There are questions that have been with us since childhood, but we have never had a clear answer from anyone. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? What colour is a zebra? Why do cats stare into space? These are all questions that have captured the imagination of all of us many times, but never once have we found a satisfactory answer. Until now, that is: in this article, scientists help us find answers to these and similar ‘life-changing’ questions.
What came first: the chicken or the egg?
For a long time, scientists could not determine which came first – the egg or an ancient animal (the ancestor of the chicken), but they finally found an answer. According to Darwin and modern biologists, the egg clearly came first, because life itself is born in the egg cell, so life could not have come into being otherwise. Over time, the ancient bird that evolved from this egg ‘evolved’ into a chicken.
Why do spots appear before our eyes when we look into bright light?
When bright light hits our eyes, the photoreceptors in the retina are temporarily overloaded. This means that for a short time they are unable to respond to anything and – for the best – they make up for the missing parts of the image with ‘spots’.
Is the zebra now black with white stripes or the other way round?!
The zebra is actually a black horse with white stripes. The stripes are the result of a genetic process of selective pigmentation. Scientists believe that this striping helps zebras to keep scavengers away.
Why do cats stare at nothing?
Many people believe that cats often stare into “nothing” because they see ghosts. Of course, this is just a myth, our pets most often stare because they hear certain sounds or smell certain smells that we humans are unable to detect because of our weak senses.
How can a chameleon change colour?
Chameleons have chromatophore pigment cells in their skin, which contain different coloured pigments. But the real key lies in the guanine-based nanocrystal lattice beneath the animal’s skin: chameleons can use the tightness of their skin to control the shape of the crystals in their skin that filter and reflect light – shaping what colour their skin is and when.
Why do we look so much like some of our ancestors?
Human genes are shared. There are dominant (strong) and recessive (weak) genes. If, for example, a blue-eyed child is born to a brown-eyed parent, there is no surprise, it simply means that the parents have recessive blue-eyed genes.
And looking at our ancestors, there is a high probability of finding someone who had a similar set of dominant and recessive genes to us, meaning that they were more like us than our other relatives.
Otherwise, it is often the case that one of the children in a family resembles the mother and the other the father, due to gene divergence: siblings usually have opposite gene combinations.
Why do we sometimes wake up more rested with less sleep?
In fact, waking up feeling rested doesn’t just depend on how many hours you slept last night. If you’ve bombarded yourself with fast food, coffee, energy drinks and maybe not even enough water during the day, it doesn’t matter how many hours you sleep, you’re bound to wake up tired.
Long sleep will not be restful if you start too late, as your body cannot start producing melatonin in time, which can lead to a number of disorders. It’s best to put your head to sleep before midnight.
In cases of unbearable fatigue, you can catch up on rest during the day, but if you decide to sleep, it should preferably be between 1pm and 3pm and should not last longer than 30 minutes. Long daytime naps can be uncomfortable as it is much harder to wake up from a deep sleep phase. This is also why we may not feel more rested after a long afternoon nap.
Why do we feel that the older we get, the faster time passes?
Why are we laughing?
BARCELONA, SPAIN – JUNE 19 : Pigeons standing on the arm of a woman that is feeding them with some of them flying around on a town square on June 19th, 2006 in Barcelona, Spain.Feeding pigeons is a tourist attraction in Barcelona.