Wildlife

A skeleton of the giant Triassic ichthyosaur Shonisaurus popularis hangs in the Nevada State Museum.

Whale-Sized Marine Reptiles Once Ruled the Seas

Paleontologists are beginning to learn how and why ichthyosaurs evolved into giants

Participants in First Nature Tours help mitigate damages from wildfires in Central Oregon.

Regenerative Tourism Invites Travelers to Get Their Hands Dirty

Vacations that allow tourists to participate in conservation activities, such as habitat restoration, are growing in popularity

A cat chews up and rolls around in the leaves of the silver vine plant.

When Cats Chew Catnip, It Works as a Bug Spray

Plant leaves that repel mosquitoes release a more effective repellant after being crushed up by felines

Chilean devil rays swim in the Atlantic Ocean near the Azores. 

What Are Scientists Learning About the Deepest Diving Creatures in the Ocean?

Animals-turned-oceanographers are helping biologists find out what they do when they get to the cold, dark depths

Recreational fishers have discovered a new way to scout for fish and cast a line.

Is Fishing With a Drone the Way of the Future?

Not everyone is on board. The technology is dividing the fishing community and drawing the ire of some politicians and scientists

Researchers wanted to study how Anna's hummingbirds adapted to higher elevation. (Pictured: male Anna's hummingbird)

Scientists Moved Hummingbirds to High Elevations to See How Climate Change Might Affect Them

Artificial migrations to colder environments altered the small bird's metabolism and ability to fly

A female saltmarsh sparrow in a New Hampshire wetland is held by University of New Hampshire graduatet student Talia Kuras. The circular device reads the transponder-containing indentification tag on the bird's leg. 

Planet Positive

Saving the Imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow

Conservationists are racing to rescue a delightful coastal animal from rising seas

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Horses have shaped human history over millennia, just as humans have influenced their evolution

When Did Humans Domesticate the Horse?

Only recently have scientists discovered exactly when and where the animal went from wild to tame

Some 1,500 rhesus macaques live a mile off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico on Cayo Santiago.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican Island Where 1,500 Monkeys Rule

The Caribbean Primate Research Center on Monkey Island is one of the world’s top institutions for studying primate behavior

A new book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

A gorilla sleeps in a forest in Rwanda.

Why Humans Sleep Less Than Their Primate Relatives

Ancient humans may have evolved to slumber efficiently—and in a crowd

Aseel Rawashdeh's innovation won sixth place in this year's Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country's most prestigious and oldest science and math competition for promising young scientists in their senior year.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Found a Way to Control Mosquitoes Using Essential Oils and Baker's Yeast

Aseel Rawashdeh's inexpensive larvicide kills disease-spreading species and spares beneficial ones

Black turban snails are small marine snails that make tasty prey for crabs. Failed crab attacks leave scars on a snail’s shell. By analyzing the rate of scarring and the size of the snail when it was attacked, researchers can learn important details about crab populations.

Scars on Snails Offer a 100,000-Year Record of Crab Populations

A surprisingly simple technique for studying marks on shells shows how California’s crab population has changed over millennia

A snorkeler comes face to face with a humpback whale. If humans work to halt climate change, that may help prevent another mass extinction event in the oceans.

Without Action on Climate, Another Mass Extinction Event Will Likely Happen in the World's Oceans

Marine species at the poles will face increasing pressure if warming isn’t curbed

A male Philoponella prominens spider (top) mates with a female.

This Male Spider Catapults Itself Into the Air to Avoid Sexual Cannibalism

The arachnids propel themselves to safety at breakneck speeds after they’ve mated to avoid being eaten alive

As the climate changes, polar bears are increasingly coming into contact with people.

Researchers Develop a 'Bear-Dar' That Warns Humans of Approaching Polar Bears

The artificial intelligence-powered radar system is needed as climate change brings the animals closer to towns

Visible in the entrance to their den are a mother black bear, who has been sedated, and her female cub. Scientists are watching to see how bears will tweak their hibernation habits as the climate warms.

Why Amazing Discoveries About Bear Hibernation May Help Improve Human Health

The creatures' annual protracted snoozes have much to tell us about the biology of mammals, ourselves included

An artists's take on the insect

The Quest to Find the World's Largest Bee

The rediscovery of Wallace’s giant bee uncovers disheartening truths about the tenuous fate of hidden insect species

One reader wonders how birds stay balanced on tree branches while they’re asleep. 
 

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How Do Birds Stay Upright When They Are Sleeping?

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