Animals

Donkeys often trample plants in the deserts of the southwestern United States, including in Death Valley National Park in California.

Cougars Are Killing Feral Donkeys, and That’s Good for Wetlands

Mountain lions play an important role in the Death Valley ecosystem by preying on the introduced species

Mastodon skeletons stand on display at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor.

Cool Finds

Construction Crews Stumble Upon Mastodon Skeleton in Michigan

The massive animal was likely between 10 and 20 years old when it died roughly 12,000 years ago

By studying the throats of 43 primate species, researchers found they all had vocal membranes that destabilized their voices. Humans, on the other hand, do not.

The Evolutionary Trait That May Have Led to Human Speech

“Vocal membranes” in primates make their speech grating and unpredictable, study suggests. Humans have no such thing

A critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nesting.

Planet Positive

Critically Endangered Sea Turtle Lays Eggs on Texas Beach

Conservationists were thrilled that the Kemp’s Ridley had nested in a new location, increasing its long odds for survival

A new species of giant isopod, Bathynomus yucatanensis

New Species of Deep Sea Isopod Discovered

The giant crustacean was originally mistaken for a different species at an aquarium in Japan

Spotless starling chicks use a bright yellow oil to enhance the color of their mouth, which scientists verified by rubbing a cotton swab over the area.

The Done-Up Bird Gets the Worm

Starling chicks apply their preening oil as a lipstick to get more food from their parents

A sulphur-crested cockatoo bows down at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium. The birds have been seen dancing to music and opening trash bins to get to food.

What Can Dancing Cockatoos Teach Us About Ourselves?

An evolutionary biologist demystifies bird intelligence in an excerpt from her new book

Ornithologist Edmund Selous made empathy for birds respectable and, in doing so, changed the world. Bird-watching became a popular pastime, eventually making birding scientific and playing a pivotal role in the animals’ conservation.

How Bird Collecting Evolved Into Bird-Watching

In the early 1900s, newfound empathy for avian creatures helped wildlife observation displace dispassionate killing

A spider gripper is used to lift a jumper and break a circuit on an electronic breadboard, turning off an LED. 

Scientists Use Dead Spiders as Claw Machines

Researchers at Rice University have created “necrobotics,” a new area of research which uses biotic materials for robotic parts

A Japanese macaque atop a tower viewer in Kyoto, Japan

City in Japan Under Siege by Marauding Monkeys

Macaques have attacked more than four dozen people in less than a month

Malaysian customs officials seized thousands of pounds of elephant tusks, pangolin scales, rhino horns and other animal parts in July.

Malaysia Authorities Seize Elephant Tusks, Rhino Horns Worth $18 Million

Criminals had hidden the contraband animal parts in a container full of sawn timber

A teabag contains traces of DNA from insects and other animals that interacted with the plants before they were harvested and packaged.

The DNA of Hundreds of Insect Species Is in Your Tea

Minute remnants preserved among dried leaves might help scientists track pests and monitor population declines

Elephant trunks are strong and precise.

Skin Helps Explain Why Elephant Trunks Are So Handy

Researchers discovered that the skin on the top of the trunk is more pliable and can stretch farther than the bottom

A woodpecker prepares to smash its beak against a tree. 

Woodpeckers Don’t Have Shock-Absorbing Skulls

The birds’ small brain size protects them from getting concussions, a new study finds

Well digging behaviors have been observed previously in areas with dry habitats, and researchers only know of three chimpanzee groups in the savannah that do so.

Rainforest Chimpanzees Seen Digging Wells for the First Time

The primates may be burrowing for cleaner water

Manx shearwaters breed on islands in the North Atlantic where they make nests in underground burrows.

This Seabird Species Dives Deeper When the Water is Clearer

Scientists suggest that cloudier waters, caused in part by climate change, could make it harder for Manx shearwaters to catch fish

The gophers spend most of their time underground and only venture to the outside world to forage for food or mate.

Pocket Gophers May Be the First Non-Human Mammal to 'Farm'

The rodents don't plant, of course, but they do tend to roots in their tunnels that they then eat

Brooding requires a significant sacrifice for a mother Bathyteuthis berryi. Though she can't feed or quickly escape from predators while carrying her eggs, she can ensure her young stay in water that has the right temperature, salinity and oxygen levels.

Watch a Deep-Sea Squid Carry Hundreds of Pearl-Like Eggs

Footage taken 56 miles off California's coast documents rarely-observed brooding behavior

Seals in Bar Harbor, Maine

Seal Strandings in Maine Linked to Bird Flu

Four stranded pinnipeds tested positive for the avian influenza H5N1

The trunk, ears and tail of this baby woolly mammoth, named Nun cho ga, are almost perfectly preserved.

Cool Finds

Well-Preserved, 30,000-Year-Old Baby Woolly Mammoth Emerges From Yukon Permafrost

The mummified creature is helping to heal the rift between the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in people and the miners and scientists who came to their lands

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