Plus Advent Calendar Door #8: Animal maths

We do love our many-legged friends and we know they're not just for Christmas. In fact, they're not only cute they have a whole lot of maths in them too. Here are our favourite animal articles.

How the leopard got its spots

How does the uniform ball of cells that make up an embryo differentiate to create the dramatic patterns of a zebra or leopard? How come there are spotty animals with stripy tails, but no stripy animals with spotty tails? Read more...

Finding your way home without knowing where you are

Foraging ants have a hard life, embarking on long and arduous trips several times a day, until they drop dead from exhaustion. The trips are not just long, they also follow complex zig-zag paths. So how do ants manage to find their way back home? And how do they manage to do so along a straight line? Their secret lies in a little geometry. Read more...

How psychic was Paul?

England's performance in the 2010 World Cup was thankfully overshadowed by the attention given to Paul the octopus, who was reported as making an unbroken series of correct predictions of match winners. David Spiegelhalter looks at Paul's performance in an attempt to answer the question that (briefly) gripped the world: was Paul psychic? Read more...

Infinite monkey business

Will an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare? Read more...

It's all in the detail

Not all the animals we love are real: some are generated by computers, but they have us cooing with cuteness or trembling with terror nevertheless. Here's how they are made. Read more...

Number crunching ants

Here's more about our six-legged friends, showing that having a small brain doesn't stop you from doing great things. Read more...

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