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Portal:Biology

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Harvestman opilio canestrinii male.jpg

Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis.

Sub-disciplines of biology are defined by the research methods employed and the kind of system studied: theoretical biology uses mathematical methods to formulate quantitative models while experimental biology performs empirical experiments to test the validity of proposed theories and understand the mechanisms underlying life and how it appeared and evolved from non-living matter about 4 billion years ago through a gradual increase in the complexity of the system. See branches of biology.

Selected article

Adenanthos cuneatus (cultivated, labelled as Adenanthos cuneata f. prostrate)

Adenanthos cuneatus, also known as coastal jugflower, flame bush, bridle bush and sweat bush, is a shrub of the family Proteaceae native to the south coast of Western Australia. The French naturalist Jacques Labillardière originally described it in 1805. Within the genus Adenanthos, it lies in the section Adenanthos and is most closely related to A. stictus. A. cuneatus has hybridized with four other species of Adenanthos. Growing to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) high and wide, it is erect to prostrate in habit, with wedge-shaped lobed leaves covered in fine silvery hair. The single red flowers are insignificant, and appear all year, though especially in late spring. The reddish new growth occurs over the summer.


Selected biography

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Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was a British fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in the Jurassic age marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis where she lived. Her work contributed to the fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the earth that occurred in the early 19th century.

Anning searched for fossils in the area's Blue Lias cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly, before they were lost to the sea. It was dangerous work, and she nearly lost her life in 1833 during a landslide that killed her dog Tray. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified, which she and her brother Joseph found when she was just twelve years old; and the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found. Her observations played a key role in the discoveries that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs, and that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces.

Anning's gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain—dominated as it was by wealthy Anglican gentlemen. She struggled financially for much of her life. Her family were poor, and as religious dissenters were subject to legal discrimination. Her father, a cabinetmaker, died when she was eleven. She became well known in geological circles around the world, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils. However, as a woman she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London, and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. Indeed she wrote in a letter: "The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone." The only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter which Anning had written to the magazine's editor questioning one of its claims. After her death her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote of her in 1865 that "[t]he carpenter's daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it."


Major topics

General Life | species | biology
Evolution (Intro) Natural selection | genetic drift | sexual selection | speciation | mutation | gene flow
Tree of life Cladistics | Animals | plants | fungi | protists | bacteria | archaea | prokaryote | eukaryote | three-domain system | angiosperms | insects | molluscs | nematodes | viruses
Classification of man Primate | mammal | vertebrate | craniata | chordate | deuterostome | animal
History of biology Great Chain of Being | omne vivum ex ovo | timeline of biology and organic chemistry
History of... ecology | evolutionary biology | geography | model organisms | molecular biology | paleontology
Biochemistry DNA | RNA | protein | enzyme | protein folding | carbohydrate | lipid | glycolysis | citric acid cycle | electron transport chain | oxidative phosphorylation | photosynthesis | protein structure
Genetics (Intro) Gene | genome | karyotype | transcription | translation | recombination | chromosome | Mendelian inheritance | phenotype | genotype | epigenetics | splicing | mutation | genetic fingerprint | chromatin | classical genetics | ecological genetics | molecular genetics | population genetics | quantitative genetics
The cell Cell wall | cell membrane | cytoskeleton | mitochondrion | chloroplast | nucleus | endoplasmic reticulum | Golgi apparatus | cell cycle | mitosis | metabolism | cell signaling | protein targeting
Life cycle DNA replication | reproduction | ploidy | spermatogenesis | alternation of generations | oogenesis | parasitism | evolution of sex | meiosis | senescence
Development Tissues | fertilization | embryogenesis | gastrulation | neurulation | organogenesis | differentiation | morphogenesis | metamorphosis | ontogeny
Lab techniques Genetic engineering | transformation | gel electrophoresis | chromatography | centrifugation | cell culture | DNA sequencing | DNA microarray | green fluorescent protein | vector | enzyme assay | protein purification | Western blot | Northern blot | Southern blot | restriction enzyme | polymerase chain reaction | two-hybrid screening | in vivo - in vitro - in silico
Life history Altricial - precocial | sex ratio
Behaviour Altruism - cooperation - foraging - learning - parental care - sexual conflict - territoriality
Ecology Biomass | food chain | indicator species | extinction | biogeography | habitat | species distribution | Gaia theory | metapopulation
Conservation Biodiversity | biodiversity hotspot | nature reserve | edge effect | Allee effect | corridor | fragmentation | pollution | invasive species | in situ - ex situ | seedbank | environmental economics
Field techniques Belt transect | mark and recapture | species discovery curve
Other fields Anatomy | astrobiology | biological anthropology | botany | bioengineering | bioinformatics | environmental science | ethology | human biology | marine biology | microbiology | natural history | origin of life | paleontology | parasitology | pathology | pharmacology | phylogenetics | physiology | synthetic biology | systems biology | taxonomy | zoology
Assessment Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
See also Template:History of biology

Selected image


Atelopus certus calling male edit.jpg

Atelopus certus, the Darien stubfoot toad or Toad Mountain harlequin frog, is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae endemic to Panama.


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