Dear Dr. Universe, Why do we age? -Logan, 12, Pullman, WA
It’s usually later in life that we see the more dramatic signs of aging, like gray hair, wrinkles, and lots of birthday candles on our cake. But we really start growing older from the time we are born. » More …
What are fingernails made of? -Amy, 8, Seattle, WA
My claws can come in quite handy when I need to scratch my ears or climb trees. I bet you’ve found that your own fingernails can be useful tools, too. Perhaps you’ve used them to pick up a penny or peel an orange. » More …
Why do bees make hexagons in their hives? Why not any other shape? -Aditya, 10, New Delhi, India
When bees make hexagons in their hives, the six-sided shapes fit together perfectly. In fact, we’ve actually never seen bees make any other shape. That’s what I found out when I visited my friend Sue Cobey, a bee researcher at Washington State University.
Cobey showed me some honeycombs where the female bees live and work. Hexagons are useful shapes. They can hold the queen bee’s eggs and store the pollen and honey the worker bees bring to the hive.
When you think about it, making circles wouldn’t work too well. It would leave gaps in the honeycomb. The worker bees could use triangles or squares for storage. Those wouldn’t leave gaps. But the hexagon is the strongest, most useful shape. » More …
Can frog babies hear their mothers croaking underwater? -Ella, 9, Seattle, WA
Baby frogs go through some pretty big changes to become grown-up frogs. They start out as tiny tadpoles with just a head and a tail to help them swim. They have an inner ear and can hear some sounds. » More …
Dr. Universe: Is the puffin a descendent of the dodo?
-Samykutha, Chennai, India
The dodo bird isn’t with us anymore, but if you visit a city park you’ll likely see one of its very close relatives walking around. It might even be nibbling on a French fry. Dodos were a pigeon, said my friend Michael Webster. » More …