Science questions for kids | Is man a wild animal?

Saana Heikkinen, 7

Challenging a question, the answer to which is good to start by considering whether a person is a tame animal.

A wild animal usually means the opposite of a domesticated animal. In domestication, or domestication, people have tried to change the genetics and growth environment of some wild animals so that it would be easy to raise animals for food or companionship.

It has typically been thought that only humans can tame the rest of nature. Thus, one could think that man himself is a wild animal, because no other animal has tamed us.

However, domestication has started to be viewed more and more as a reciprocal phenomenon as well: when a person has, for example, tamed a dog from a wolf, the dog has in a way also tamed the person. So maybe man is not a wild animal after all.

Wildness has often been considered something that people must grow out of or protect from. Today, wildness also has positive meanings. Since domestication has resulted in a decline in biodiversity, it has been suggested that people should now wilden nature, i.e. reduce their control over the rest of nature.

At the same time, people might go wild themselves – become more wild animals, which might help to live more ecologically sustainably.

Sami Keto

nonfiction writer and doctoral researcher

University of Tampere

The forms of words are determined in some cases based on how they are easier to pronounce.

Why are Finns Finns and not Finns, and Russians Russians and not Russians?

Atlas Haswell, 10

Of words the rules of formation are part of the grammar, which in each language has been shaped in its own way over time. Some of the rules are easy: another form is obtained by simply adding something after the word.

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When forming Finnish words, however, it often happens that the word itself changes a little at the same time. Fortunately, you don’t need to know many rules, it’s enough to remember the formatting method.

The body of the word Suomi is Finland. That form is therefore usually used before the endings that come to the word. The regular form would be Finnish, but the letter e has adapted to the letter a at the end of the word. This is because Finnish is easier to say.

A similar case is the word Swedish, whose regular form would be Swedish.

In modern language, the body of a Russian is, on the other hand, a Russian. However, the older two-syllable stem is used in the word Russian. The popularity of the shorter body is explained by the ease of pronunciation, although the longer Russian form is also sometimes heard.

In different dialects and in old books, you can find even more special structures – they bring out the history and change of the language. In the past, the forms lasna and nuorna might have been used, for example, although nowadays everyone says child and youth.

Kaarina Pitkänen-Heikkilä

docent, Finnish language university lecturer

university of Helsinki

When the cone falls to the ground and decomposes, the trees can use the nutrients it contains.

Can pine cones die?

Niklas Keinänen, 4

Plants and animals are made up of small building blocks called cells. Trees usually have both live and dead cells at the same time. Nothing happens inside the dead cells, but they can have important functions in the trees. For example, the bark has strong-walled dead cells that protect the trunk of the tree.

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Pine cones are initially living inflorescences. As they grow bigger, they harden and the seeds inside them develop. When the cone is ready, its cells begin to die, although the seeds inside live. In order for the cone to open and the seeds to get out, it must dry out. New trees grow from seeds in the ground. Even after drying, the cone is a home for some insects.

Eventually the cone falls to the ground and it breaks. The trees can use the nutrients that were in it. It helps them grow new cones. You can also take the cone as a decoration or take it with you to games.

So the pine trees die, but the life they help continues.

Katri Himanen

specialist researcher

Natural Resources Center

The Earth’s gravitational force is greater than the Moon, so the Moon could lift heavier objects.

How heavy can you lift an object on the Moon?

Samuel Nikumaa, 5

For lifting is affected by the attraction of the celestial body.

To illustrate the matter, you can think that if a person gets to the Moon to lift objects, the person and the Moon compete in the lifting situation by pulling on the object. If the Moon wins the drag race, the object will not leave its surface. If the person wins, the object rises, at least for a moment.

A large celestial body pulls objects with a large force, and small objects with a smaller force.

The Earth is much larger than the Moon. Its attraction is about six times that of the Moon.

When lifting objects, it happens that if you can carry a watering can on Earth, you could carry six cans on the Moon.

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If the World Weightlifting Championships were held on the Moon, the strongest person in the world could lift a tractor, even if the same person on Earth could only lift a horse. The world record for the deadlift is 501 kilograms.

Minna Palmroth

professor of space physics

university of Helsinki

Tearing is rare in the animal kingdom.

Why didn’t dinosaurs cry?

Väinö Karhu, 5

Man is the only animal species that we know for sure that cries tears when sad or otherwise in a strong emotional state. However, it is possible that, for example, elephants cry in the same way as humans. In any case, shedding tears is very rare in the animal kingdom.

It is known that the closest living relatives of dinosaurs, i.e. birds and crocodiles, produce tear fluid similar to humans. With them, however, tear fluid mainly acts as a moisturizer and cleaner for the eyes. This was probably the case with dinosaurs as well.

Although many animals do not show their feelings by crying, they do feel pain and fear, for example. This must have been the case with dinosaurs as well.

It is impossible to say exactly how the dinos expressed their feelings. However, it is known that birds and reptiles often do not express, for example, the feeling of pain very strongly. It is not an essential thing in their sociality.

It has been important for people’s sociability to show their feelings clearly to other species and to interpret others’ feelings based on that. Thus, crying with tears has also been useful.

Juha Saarinen

paleontologist, academy researcher

university of Helsinki

Send the question, the questioner’s full name and age to [email protected] The column is edited by Touko Kauppinen and Juha Merimaa.

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