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Questions tagged [biology]

Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy.

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Is race a discredited scientific concept in biology?

I've heard lots of people say things like "race doesn't exist" and "race has no biological meaning." On the other hand, I've heard lots of disagreements too, from scientific popularizers like Steven ...
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2answers
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Is Genetically Modified food safe to consume?

What's the truth surrounding the popular idea that genetically modified food is dangerous to consume? There's entire websites and institutions dedicated to popularizing the alleged dangers of eating ...
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5answers
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Is some level of radiation “good for you”?

"With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably ...
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5answers
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Were people shorter in the middle ages?

In many castles or museums you'll find medieval armor, belonging to a knight. Those are often very small compared to the average human nowadays. I've heard this explained multiple times as being due ...
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2answers
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Is there a deep, hot biosphere?

Thomas Gold claims that oil is not aging vegetal or animal matter, but rather made continously from bacteria deep in the Earth's mantle (a 'deep hot biosphere') so that we would effectively never have ...
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2answers
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Ultrasound pest control devices

A couple times I've seen advertised on TV and in supermarkets electronic devices that allegedly irritate all sort of insects and rodents, such as mosquitoes, mice, and rats, forcing them away from the ...
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2answers
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Does wifi stunt cress growth?

A couple of weeks ago there were reports of an experiment by schoolchildren that appears to demonstrate that wifi router radiation adversely affects cress. There's been time now for the leading ...
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1answer
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Does sleeping with our heads pointing towards north pose any health risks?

Does sleeping orientation (pointing one's head in a specific direction) has anything to do with any health problems(even minor ones)? If Earth's magnetic field has any detrimental effects on our ...
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4answers
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Fasting for 40 days - is it possible?

According to Deuteronomy 9:9, Moses did not eat or drink anything for 40 days. When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD ...
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3answers
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Demonstrable and repeatable examples of evolution

Are there examples of evolution that can be demonstrated as proof that evolution occurs and is a useful mechanism for making predictions? Some examples that come to mind include: Animal husbandry (e....
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4answers
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Is there any explanation for a near-death experience?

One idea I used to hear a lot about was that when people are near-death and saved by medical science that they sometimes see "a light at the end of a tunnel" in a vision. Today I read about an ...
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2answers
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Do people need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?

Since I was a kid, I can't remember how many times I've heard that a healthy person needs to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. There are definitely plenty of reasons to remain well-hydrated. ...
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Is CPH4 from science fiction movie 'Lucy' real?

In the science-fiction film Lucy, the titular character takes a drug called CPH4 that increases her brain capacity. The writer and director of the film, Luc Besson, claims in several interviews that ...
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Does DNA add credibility to the theory of evolution?

I have yet to make up my mind regarding the theory of evolution. Whilst doing some reading on dnafish I read that DNA itself provides evidence for the theory of evolution: Yeast, trees, flowers, ...
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1answer
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Which is more effective at removing germs, washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizers?

I know this question is similar to the one posted about hand washing with either cold or warm water, but I hope it can stand on its own. If not, I'll delete. Hand Sanitizers Alcohol and water are ...
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1answer
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Can switching from briefs to boxer shorts improve your fertility?

The advice to wear boxer shorts instead of briefs seems reasonable at first glance, since for testes to produce sufficient quality and quantity of sperm, the temperature of testes must be lower ...
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1answer
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Can transplant patients remember things their donors experienced?

From this question regarding flatworms remembering things experienced by other flatworms they have eaten, there was a quote on this page regarding another memory transfer mechanism: the reports of ...
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2answers
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Can a person lose weight by being cold?

I encountered a person not wearing a jacket in cold weather. He said he does this to lose weight. He explained his theory: By allowing his body to lose calories (heat energy) to the environment, his ...
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1answer
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Does a lobster feel little/no pain when boiled alive?

Image Source I have just read Cracked.com's "9 Ridiculous Cooking Myths You Probably Believe", that claims: [...] because [the lobster's] nervous system isn't very complex, so it's feeling little ...
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3answers
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Do lemmings commit suicide by jumping off cliffs?

Lemmings have become widely known for their supposed tendency to run en masse off of cliffs to their deaths. The term "lemming" has even become a commonly used metaphor to describe the behavior of ...
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1answer
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Do we lose 7 pounds when we die?

I often hear people claim that it is a fact that humans lose seven pounds when they die. Some people believe that this is 'proof' of the existence of the 'soul'. Is there any truth to this claim? I ...
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2answers
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Can small bags of water repel mosquitoes?

I was in Nicaragua recently and noted many restaurants and convenience stores had small sandwich sized bags filled with water hanging at their entrances. When I asked why, they said it was to repel ...
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5answers
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Does the theory of evolution contradict the second law of thermodynamics?

I was reading about the Law of Thermodynamics, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics really interested me because the Law apparently stated that in any isolated system, the entropy of that system will ...
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1answer
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Will liver move towards milk?

Someone here in the office reckons that if you put liver and milk in a fridge overnight, the liver somehow 'crawls' towards the milk. I am inclined to think this is rubbish but a casual trawl of the ...
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1answer
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Does raw cows' milk contain lactase?

Raw milk advocates seem to claim one of two things regarding the lactase enzyme (not to be confused with the lactose sugar): That raw milk contains lactase which is destroyed in the pasteurisation ...
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1answer
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Does your heart stop beating when you sneeze?

I read the following quote in a paper: When you sneeze, all your body functions temporarily stop working. That also includes you heart beat. There is of course no explanation, reason, source, or ...
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1answer
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Do sperm that carry male chromosomes swim faster?

The claim is that human sperm has different physical characteristics (i.e. phenotype) depending on whether it is carrying an X or Y chromosome. One theory is that sperm that carry the male ...
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1answer
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Do drop bears exist?

A drop bear is a carnivorous bear that is known well for hanging in the tops of trees, and dropping down on potential prey to attack, hence the name. They eat medium-large mammals, often times many ...
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1answer
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Are all the atoms in our bodies replaced on a regular basis?

In a related question, Are all cells of the human body completely replaced every seven to ten years?, it is explained that there are cells in the human body, like neurons, that are never replaced. ...
47
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1answer
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During pregnancy, do babies send stem cells to their mothers to repair organ damage?

This picture is floating around the facebooks with no attribution to an original source (not even a source of the image): The image says: During pregnancy, if a mother suffers organ damage, the ...
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2answers
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Could climate affect Aisha's age of sexual maturity?

Critics of Islam state that Muhammad had sex with Aisha bint Abu Bakr when she was nine years old, and that this was sexual abuse. One defense made against the claim is that women become sexually ...
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1answer
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Does a human on a bicycle travel more efficiently than any other species?

Steve Jobs claimed on video that a bicycling human is more efficient at locomotion than any other species can manage. He repeated it separately on video, and in writing. The quote is still oft ...
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5answers
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Are humans the only species that hunts down competitors, denies and destroys food for others?

In the book Ishmael, there's a passage that claims "Takers" (i.e. modern man) are the only thing in nature that hunt down competitors, destroy or otherwise deny someone else food. Are there strong ...
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1answer
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Are most of the nutrients of vegetables and fruits contained in the peel?

Whenever peeling a fruit or vegetable, someone will usually comment (sarcastically), "that's where all the good stuff is", meaning vitamins, minerals, or whatever. Do the skins or peels of common ...
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2answers
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Can any fish climb trees?

I recently came across the following quote on the twitters, attributed to Albert Einstein: Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole ...
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2answers
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Do we have 10 times more microbes than human cells in our body?

An article in the NY times about microbes and their interaction with our bodies contained the following statement: We have over 10 times more microbes than human cells in our bodies I'm a bit ...
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2answers
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Is Lamarckian evolution still considered credible?

I had thought that Lamarckian evolution had been essentially dismissed in favour of Darwinian evolution. Lamarckian evolution as I understand it is essentially the idea that the traits an organism ...
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3answers
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Is yawning contagious across species?

The Mythbusters have "confirmed" the contagiousness of yawning between humans and this study concludes it may be part of a neural network involved in empathy. This hypothesis is supported by ...
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1answer
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Does “stripping the skin's oils” with soap or shampoo cause the skin to produce more oil than normal?

A dubious Wikipedia article makes this claim, which I've seen numerous times before, in various forms: Using shampoo every day removes sebum, the oil produced by the scalp. This causes the ...
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2answers
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Are all cells of the human body completely replaced every seven to ten years?

It have heard several times that, every seven to ten years, all the cells that our body are made of have all been replaced. Example in this NY Times Article This heartening truth, which arises from ...
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1answer
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Is fasting healthy?

My friend said that if you fast for say two weeks or thirty days, it will really improve the health of your body. He said it includes the flushing out the toxins in your fat of the body, improving the ...
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1answer
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Is the video of Soviet Dog Revival Experiment real?

In this video a dog head is brought back to life by injecting blood and air artificially. The dog (its head actually) reacted to sound, touch and used its tongue to taste. I am not skeptic about its ...
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3answers
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Is watering plants under a hot sun bad?

A couple of people have told me that it's a bad for plants to be watered in the middle of a sunny day, i.e. it's not just that you waste more water due to evaporation, but that there are actually bad ...
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1answer
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Spontaneous human combustion, is it possible?

An article from Ireland dated January, 2011 shows that spontaneous human combustion (SHC)remains a hot topic among paranormalists... Spontaneous human combustion has been defined as: Spontaneous ...
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4answers
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Is warm water more effective than cold water for washing one's hands?

When washing my hands, I was always told to use warm soapy water. However, is there any chemical or biological reason why warm soapy water is more effective to cold soapy water when trying to ...
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1answer
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Are (wild) elephants afraid of mice?

Source I have heard from people working in zoos that the myth of elephants being afraid of mice is not true. Here is a short video of a zoo elephant clearly not caring about a mouse. I don't find ...
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1answer
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Do biological males who were castrated at birth and raised as females often behave like stereotypical men?

In "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", James Damore wrote (emphasis added on claim): On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed ...
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Disproving the 10% brain myth with empirical evidence

I am having a discussion with a friend trying to convince him that we do not use only %10 of our brains. I am aware of the answer here as well as the Snopes and Wikipedia pages (which actually have ...
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1answer
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Can flatworms learn a maze by digesting other flatworms?

I recently watched the film Phantoms. A scientist in the movie claimed that flatworms were able to "consume" memories from other flatworms. The specific example was that of learning the solution to a ...
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1answer
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Can “breatharians” live without food or water?

Much like the question here about reptilians hosting the news, I thought that there could not possibly be people who would make claims like this. However, some searching proved me wrong. While not ...