Growing up you believe the world is meant to be the way it is. The older I get the more I realise that this is not the case. The world is full of injustices and atrocities that governments and the voice of faith expect us to accept, though with each passing year they grow fewer and fewer, at least one would hope. I have created this blog as a space for me to rant about all things science, politics, philosophy and religion, before it’s too late and the vessel of new atheism propelled by a growing surge in secularism solves all of the world’s problems for good.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pika Pika!!!

I was watching a David Attenborough documentary the other day (yes I'm an addict) on the life of mammals and there was a section on this weird and wonderful little mammal called a pika (only now did it just click that this is why the pokémon Pikachu was named so!). There are quite a few species but the one in the segment was the North American pika.

These guys are diurnal herbivores, living solitary lives but for in the breeding season. They live in rocky environments up in the high altitude regions where it gets really cool, but interestingly enough they don't hibernate during winter. Instead they spend a crap load of time prior to winter collecting all sorts of vegetation and stock piling it. Over time it turns into hay, which they can use for bedding, insulation as well as food. What was really cool about the segment was when David Attenborough put down a bouquet of flowers on a rock, with no other vegetation anywhere near by it was no time before the pikas came out and pillaged this precious resource, adding it to their piles.

Furthermore, there are many plants in their habitat which are poisonous, yet are still added to the piles of pikas for the winter. These poisons act as a natural preservative for the vegetation, obviously nothing wants to eat it while the poisons are still present. So over time they poisons break down as the vegetation becomes hay and are then safe to be eaten. Amazingly, the pika collects different plants with different amounts of poison that require different times to break down and can thus always have food available at any one time during the winter. Evolution for the mofo win!

Here's the clip from Youtube of David unleashing with the pikas!


  1. No. Random coincidence.

    "The name is a portmanteau of the Japanese words pikapika, an onomatopoeia for electric sparkling, and chū, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeak."