Inner Nature: The Otherworldly Octopus

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times I was watching a male ruby-throated hummingbird at my feeder the other day. Hummingbirds fascinate me. Besides being charismatic and heart-stoppingly beautiful, they are feisty. I watched him drink his fill and then sit on a nearby branch to play dog-in-the-manger, chasing away other hummingbirds who dared to try to take what he didn’t want. Their speed, their...

Inner Nature: The incredibly resilient tardigrade

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times In the annals of the ecosystem’s version of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a long list of organisms that are considered over-performers: tough, enduring and even thriving in environmentally adverse conditions. Most endure in state known as cryptobiosis (also called anabiosis), which means “mysterious or enigmatic” and refers to the difficulty in telling...