Have you ever wanted to know how much gas a sauropod dinosaur might pass in a day? What an echidna smells like when it dies? If it’s true that Indian rhinos don’t blink? How far a flea might be able to jump in zero gravity?
Probably not. But imagine if you did: the good news is that there is now an open-access internet forum dedicated to the answering of your biological questions. It’s Ask A Biologist, the brainchild of Dr David Hone of Munich’s Bayerische Staatssammlung fur Palaontologie und Geologie. Though designed mostly for children of school-going age, Ask A Biologist is open to anyone, and exists to both promote science, and to provide an open-access and user-friendly science forum where qualified experts provide their expertise for free. So far about 50 biologists and palaeontologists from around the world are on the Ask A Biologist panel, representing most branches of the life sciences. They include Carl Zimmer, Prof PZ Myers, Prof Steve Jones, Dr Luis Chiappe, Dr John Hutchinson, Dr Alice Roberts, and many others, including yours truly. Thanks to a generous grant recently provided by The Palaeontological Association, Ask A Biologist now has a new, snazzy webite, and the re-launching of the site was covered in the national British press recently. Do feel free to check it out, and do paste the link if you want to spread the word and help promote science education.
Coming next…. Speculative Zoology: Wedel throws down the gauntlet.