1.2 Like begets like

It is possible to follow a character, such as eye colour or hair colour in humans, that is handed down from generation to generation. Such characters are said to be inherited characters (or heritable characters) and are determined by genes. A gene can be considered as a unit of inheritance, which determines a particular character and which is passed on from parent to offspring.

Genes maintain the differences between species, such as oak and human, but they also contribute
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5.4 Coping with heat

Not only are there the mechanisms to generate extra heat, but there are cooling mechanisms too, of which sweating is just one example.

Activity 4

Watch ‘A Winning Design’ on the DVD from 30.50–34.12 and write down the behavi
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the distinctive biological features of monotremes;

  • distinguish contrasting modes of reproduction in monotremes, marsupials and placental mammals;

  • describe the cellular basis of lactation and explain the benefits of an early diet of milk;

  • explain the significance of mammalian metabolic rate;

  • explain how and why the thermogenic response differs amongst species;


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6.3.3 Photomultiplier tubes and detection circuitry

The visible photons are collected by an array of photomultiplier tubes behind the crystal. These convert each visible photon to an electron and then multiply the number of electrons sufficiently to give a voltage pulse. Because the number of visible photons is proportional to the energy of the incoming gamma ray, the height of the pulse depends on this energy. This gives a method of counting the numbers of gamma photons at different energies that reach the crystal.

A resistive network c
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2.3 Examining Europa's surface

It is all very well speculating about conditions in an ocean below Europa's ice, but what evidence is there that it actually exists? After all, tidal heating might not result in ice melting on a global scale, and current geophysical models of Europa's internal structure (e.g. Figure 14 in Section 1.5) cannot te
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4.3 Hierarchies within groups

Within multimale-multifemale groups of the type portrayed in Figure 7f, complex social relationships exist. These animals are ‘forced together’ to defend resources and to avoid predation, but competition for food and mates is substantially greater in large groups. This internal competition has led to males or female
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6 Promoting science promotion: the move from deficit to dialogue

This unit has tried to distinguish between institutional science outreach events and independent alternatives by recognising some of their characteristics and evaluating the extent to which they fulfil (and even create) a political mandate for PEST (Public Engagement in Science and Technology). Although institutional events sometimes involve the deficit style of ‘top-down’ transmission of facts, the examples provided in this unit suggest that they are increasingly imaginative and unusual.
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2.4 ‘Go Use’ science promotion events

Science shops, created in the Netherlands in the 1960s and now spread throughout Europe, first emerged in the UK in 1988 (at Queen's University, Belfast). They act as a demand-driven link between a university or independent research facility and the community (usually via citizen groups, such as pressure groups, social groups, consumers and residents associations), putting one in touch with the other upon request. They carry out scientific research on practical, scientific problems at the loc
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2.2 Size and shape

The shape of the head is determined mainly by the relative sizes of the jaws and the nose and the back of the skull containing the brain, eyes, ears and, in artiodactyls, the horns or antlers. All these structures may differ greatly between otherwise similar species.

SAQ 7


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3.1 Angular size

Figure 19
Figure 19 A total eclipse of the Sun, revealing the outer part of the Sun's atmosphere, the corona, and the inner part, the chromosphere, which can just be seen
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2.5 Tree squirrels

Coevolution also underpins the relationship between many tree squirrels and the trees that house them. The creation of food caches as a ‘winter-larder’ is mutually beneficial, partly because squirrels are sufficiently profligate in their habits to ensure that many stores are overlooked. Stealing by neighbours is so common that such over-provision may be essential – it's not through forgetfulness or lack of skill; grey squirrels appear able to detect nuts buried as deep as 30 cm below th
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2.1 The consequences of living in the trees

This unit contains a lot of detailed information about particular tree-dwelling mammals. You will need to take care not to get too absorbed in the fine details but to ensure that you take away the important overall messages. Those are, of course, listed as the learning outcomes at the beginning of the unit. Loo
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3 Is specialisation always advantageous?

Specialisation generally implies the possession of adaptations that make animals particularly effective or efficient in one or more aspects of their lives. In many of the examples used in other units in this series, mammals are likely to possess adaptations related to the acquisition and/or processing of food.

Que
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Introduction

In this unit, we will examine the biology of the impressive meat eaters (e.g. wolves, lions and cheetahs), focusing in part on the biological ‘equipment’ – slashing and gripping teeth, for example – and on the less obvious behavioural characteristics that have contributed to the undoubted success of these fearsome hunters. Many of the meat eaters live and hunt in groups, which raises intriguing questions about the advantages of group living and the types of social behaviour between in
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3.2 Adaptation

If you are working through the units in this series in sequence, you have already been introduced to the idea that many features of an animal's behaviour and structure are adaptations to their way of life. Unit S182_2 looked at the oily fur and the flipper-like feet of the water shrew, comparing the water shrew to the common shrew, a close relative that does not have these features and that does not chase prey under water. We also thought very carefully about the way that adaptations are desc
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2.1 Overview

In this section, you will meet some new units, the units in which energy is measured. Nowadays, there are internationally agreed units (called SI units) that are often used in combination with a prefix to show the scale of the measurement. The SI unit for energy is the joule (pronounced ‘jool’, and with the
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the implications of a seed/nut-eating habit;

  • suggest why rodents are a successful order of mammals;

  • describe adaptation, based on knowledge of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection;

  • explain how altruistic characteristics can be understood in terms of kin selection and inclusive fitness;

  • give examples of the fitness costs and benefits associated wit
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6.2 Opting out

This last section of the unit contains, I think, some of the most challenging science that you have met so far. Take it slowly, translating all the abbreviations in your head as you come to them (read BAT as ‘brown adipose tissue’, for example) and looking carefully at the graph in Author(s): The Open University

5.2 Body size and metabolic rate

Figure 6 is a slightly more complex graph than those used in S182_1. In particular, the masses of the mammals that are plotted on the horiz
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5.1 Introduction

If you have already worked through S182_1 Studying mammals: a winning design, you'll be aware (from Section 5) that animals break down their food for conversion into usable forms of energy; thus, breakdown of food is sometimes called (as in the commentary to the TV programme) the ‘internal fire’. Fire is a useful analogy because within the body, food is oxidised. This process is comparable to burning, but it is much, much slower and takes place in living tissue. Chemical energy rel
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