Pheromones at fifty
It’s 50 years since two researchers proposed calling a class of specialised odours “pheromones” – rather more euphonious than the “ecto-hormones” that had previously been described.
And they are found across the animal kingdom, from moths to pigs.
But are we humans susceptible to pheromones?
Experiments at speed dating events suggest that women inhaling pheromones are more likely to find their male companions attractive – but the scents aren’t the overwhelming turn-on some would-be Don Juans would like.
Quentin gets the low-down on the latest research.
Ponds for Life
There are almost 500,000 ponds in the UK countryside (not to mention another 2 million in our gardens), but the vast majority of them are in a deplorable condition.
Pond Conservation proposes to dig another 500,000 away from sources of pollution, because ponds, much neglected by ecologists, are the refuge for huge ranges of biodiversity.
They may even be the cradle of life itself. Quentin hears reasons to be cheerful about ponds.
Next week on Material World - is the evolution of language a cultural thing?