You May Also Like125 Years. 125 Objects. 125 Stories. Five Things: Winter 2020 Seen+Heard: Winter 2020
The ultimate providers
Insects such as bees, butterflies, flies, and beetles are the most common pollinators, but as many as 1,500 species of vertebrates such as birds and mammals serve as pollinators, too. These include hummingbirds, perching birds, fruit bats, opossums, lemurs, and geckos.
Cooperation: That’s for the birds
Song, radical coloration, nest building, and dancing have made birds powerful symbols of love and cooperation. Incubating eggs in a nest and parenting warm-blooded chicks has generated a beautiful diversity of reproductive behavior among birds. The breadth of bird parenting strategies ranges from dropping an egg into another’s nest (cowbirds), a single mother or single father raising a brood alone (manakins and tinamous), or parents splitting up tasks—as a pair (ostriches and 90 percent of all birds), a trio (oystercatchers), or a group (acorn woodpeckers). Their diverse family arrangements make their sex lives and parenting strategies valuable case studies of cooperation —a trait many bird families share with human families.
Did you know?
An estimated 10 nonillion (10 to the 31st power) individual viruses exist on our planet. Yet, only a tiny fraction of them pose any threats to humans. The reason has less to do with human resilience than the biological quirks of the viruses themselves.
Frolicking in the forest: It’s good for you
There’s hiking, and then there’s shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of “forest bathing.” Those who forest bathe walk slowly and breathe deeply—almost like a form of meditation. Numerous studies show that both exercising in forests and simply sitting and looking at trees reduces blood pressure, as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Making art helps us imagine a more hopeful future
Whether it’s sewing, sculpting, or sketching, making art can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood, says Girija Kaimal, a professor at Drexel University and a leading researcher in art therapy. Flexing your creative side can give you a stronger sense of agency—the ability to solve problems by imagining possible solutions. Making art can also feel pretty awesome, she says. Engaging in any act of visual expression activates the reward pathway in your brain, “which is perceived as a pleasurable experience
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