Ask A Biologist anything!

The Ask a Biologist site has been relaunched and revamped, and it’s the perfect place for teachers and parents to send kids with difficult questions about biology. It’s really easy: just go to the site, click on the “ask” button, and type in a question…and with a little patience, eventually a qualified expert will try to answer it. Give it a try! is back, bigger and better, to answer your questions about all things biological. We are a group of over 60 professional biologists; Ph.D. students, Post-docs, lecturers and professors, who volunteer to give their time to answer your questions. We have been around now for about 4 years now, and the site will get a brand new feel, the main thing will be that we will have increased ‘user-friendliness’ whereby people will be able to upload a photo of ‘the green insect that is really interested in fallen fruit’. We are here to answer childrens’ question about the natural world, and with biologists and palaeontologists with interests in many different areas, from insects and worms, to dinosaurs and birds, or trees and other plants, to embryos and evolution, and much more besides, we can help!

If you are a parent or a teacher who does not know the answer to a question, give us a go, we might be able to help. In fact, if you have a question, it does not matter how old you are, why not see if we can help. Answering your questions is the main thing that we do, but we also have a new blog section, where we will post exciting science stories. We also have our ‘labcoat essays’ where you can find out what we do as biologists, and we have the archive of all of the questions that we have answered since we began. Another new feature is that now you have the ability to respond to the answer we give to your questions. The only thing that we DO NOT DO, is answer your homework! Obviously there is a difference between the homework of a primary/elementary school child and that of a secondary school and college pupil, but as a rule, if it’s your homework, you have to do it yourself.


  1. Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says

    Ask A Biologist anything!

    Um okay. Do these jeans make my butt look saggy?

  2. llewelly says

    Global warming has contributed to a few extinctions (so far … more likely to come), and to changes in the ranges and behavior of many creatures. So it is likely to have an effect on the evolution of populations that survive it. Are there (at this time) any direct examples of populations evolving to adapt to changes due to global warming?

    (That’s what I submitted.)

  3. Capital Dan says

    What are the biological mechanisms behind dreams, and is it wrong that I dream of PZ Myers wearing a leopard-print thong and fronting the latest incarnation of Van Halen?

  4. Brownian, OM says


    There aren’t. There’s just Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith and Tork now.

    Geez, you didn’t need a biologist for that one.

  5. tsg says


    (IANAB) There aren’t. Not since Peter Tork quit, anyway.

  6. Alex Wild says

    I just had a look around the “Ask a Biologist” site. I’m not impressed.

    In the area that I know something about- insects, mainly- they may as well have asked random people on the street. They’ve got medical scientists with no zoology training just making shit up.

  7. Brownian, OM says

    Sorry tsg, but by now you gotta know that if there’s a lame pun to be made, I’m on it.

  8. toth says

    I’m trying to resist the urge to flood it with “If evolution is true, why are there still 747s??” questions.

  9. Shadow says


    There are 747’s because most of them are built in Everett and don’t require a tornado.

  10. says

    fuckin’ maggots! How do they work?

  11. tsg says

    Re: #17

    From the article:

    Seismologists have warned for at least two decades that it is likely the sprawling capital will be struck by a catastrophic quake in the near future.


    “We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice,” Mahsooli said.

    At first it looked like a case of “I hate this so my god hates this”, but it is actually a case of “we can’t do anything, let’s ask people to pray so it looks like we are”.

  12. vanharris says


    Episode XLIX: The endless thread is doomed; it has sunk to discussing cute widdle kitty-cats
    Category: Open Thread
    Posted on: April 18, 2010 3:40 PM, by PZ Myers

    the kitty cat (pussy cat) chased off a bear.

  13. Sven DiMilo says

    fuckin’ Magdalenes–how do they work?




    never mind

  14. MadScientist says

    I remember a site like this for physics; questions would not be answered for a few days, just to discourage lazy kids from asking other people to do their homework.

  15. and7barton says

    Quote #7 – “But how come there are still Monkees ?”

    Precisely – and what about the Beatles ?
    50% of the Beatles are extinct.
    ….and what happened to the Animals and the Byrds ?

  16. shonny says

    Posted by: Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou Author Profile Page | April 19, 2010 12:26 PM

    Ask A Biologist anything!

    Um okay. Do these jeans make my butt look saggy?

    No, it’s your butt that makes the jeans look saggy.
    Tighten up the bum-cheeks!