Archive for the ‘Neuron – vol. 4 (issue 1) – Oct 17 (2007)’ Category

Cigarettes Off!

October 9, 2009

By Heba El-Swais

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I would like to address AUCans’ habit of putting out cigarettes on trees. To you, it may look like a piece of wood that can be used to put out your cigarette, but it is living, and tissue does die when burned. How hard is it to put out your cigarette by stepping on it then throwing it in the trash? No need to kill a defenseless tree because you decided to inhale toxins. Trees have enough to do in Cairo by dealing with the smog of the city. The tree should not have to suffer for your need to put extra carbon monoxide in your lungs. 

                                                                    Heba El-Swais,

                                                              heba_sw@aucegypt.edu

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Two-headed Turtle (from Yahoo Pictures)

October 9, 2009

Picture of the Month - Two-headed Turtle

The Koala

October 9, 2009

picture7.png“Ah, yes, the koala bear! Impossibly cute, but also incredibly dull! What he is doing now [in this picture] is what he’ll be doing for the rest of his life – eating eucalyptus leaves. These leaves provide him with all the nourishment he needs, including liquid… That’s right! Koala bears don’t drink. Nothing! Ever!” – Animal Planet.

THE PALM DOVE

October 9, 2009

Streptopelia senegalensis

By Maha Khalil

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Possibly the second commonest animal on campus after the famous AUC cat, this red-brown-and –blue-grey dove is often seen walking fearlessly on the ground close to the hurrying feet of students, confident of its ability to fly out of harm’s way at the right moment. The palm dove (also known as the laughing dove) lives in towns and in open areas with scattered trees, and nests in buildings on windowsills or ledges or any other kind of manmade sheltered area as well as in trees and bushes.

            Palm doves feed on small seeds and bread crumbs, and are attracted to places where people would feed birds. They are often seen tapping the ground with their claws near the bamboo chairs on campus, feasting on the remains of a student’s meal in the afternoons or early in the mornings.

             Beyond AUC, palm doves, until the end of the last century, were found mostly in tropical Africa and east through southern Arabia to Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and India. Presently, they have spread and continue to spread in Asia and Africa.

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             The breeding season lasts throughout most of the year, reaching a peak in spring and early summer. The male courts the female by flying steeply upwards 10m while flapping his wings and then gliding in circles with the wings and tail outstretched. Palm dove pairs spend two days building a very simple nest together; the male brings the material and the female arranges it. Three days later, the female lays one egg and then lays another 24 hours later. Both hatch within 14 days allowing two blind, down-covered chicks to emerge. The chicks open their eyes after five days and are capable of flying two weeks later.

Source:

– The International Centre for the Study of Bird Migration. http://www.birds.org.il

Pregnant Cycads on Main Campus

October 9, 2009

By Maha Khalil 

cc1.jpgThere was an intimate relationship in full swing in the Science Garden near the end of last spring semester, and hardly anyone knew about it!     

    picture3.png Last spring, Dr. Moshira Hassan and her Diversity of Life students undertook the task of pollinating the cycad trees around Main Campus. The male cones of these decorative trees were carefully removed and then gently patted over the female cones to dust them with pollen. Under the care of the summer sun, the female eggs were fertilized and the cones are now filled with roundish orange-red seeds. If you come to visit our pregnant cycads, you will find the beautiful female cones nestled in the center of their green crowns and you could also see the seeds. 

picture2.pngCycads are often confused with palm trees, which they are not. While palm trees are flowering plants, cycads are gymnosperms which produce “naked” seeds or seeds not enclosed inside an ovary. Gymnosperms also include ginkgos, gnetophytes and the famous conifers. Cycads are widely grown for decorating gardens in many parts  of the world.

  Source:

– Starr, Cecile and Taggart, Ralph (2004). The Unity and Diversity of Life: Protistans. (10th edition). Australia, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, Thompson Brroks/Cole.