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Sarah HarrisonRSS Feed of this column.

I'm an Oxford graduate in Biological sciences, embarking on a PhD at Cambridge. This possibly makes me a traitor, but it also makes me a girl who bloody loves science. I particularly love all things... Read More »


Aplysia californica is a curious beast indeed. The California sea hare is a species of sea slug; a hermaphroditic gastropod mollusc that feeds on seaweed and occasionally squirts ink if you piss it off. Charming little chap, really.

It's a bizarre feeling, yet it’s one that we’ve all probably experienced, at one time or another.  

Whether it’s the brush of a feather-duster, or a friend’s fingers under your chin, a great many of us are ticklish. There are a number of spots on the body which appear to be particularly sensitive to being tickled, as many an older-sibling will have discovered, when they attack the underarms, belly, ribcage or the soles of the feet of a younger brother or sister.

The idea that dogs tend to look like their owners is big news to no-one. Even before the days of Paris Hilton dressing her Chihuahua, ‘Tinkerbell’ in mini-me outfits, it has long been observed that dogs and their owners often share a striking resemblance. Undoubtedly, the tall, willowy blonde can be seen walking her Afghan hound in the local park, while the Staffordshire bull terrier will be accompanied by an equally tough-looking bloke.

Amusing as the idea might be, is there any real evidence to support this, or is it just chance?