Welcome to The Thin End – a commentary on nature, science and society, and the human condition.
For informative articles and podcasts on biology, evolution, society, health, wellbeing, and politics.
- Bees prepare for winterBusy bees, busy preparing for the winter ahead. They love this ivy, blooming in September and growing in abundance. So, nature’s little workforce comes in their thousands each day. Their priority now is gathering and storing nectar and pollen to have plenty in reserve to survive through the winter. Honey bees don’t hibernate, so they… Continue reading Bees prepare for winter
- A microscopic key to evolution – volvoxDoes pond water hold a microscopic key to understanding evolution? Examining pond water with a microscope in 1674, Anton van Leeuwenhoek observed many single-celled organisms, which he called ‘animalcules’. Some formed colonies or clusters, others were clearly multi-cellular, and one of these is a tiny green alga called Volvox. So, could this tiny creature be… Continue reading A microscopic key to evolution – volvox
- Euglena eye and nature’s inventionNature is said to be the mother of invention, and this we see in the microscopic single-celled Euglena. Euglenas have chloroplasts – green power packs, making sugars using the energy of light. But they also have an eye, of sorts, enabling them to optimise the light conditions for photosynthesis. The ‘eye’ of a Euglena Using… Continue reading Euglena eye and nature’s invention
- Cunning as a Fox?Cunning as a Fox is a common expression referring to being exceptionaly clever, cunning, or shrewd, especially in devious or underhanded ways. Foxes are certainly shrewd and highly adaptable. But there is little devious or underhand in their ways. Scent plays a significant part in the world of a fox. So, foxes leave their mark.… Continue reading Cunning as a Fox?
- Whale communication, singing to each otherWhales communicate by singing over very long distances, creating songs that last for hours, each whale repeating back and adding phrases. Whale communication is not the only sound in the sea. Sounds fill our forests and oceans. But, they are not incidental. They carry meaning and significance. If humans stopped making a racket, we would… Continue reading Whale communication, singing to each other
Ray Noble is a chartered biologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He writes extensively on biological theory and philosophy. He was Deputy Dean of Life Sciences at UCL, London, and Graduate Tutor in Women’s Health.