Friday, February 17, 2012

Day #493 A Sense of Time

Years ago, if people wanted to know what time it was, they would look up at the sky. Pre-dawn, dawn, early morning, mid-morning, late morning, midday, and so on through sunset and dusk and night.
Those estimates were good enough.
The same is true, I would imagine, with bees. With all diurnal animals, for that matter. If it’s not yet dawn, the bees stay in the hive. When it’s noon (assuming the day is relatively clear) the foragers had better be outside foraging.
But what about the nocturnal animals? How do they tell the difference between 10 pm and 3 am? There’s no sun to see the position of. The moon does shift, of course, but it does so on a nightly basis. Can raccoons or bats tell the difference between a gibbous moon and a half-moon, other than the amount of light being spread?
How does the possum visiting the earth at the bottom of my bird-feeding station know s/he has four hours left before daylight?
The trouble with asking questions like this is that, not only do I now know the answers, but I don’t even know where to find the answers.
If you know, please enlighten me.
BEEattitude for Day #493:
       Blessed are those who find answers, for they can feel a well-deserved smugness.
The teeny details:
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