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While scientists have seen colossal squid before—like this specimen examined by New Zealander researchers in 2014—their interactions have always been with animals that were either pulled from the depths, washed up on shore or otherwise removed from their natural habitat.

Is This the First Recorded Footage of a Colossal Squid Living Freely?

The only sightings of the animals so far have come from corpses or creatures dragged up from the depths

Monarchs, some frogs and other animals feed on toxic plants or bugs for protection

A Poisonous Diet Gives These Animals Their Own Toxic Defense

From monarchs to sea slugs, various creatures consume chemicals that keep predators at bay

One of the new benthic landers is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico via a system of winches and safety lines. Once released, the autonomous platform sinks at a carefully calculated rate until it lands on the seafloor.

These Innovative Landers Will Examine Coral Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists plan to use what they learn to help restore communities harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The planet-forming disk is made of gas and dust.

This Giant Cosmic 'Butterfly' Is a Planet-Forming Disk

New research has confirmed that the celestial object may be the biggest of its kind ever found

This fossilized Buronius tooth is roughly a third of an inch long.

Do These Fossilized Teeth Belong to the World’s Smallest Great Ape?

Researchers say two teeth and a kneecap belong to a previously unknown species that lived in what is now Germany

The northern lights appear near Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, on May 11, 2024.

Missed the Auroras in May? Here’s How to See Them Next Time

Three veteran aurora chasers and a NASA scientist share everything you need to know to check these dazzling displays off your bucket list

The bladder and the brain are involved in determining when we need to urinate.

How Do We Know When to Pee?

The basic urge is surprisingly complex and can go awry as we age

A couple of atypically colorful logbook pages from the Bengal of Salem, Massachusetts, housed at the Providence Public Library. The ship sailed around the Pacific Ocean from 1832 to 1835.

How a Trove of Whaling Logbooks Will Help Scientists Understand Our Changing Climate

Researchers are examining more than 4,200 New England documents to turn descriptions of the wind into data

Flow Club is a membership service that hosts dozens of online coworking sessions a day.

Can Virtual Coworking Platforms Make Us More Productive?

Membership services like Flow Club, Flown and Caveday offer online study halls complete with proctors and goal setting

Acorns cover the forest floor.

Why Do Trees Drop So Many Seeds One Year, and Then Hardly Any the Next?

A new paper suggests that plants may use slow seed years to prevent the spread of disease

Wedge-tailed shearwaters surprised scientists by showing up after rats were eradicated on Tromelin Island—a place, in the Indian Ocean, where the seabirds hadn’t been documented breeding before.

After Rats Were Eradicated From This Small Island, Seabirds Thrived

Tromelin Island became a safe place for birds once the invasive mammals were eliminated

A sea turtle enters the waters of the Galápagos Islands to join divers who are exploring its home.

Celebrate World Turtle Day With 15 Photographs of the Delightful Reptiles

These shots from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo contest show why turtles are so terrific

Evidence suggests blue whales were an important food source for Icelanders.

Medieval Icelanders Likely Hunted Blue Whales

New research suggests Viking-age hunters took down the biggest animal on Earth

A composite image of Jupiter, taken by the Juno spacecraft

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Jupiter

The giant planet is a world of extremes

Rangers clear deceased birds from Staple Island in England, where avian flu had a devastating effect on a seabird colony.

Four Important Questions About Bird Flu, Answered

The virus has killed tens of millions of birds and infected hundreds of species of animals, including dairy cattle in the United States. Here’s what you should know about it

A diving bell spider with a captured bug under the water

These Funky Spiders Are Lurking by the Water

Some make nests inside seashells, while others tote bubbles of air on their backs

Speleologists in metallurgical “cooling suits” emerge from the extreme heat of a lava tube formed by the eruption in 2021 of Mount Fagradalsfjall.

Journey Into the Fiery Depths of Earth’s Youngest Caves

What Iceland's volcanoes are revealing about early life on our planet

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This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences

When Lulu Hunt Peters brought Americans a new method for weighing their dinner options, she launched a century of diet fads that left us hungry for a better way to keep our bodies strong and healthy

A male western snowy plover stands guard over his nest. During breeding season, males tend to the chicks while females seek a new mate. 

How Scientists Are Protecting Plovers’ Beachfront Lifestyle

Camouflaged by the sand, these threatened shorebirds aim to hide from predators. Now conservationists are trying to give their breeding efforts a boost

Fossilized footprints, preserved in gypsum mud that hardened over time, are estimated to be 23,000-21,000 years old. 

Tracking Humans’ First Footsteps in North America

At a site in New Mexico, a new discovery rewrites the human history of the continent

Photo of the day

Just before 5 AM a loud sound from lightning striking very close by had woken me up. I went outside (under the cover of my porch) and set up my camera and tripod in my backyard as more lightning strike occurred close by. I set up my "Striker II" lightning detector setting on top of my camera and went inside to watch the show. This is one of the photos it took as the lightning struck my buoy  in the water (which had a chain attached to the sand). Lightning at 5 AM