, way insects can acquire chemical defenses. Female fireflies of the genus Photuris imitate females of the genus Photinus. Once they attract a male of the genus Photinus they eat him! Photinus species have a chemical called lucibufagin (similar to a chemical found in the chinese toad) which are extremely noxius to the insects that prey on fireflies (mainly jumping spiders). So female Photuris acquire the chemical by ingesting male Photinus. Then when attacked they engage in what is called reflexive bleeding and the chemical in their blood drives the predator away. They also incorporate the chemical into eggs when they lay them so their offspring is protected.
Today I have another example of both these phenomena, this time among vertebrates.