Children ‘s science questions What is the reason for the feeling of falling on the verge of falling asleep?

Children’s science questions also consider mammoths ’swimming skills, mini-peppers inside the peppers, and the slowness of the lazy. And which animal’s fart is the loudest?

Hilla Laukkola, 12

Sometimes indeed, when you fall asleep, you experience a feeling of falling. It can be such a believable experience that it shakes you awake for a moment.

That feeling is familiar to many. As many as 70 percent of people sometimes have naps and 10 percent have them every day. The shock is also clearly seen in brain electrocardiogram studies performed during sleep.

Caffeinated beverages, stress, and anxiety can increase drowsiness. Sometimes flickers can also be caused by an illness. Usually, however, there is no particular reason for them.

Namely, when a person falls asleep, the transition to sleep causes a change in muscle tension. Sometimes the brain produces an unstable interpretation of that change, which eventually causes a feeling of fright or falling.

The feeling is harmless, and often after falling asleep quickly. It may be that falling asleep has also been helpful over time. Especially for our ancestors sleeping in the trees, the feature may have been important.

Liisa Kuula

postdoctoral researcher in psychology

university of Helsinki

Mammoths lived – and perhaps swam – about 4,000 years ago.

Did the mammoths swim?

Noah Rivera Rentola, 11

The last ones mammoths died about 4,000 years ago. It’s been so long that we don’t have definite information about their bathing abilities. However, it is very likely that they were good swimmers.

We can get clues about the abilities of extinct animals by looking at their currently living Close Relatives. The bodies of the mammoths were very similar in structure and function to the present Asian elephants.

Elephants are top class terrestrial animals. They are known to survive several tens of kilometers of swimming trips.

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They keep their sufferers high on the surface of the water and breathe through it in the same way that people use snorkels.

There is no reason to suspect that the mammoths ’swimming skills were inferior to current elephants.

It is known from the bone finds that mammoths have also arrived in the Santa Barbara Islands off the west coast of the United States during the ice age.

There is a long distance of water travel between the islands and the mainland. So the mammoths must have come there swimming too.

Today, elephants, inspired by their brilliant sense of smell, sometimes seek better food from islands so far on the horizon that they are indistinguishable to the naked eye from the shore.

So it may have been for mammoths in Santa Barbara.

Laura Arppe


Central Museum of Natural History Organics

There may be an edible surprise inside the pepper.

Why do mini peppers sometimes form inside a pepper?

Rafael Laurel, 12

Mini peppers develops like pepper seeds from an embryonic bladder. Embryonic foxes are located in the fetus at the base of the pepper flower.

After the eggs of the peppers have fertilized, pollen develops into seeds from the embryos. If less pollen particles settle on the emulsifier, i.e. the pollen-receiving part, than there are embryonic vesicles in the fetus, not all embryonic vesicles will be fertilized.

A mini-pepper is born from an infertile embryonic bladder that usually disappears without a trace. The pepper thus develops in the middle of the seeds of the actual pepper. It resembles a pepper with a larger shape.

The development of mini-pepper is an inherited developmental disorder. A similar property in the plant of the ryegrass is caused by a defect in the gene that regulates the action of the hormone auxin. The corresponding inheritance factor for peppers is unknown.

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Mini peppers are suitable for eating like real peppers. Eating a small pepper is made easier by the fact that it never contains seeds. Most mini-peppers come in low-seeded peppers.

Esa Tyystjärvi

Associate Professor of Plant Physiology and Biophysics

University of Turku

A lazy rhythm of life is suitable for a lazy person.

What does a lazy person get from being so slow?

Konni Ahtinen, 10 and Taano Ahtinen, 7

Sloth is really slow in his movements. It usually moves only about 24 meters a day, mostly in the dark.

Lazy people thrive in the trees. They can eat the leaves of 30 species of trees. The leaves are a very poorly digestible food. They do not turn into feces in a lazy person until about a week. Leaf food also provides little energy.

The lazy man has adapted to it in an exceptional way for mammals.

Instead of precisely regulating body temperature, it varies between about 25 and 35 degrees in a lazy person. If the outside temperature drops below 25 degrees, they will have to increase their energy consumption. It helps that the lazy people live in the hot tropics.

Because lazy people do not usually need to maintain body temperature and move slowly, they can handle less than half the amount of energy consumed by homogeneous mammals or birds. The need for energy is almost as low as for lizards.

Lazy people therefore benefit from their slowness, as they do better with their leaf diet. In the zoos, they also taste a succulent salad and even a banana.

Lazy people also benefit from their slowness in the sense that it helps them live relatively long lives. They usually live to be between 20 and 30 years old. Animals with a more active body tend to live shorter than slower animals.

Vesa Paajanen

University Lecturer in Animal Physiology

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University of Eastern Finland

Which animal’s fart is the loudest and how loud does it come from?

Any animal with a mouth and anus can squat.

Joel Jylintä, 5

All animals with a mouth and anus may squint. The burning occurs when the body’s bacteria digest the food the animal eats and gases are formed in the gut.

Animals also swallow air when they eat, which increases the banging. As the gas gets out, the body leaves the body.

Animals often gnaw unintentionally, and farts are silent. A lot of gas is produced in the stomach or intestines of large herbivorous mammals, such as hippos and cows. There is also obviously a lot of gas in the foxes of whales.

Despite the large amount of gas, even the farts of such large animals are not always loud because not much force is used to bang. Of course, big animals can sometimes release big bangs, which can resemble a lawnmower in volume.

Humans are the only animal species that often boosts their musculature by deliberately using their farts, making them loud.

The sound is amplified by the fact that the gases come out of the small anus. Indeed, man would certainly be at the forefront of animal fart competitions. The amount of gas in human beings is small.

Humans are the only animal species that hold fart competitions. The World Championships in the last race came off with a result of just over 78 decibels. The world’s toughest people have apparently banged like a street drill with well over 100 decibels. No exact comparison of the intensity of the bursts between different animal species has been made.

Ilari E. Sääksjärvi

Professor of Biodiversity Research

University of Turku

Send the question, the full name and age of the questioner to The column will be edited by Touko Kauppinen and Juha Merimaa.

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