Discarded antlers lie on the Alaskan plains

Shedding body parts

Shedding body parts, or abscission which means cutting away, is the process by which plants get rid of entire organs that have been damaged or are no longer needed. It includes the dropping of leaves, flowers and fruits such as in autumn when deciduous plants drop their leaves in response to the onset of winter. Fungi and even some animals shed body parts for different reasons. Lizards drop their tails when threatened by a predator, stags cast off their antlers after the rut and snakes shed their skins.

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Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Wild autumn Wild autumn

    Autumn - a time of great change, of breathtaking migrations, of high drama.