When visiting schools and museums our Street Scientists often get asked a variety of questions from curious children. Here are the answers to some of our favourite questions!
This week, we’re answering questions on Zoology, the study of animals to celebrate the International Day of Biological Diversity on Friday.
Why is there different animals in different areas?
-asked by Halliemae, 9, Simonside Primary School
Animals are different because they need to survive in the environment they live in. They adapt to their surroundings to achieve this. For example, there are polar bears in the Arctic. Their bodies are covered in white fur so they can camouflage with the ice around them, making them harder to spot when they look for preys. However, their skin is black and their body is huge, this is so they can still absorb heat and stay warm in the cold. Their feet are also big and have a rough surface, helping them to swim and not slip on the ice. Can you imagine if they didn’t have these adaptations, would they be able to survive in that habitat? Other animals that do not have features that help them survive in their habitat will eventually struggle to survive and die. That is why there are different animals in different places as they have different adaptations required to be able to survive.
–Aurelia, Dental Student
Why does a whale have a blow hole?
-asked by Isobel, 11, from Marden Bridge Middle School
Whales have blowholes because although they live in the ocean, they are actually mammals, which means they breathe air just like us! Their blowhole is an adaptation to allow them to easily breath in lots oxygen when they come to the surface so that they can dive for long periods of time.
– Demi, Marine Biology Student
Why are a giraffes’ tongues blue?
-asked by Ellis, 11, from Burnside Primary School
Their tongues are dark blue because they have a large amount of a colour pigment called melanin. Giraffes feed by using their tongues to rip leaves off trees high up in the African savanna. This means that their tongues are in the sun for a long time, nobody knows for certain but some people think that the high amounts of melanin are to stop them getting sunburn on their tongues – a sunburn tongue has got to hurt a lot! We also have melanin in our skin that stops us getting sunburn but not as much as the giraffe which is why it doesn’t need to put suncream on its tongue!
– Lizzie, Biology Student
Why do bees get nectar?
-asked by Finlay, 11, from Burnside Primary School
Bees use the nectar and pollen they collect from flowers as food, nectar is a sweet sugary liquid made by flowers to attract bees and other insects and animals. Flowers use the bees to spread pollen between themselves and other flowers (pollen is what makes people with hayfever sneeze). The bees store pollen in a structure called a pollen basket on their back legs they store nectar in an organ called a honey stomach. Back at the hive the bees that have been out collecting nectar pass it to other bees who make the nectar into honey.
-Lizzie, Biology Student