Aromatics of Desire

Pheromones are the lineal ancestors of hormones as EO Wilson says. These chemical signals have several outstanding advantages. Small amounts can produce a signal that lasts for hours. They are energetically cheap to manufacture and can be broadcast quite readily. At one extreme they can cover barely a few millimetres. At the other extreme they…

Sea of grass

If you are in the Serengeti, and you look across the sea of grass, for that is what Serengeti means and is, a sea of grass, you will see how boundless is that space, the Eastern African plains. It stretches on forever and the eye cannot take in the vastness of it. Faraway, the air…

Leks, mungs, and communal sexual displays

Communal sexual displays are colourful, dramatic and spectacular. These displays occur in a lek or arena and in the true leks of birds, for example in the sage grouse, each lek contains a mating centre and up to 400 male birds congregate in the lek visited by a comparable number of females for short periods…