Proboscis Monkey: Does Size Matter?

The Proboscis monkey is a primate found on the southeastern Asian island of Borneo. Also known as the long-nosed monkey due to its abnormally oversized nose it is easily recognized. Along with its long nose, it is covered in multi-colored fur. Its hair is reddish-brown near the head and neck, light-brown around the body and arms, and grey at the torso and legs.

So, why does this monkey have such a large nose? Scientists are not exactly sure why the Proboscis monkey has developed such as large nose but they do know that it is related to mating. It is believed that the larger the nose the more attractive a male might be. This can be due to the visual size but, it is also believed that a larger nose is correlated with louder mating calls. Louder matting calls mean that they can be heard by more females and have a better chance of reproducing. Adaptations that increase the ability to reproduce will have a greater chance of being expressed. This is the reason Proboscis monkeys have large noses.

If you haven’t heard of the Proboscis monkey it is not a surprise. These primates are slowly going endangered. The reason for this is due to the damage and destruction of their natural habitats and food sources. Their diet consists of leaves, fruits, and sometimes insects. The increase in oil palm plantations and logging in the area has reduced the accessibility to these necessary nutrients as well as a safe home.

While living in the forests and mangroves of southeastern Asia, they face some of the most dangerous predators. These include leopards, humans, crocodiles, and more! To evade these predators they have developed webbed feet and hands to swim across rivers and lakes as well as their natural ability to climb trees.

The Probiscis money can range drastically between females and males. Males can reach weights of 50 pounds while females will only reach weights of 20 pounds. The male will also be about 2.5 feet in height while the female will be about 2 feet in height.

What is an Acid and a Base

growing up, you constantly hear the term acid and base used to describe liquids such as your water or even a fictional mixture you see on TV. But, what actually is an Acid and a Base? When asking this question it is important to first ask what definition of Acid and Base are you asking for? There are three major definitions of these:

  1. Arrhenius Definition- an acid generates H+ ions while a base generates OH- ions in solution (acids increase [H+] while bases increase [OH-])
  2. Brønsted-Lowry Definition– an acid is a proton donor while a base is a proton acceptor
  3. Lewis Definition– an acid is an electron acceptor while a base is an electron acceptor.

All of these definitions are correct in their own way and you may see different theories used in different situations. The major difference between these definitions is the result of transfer in a solution. Arrhenius acids and bases look purely at the products (H+ and OH-). Brønsted-Lowry looks at the proton exchange while Lewis looks at the electron exchange.

But, how and why are these important? There are many reasons you may be interested in the products of an acid and base or if the acid or base donates or accepts a proton or electron. For example, you may be interested in water reactivity and how it will interact with an acid or base. Another example is the interest in the confirmation and formation of new compounds. Knowing what parts of a compound is an acid or base can tell you what will happen to its structure in specific environments. This can lead to the characteristics of the compound to change and thus change its purpose.

The one tool you always hear in the complement of acids and bases is the pH scale. The pH scale is a way to measure acidity by using the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. This scale is typically from 0 to 14 but, the scale can go beyond the normal range. This, however, is extremely rare and means you have a very dangerous material in your possession.

The pH scale is measured using the equation pH=-log([H+]). This means that as you increase the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution (increase acids), you will see a decrease in the pH scale. Since this scale is measured by log base 10 it is also important to realize that going from a pH of 8 to 4 does not mean you halved the pH and increase the acidity by 2 times. Every increase in a whole number on the pH scale corresponds with a 1×10^10 increase. This means that the change from 8 to 4 would actually be 10,000 times more acidic.

Overall, the general characteristics of Acids and Bases are as follows:

  • Acids:
    • Good conductors
    • pH value less than 7
    • Sour in taste
  • Bases:
    • Bad conductors
    • pH value greater than 7
    • Bitter in taste

Wombat: Friendly or Deadly

The Wombat is a quadricep marsupial that is native to the continent of Australia. They have a thick fur brown coat, usually, and look as if you miniaturized a brown bear. Even though these animals may look cute and look like they cause no harm, they are extremely aggressive and can be fatal if threatened. Their main form of defense and aggression is to flee the area back to their burrow. There, they will wait with their teeth to attack a predator or anything that comes near it. They will also wait for the predator to come near the burrow and use their rump to smash the attacker’s head against the roof of the burrow, ultimately killing the danger.

Photo by Karen Laårk Boshoff on

One of the most unique characteristics of the Wombat is their ability to grow rootless teeth. Usually, marsupials will have a few layers of teeth that grow in and that is it, similar to humans. However, Wombats can continually replace their teeth with new ones. This reduces the chance of losing the ability to defend itself as well as eat certain foods. When thinking of marsupials, the first one that comes to head is a kangaroo. They hop on their hind legs and have a long tails. Wombats do not do this and thus do not need a long tail to aid in their movement and balance. Instead, they have adapted long front paws that aid in their ability to dig a burrow for a safe place to hide.

As you begin to learn about Wombats you may realize that they are a force to be reconned with. But, what do these warriors of Australia eat? To your surprise, those never-ending teeth like sharks and big front claws like lions do not help them catch prey. Wombats are herbivores and mostly eat grasses, herbs, roots, and bark. Their body has even adapted to obtain most of their water from food and they can live years without drinking water.

If you are ever in Australia and wondering where you might find one of these marsupials, you can look almost anywhere from wet and dry lands to forests and slopes. Wombats are adapted for almost anything and just want a place where the soil is easy for them to dig in. If you do come across a Wombat, you can expect a 60-pound animal that is 3 feet in length and can run up to 25 miles per hour.