Feathers

A Comparison of Keratin Use in Pangolin, Reptile, and Bird Scales

Abstract Skin, a keratin-based tissue, is the largest organ in humans. This essay examines the molecular structural function of keratins, their evolutionary origins, and functions in scales and scale-derived structures.  The organisms examined are pangolins, reptiles, and birds. The hierarchical structure of keratin proteins is described for alpha and beta…

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Mathematical modeling of aerodynamic functions of aquatic and avian tails

The world of mathematics holds much value when it comes to computing, establishing, and resolving the many different complex relationships found in natural sciences. This, naturally, holds true for biological systems and their vast array of unique biomechanical tools and even for the complex diversity in social behaviors. In this…

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Hormonal Control of Molting

Molting is a crucial and intricate process requiring the timely shedding of an animal’s body part, which may include the epidermis, the pelage, or the entire exoskeleton. In accordance with the extraordinary diversity observed within the animal kingdom, molting takes many forms and is characterized by specific processes for each…

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Applications of Newtonian Mechanics in the Animal Molting Process

Molting or ecdysis is the intricate yet routine biological process through which the external layer is shed and replaced. Molting is necessary as it allows organisms to grow at a healthy rate, however it is a very risky process that often leaves the animal vulnerable and exposed for the duration…

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Animal Communication: A Physical Review

Communication in the animal kingdom has been explored by humans for centuries. As the species with the most elaborate form of communication, language, we seek to understand how other species interact amongst themselves. Though we are unable to comprehend their communication in the way that we understand our own speech,…

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Courtship and Mating: the Physics of Sexual Dimorphism and its Evolutionary Function

Sexual dimorphisms are defined as the differences in size and anatomy between sexes of animals of the same species. These differences arise from reproductive pressures and oftentimes have no survival benefits. The manifestation of such sexual dimorphisms varies significantly based on courting and mating practices. In this essay, we analyze…

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Physiological and Behavioral Adaptations in Migratory Animals

Migration is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs in many disparate corners of the animal kingdom. To better understand how it works, its similarities, and its differences in relation to variation across species we have explored eight different examples. The microstructure of the Bean Goose’s feather allows durable and light flight.…

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