Category Archives: biology

Episode 91: Facial Tattoo Pt. 2

Ptasan, or facial tattoos, has different patterns due to different tribes. U shaped patterns belong to the Sediq and the Truku. The V shape belongs to the Atayal.
Traditional tattoo methods differ from modern methods in that modern tattoo equipments are electrical. They use medical grade stainless steel for their needles. After disinfecting it, they would seal the package. Once it’s used, the equipment would be discarded. In the past, the dye is a mixture of pine charcoal, so there is only one color. Now, using various plants, a wide variety of colors are available.


Episode 86: Palakau

The Fata’an tribe of Hualien, Taiwan live in an area far from the sea with small rivers. Because of the Fata’an wetland, the indigenous people of the tribe developed a sustainable way of fishing called palakaw, or fish house.
Palakaw is a structure with three stories. The first story composes of bamboo tubes, the second level consists of wooden sticks. Vegetation would grow on the third level. Different kind of fish could live comfortably in each level. When people want to eat fish, they would only need to reach in.

Episode 83: Farming

Using characteristics of nature to replace herbicides and fertilizers are the gift the Tao give back to its lands.
What is the scientific principle behind Tao’s traditional irrigation and fertilizing methods? What is the secret to turning soil into gold?

Episode 82: Derris

Using vines with paralyzing agents has always been used in early fishing methods. What is derris, and how does it paralyze a fish?
The most effective part of a derris is its roots. It can not only paralyze a fish, but it could also do it very quickly. However, because it is so effective, and it can influence a wide area, the use of derris has been restricted very early on.

Episode 72: Resin Lamp

Resin actually has a lot of viscosity. The Bunon people would use it as a glue when making instruments. But, where did the resin come from? In the Bunon tradition, they only take resin from trees that were wore down by animals. They do not cut open trees to get them. Resin are also used in ceremonies. It symbolizes passing down the torch. Therefore, the resin bears a special meaning for the Bunon people.
The science teacher shows us that the resin can even be used as a torch! The Bunon ancestors sure are clever!

Episode 63: The Crape Myrtle

This episode introduces one of Atayal’s traditional natural resources, the crape myrtle. Taws and the kids observe its environment to understand the tree’s characteristic. Its trunk is solid, its leaves can cure snakebites and heal wounds. Its structure is also very dense, great to be made into tools for farming, construction, and the home. In the past, the crape myrtle is an important source for fabric dyes. Today, the tree plays an important role in soil and water conservation.

Episode 37: Tree Bark Clothe