The remains of an ancient flying predator that ruled the skies some 70 million years ago have been discovered in Mongolia, and researchers say the species likely ranked among the largest of its kind. The fossil discovered belongs to a kind of pterosaur – a group of flying reptiles that lived around the same time
A species of salamander that hasn’t been seen since 1975 has been rediscovered alive and kicking in Guatemala. The biologists who have spent years searching for it are understandably delighted, and it’s also potentially good news for the ecology of the region. The juvenile Jackson’s climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa jacksoni), also known as the “golden
Octopuses have been filmed taking night-time strolls out of the water and onto the shore on the coast of Ceredigion in Wales, UK. More than 20 of the brainy cephalopods were spotted crawling out of the water after 10pm on Friday, when a local tour company manager and a group returned from a sunset trip.
A heated discussion over how humans treat their reptilian companions has flared up in a series of articles published this week in the journal Veterinary Record. As reptiles and amphibians are becoming increasingly popular pets, animal experts are calling for renewed attention to the trade to ensure we’re not hurting our slithery and scaly friends.
Bacteria may not have a central or sensory nervous system as we know it, but they can still physically “feel” the world around them, according to a new study. It turns out the tiny microorganisms don’t just respond to chemical signals – they also have a sense of touch, and can recognise surfaces and respond
What has six legs, two antennae, four furry appendages sprouting from its backside – and a big chunk of the Internet freaked out? The world’s most viral and terrifying moth. A man in Indonesia posted a picture and video of the insect on Facebook last week, drawing more than 40,000 comments, many from people
The first feathered dinosaur ever found is still spilling its secrets. Sinosauropteryx was uncovered two decades ago, when a farmer in northeastern China unearthed a remarkable fossil while digging a well. The dinosaur’s ancient feathery fluff stunned experts and helped cement the idea that birds are living, avian dinosaurs. Paleontologists continue to wring new
An ancient sea dragon buried for 150 million years has been discovered by Indian researchers, and it’s thought to be the first time an ichthyosaur (Greek for “fish lizard”) from the Jurassic period has ever been found in India. Ichthyosaurs were ocean-dwelling predators that lived alongside dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era from around 250 million
From the seedy underbelly of the natural world where invertebrates prey on anything they can get their fangs on, we have brand new nightmare fuel – giant centipedes crunching away on snakes. A team of biologists in Thailand has reported the “fortuitous observation” of a centipede attacking a snake, made all the more disturbing by
A chemical scent contained in the spilt blood of mammals is irresistible to predator species craving fresh kill, but provokes a very different reaction in animals that are hunted. Researchers have found that E2D, a molecular component of animal blood, is as effective as actual blood in luring wolves, tigers, and wild dogs, but produces
A rescued moon bear in Myanmar had to have surgery after its tongue got so big it was dragging along the floor. By the time vets managed to finally remove the growth, it had swollen to over 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of tissue – long past the point of fitting in the bear’s head.
If dealing with the ravages of Alzheimer’s in humans wasn’t enough, the neural disease has now shown up in dolphins, marking the first time it’s been spotted in a wild animal. A new study found protein plaques and tangles, usually the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s in humans, in the brains of dolphins that had died
Scientists have spent the past 30 years carefully tracking evolution across more than 68,000 generations of E. coli bacteria – the equivalent of more than 1 million years of human evolution. The latest results suggest we might have been wrong about one of the fundamental aspects of how species evolve. Traditionally, researchers predicted that the
Intelligence is a fickle thing. If you give a crow a puzzle, it could try to solve it. If you give a puzzle to a raccoon, a new study has found that it might just tip it over. Many scientists have used a test paradigm in which the creature under investigation has to figure out
A little bird common in the United Kingdom is identical in almost every way to its counterparts across the North Sea in the Netherlands: Black and yellow feathers, splotches of white across the cheeks. But the British ones have slightly longer beaks, scientists say, and the reason might be British humans’ embrace of bird feeders.
When monogamous male monkeys see their mates with other males, it activates regions of the brain associated with social pain and pair bonding, a new study has found. In an experiment involving eight captive male titi monkeys, researchers monitored brain activity for the first research into the neurobiology of monogamous primate “jealousy.” Jealousy is
Dogs are much more facially expressive when they’re around their human friends than when they’re by themselves or with other dogs, and move their faces as a communication tool rather than to express emotion. According to a new study, our canine companions don’t use facial expressions to respond to food treats, suggesting that their excited
Not long ago, a lengthy drive on a hot day wouldn’t be complete without scraping bug guts off a windshield. But splattered insects have gone the way of the Chevy Nova – you just don’t see them on the road like you used to. Biologists call this the windshield phenomenon. It’s a symptom, they say,
Get ready to have your perception of the cute little green tree frog irrevocably shattered – and it’s all thanks to this old photo that led us down a rabbithole of green tree frog bastardry. The photo shows the head of a small snake, open-mouthed, as it disappears down the gullet of an Australian green
New research says whales and dolphins (cetaceans) have social lives much like ours, with tight-knit social groups, complex relationships, regional dialects, and one-to-one chats. And it’s all thanks their beautiful brains. Information on 90 different species of dolphins, whales, and porpoises was collected by the international team of scientists, making this the first study of
For the first time, researchers have documented the violent clash of predators from two very different worlds, discovering evidence of alligators feasting on sharks in the wild. While there have been anecdotal reports of this kind of thing happening before, it’s never been comprehensively studied, since ordinarily the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and sharks occupy
When chimpanzee mothers are about to have a baby, they tend to travel away from their group for a while and lie low in a safe, secret place to give birth. After witnessing a harrowing case in which a male chimp snatched away an infant seconds after its birth and cannibalised it, researchers think that
To milk a cone snail requires guile and guts. First, Frank Marí uses a pair of tongs to hold a dead goldfish out to the snail; the creature extends a narrow, hose-shaped nose and sniffs the offering. Then another tube emerges from inside the snail’s shell – the proboscis. This bright orange appendage is
Beneath Yellowstone National Park, a beast slumbers. Recent rumblings might be of interest to volcanologists, but for those fearing a cataclysmic eruption it seems as if we have little to worry about. For now. But new research has forced a rethink on just how much time we would have up our sleeves should Yellowstone’s supervolcano
More than 100 hippos have been killed in a suspected outbreak of anthrax in a remote national park in Namibia. The first victim of the outbreak in Bwabwata National Park was noticed by park officials on October 1, but in less than a fortnight the infection rapidly spread, claiming a suspected 109 hippos in less
The honey bees had taken up residence inside the walls of the house. A homeowner in Hillside, New Jersey, near Newark, told CBS New York it was “really noisy” with honey bees “humming and huddled up together.” But he had no idea just how many bees had been lurking behind those walls. In fact, there
A species is back from the grave, thanks to the hard work of an international conservation effort. The Australian Lord Howe Island stick insect, thought to have become extinct in the 1920s, is now officially alive again, confirmed by DNA testing. The story spans decades, with a series of human failings, discoveries and eventual surprise
Picture this, you’re a scientist at the National Weather Service, and you see the image above – a 110 kilometre (70 mile) blob flying across Colorado – on your weather radar. Is it birds? Aliens after some Colorado craft beer? “Look at what’s flying into Denver!” tweeted the NWS Boulder office. “Radar from last hour
In a truly fascinating case, scientists have discovered that what was once thought to be an extremely rare, elusive songbird in Africa, may have never existed after all. For more than 30 years, experts tried to catch a glimpse of a bird so evasive it was deemed almost mythical. And now DNA analysis points to
A strange and unseen world exists at our fingertips, and only microscopes have the power to bring this hidden dimension into view. To honour the beauty and scientific importance of microscopic photographs – also called micrographs – the Nikon Small World image contest hands out awards and prizes to researchers and hobbyists who capture the
New research suggests life on our planet started out as a series of meteorites struck the surface and landed in small, warm ponds, kicking off a chemical chain reaction leading to the very first bit of genetic code to exist on Earth. While the ‘warm ponds’ hypothesis isn’t completely new, the latest study pulls in
The polar bear perched on a small wedge of ice has become a clichéd symbol for the way climate change is affecting animal life, but those bears still have some good food days, as indicated by an astonishing recent event in Siberia. At least 230 of the animals converged on the carcass of a beached
This Northern Hemisphere summer, researchers spent two months collecting samples from a submerged landmass known as Zealandia. As a result, we could gain new insight into everything from ancient life forms to climate change. Tens of millions of years ago, a landmass that’s being referred to as Zealandia was largely submerged beneath the Pacific
New research shows that nearly 300 species of coastal creatures were carried across the Pacific Ocean in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with some organisms making a journey of more than 7,000 kilometres (4,350 miles) across the waves from Japan to the United States. This unprecedented migration was made possible by the
Among the possible pest infestations you could get, bed bugs are definitely one of the worst. They’ll nest inside your mattress and feast on your flesh at night, and they develop resistance to pesticides really quickly. So once you have them, getting them gone is really tricky and requires professional help. And there has
Australia was once home to a giant prehistoric Ice Age marsupial related to wombats and koalas, and that followed an annual seasonal migration. The three-tonne beast, up to 1.8 metres (6 ft) tall and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) long, was the only known marsupial to follow a migration pattern, according to our research published in
In the isolated Solomon Islands, mothers and fathers have been known to sing to their children of apocryphal rats. In one rhyme, Kamare and Isuku go scurrying up a child, one rat on each side. They climb the ribs and reach the armpits, where the singer finally tickles the child. Isuku, as the song
Time to add even more candles to life’s birthday cake – around another 150 million of them, to be precise. Rocks from northern Canada have shown signs that life was doing its thing about 3.95 billion years ago, setting a new record for fossils while showing biology was more eager to get started on Earth
Primates such as apes, monkeys and chimpanzees can appear extraordinarily human in their responses to the world around them. They have been observed, for instance, grieving when members of their tribe die, in a surprisingly touching way. Mother primates are also known to carry around their dead babies for some time after death, although it
Five minutes in the life of a guppy in the terrible spring of 2015: You’re swimming around with your friends in a tank. You’ve been here for days. Food falls from the sky. Everything is fine. Then suddenly, you’re netted up and dropped into an alien world, all alone, just you and the glass.
We’ve all heard the terrible stories about the Great Barrier Reef, and the extensive bleaching that has occurred in recent years. But despite what some news outlets might think, the reef is not actually dead, and we still need to monitor what’s happening closely to try to stop the damage where possible. That’s why
Diploscapter pachys has a lineage that goes back about 18 million, and in all that time it seems the tiny little roundworm hasn’t cared much for doing the horizontal Hokey-Pokey. That’s quite a record, and now researchers think they know why D. pachys is such an all-star of sexual abstinence; it has amassed a rather
It was well past midnight when Michael Abrams, Claire Bedbrook and Ravi Nath crept into the Caltech lab where they were keeping their jellyfish. They didn’t bother switching on the lights, opting instead to navigate the maze of desks and equipment by the pale blue glow of their cellphones. The students hadn’t told anyone that they were
Hermit crabs are well known for their ability to turn an empty shell into protective armour, but it seems that shells aren’t the only armour around. A new species of hermit crab that shelters in solitary corals has been discovered in southern Japan. Details of the discovery, made by scientists at Kyoto University, have
A giant, beach ball-sized frog that lived 70 million years ago had a bite that would have been strong enough to snap up small dinosaurs. Beelzebufo ampinga was the largest frog to have ever lived – at least that we know of. But it was similar to the modern Ceratophrys frogs, and now scientists have used
It’s not easy raising kids. You bring them into this world, feed them, look after their every need, and what kind of thanks do you get? Well, in the case of velvet spiders, a mother’s pride in her brood is nightmarishly short-lived, because when food supplies run low, her crawling, many-legged children will ultimately devour
Wolves have an understanding of cause-and-effect that domesticated dogs do not – and they’re just as good as dogs at following directions given by a human. This difference in cognition may have something to do with the domestication process, according to researchers from the Wolf Science Centre at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.
Mexico sits atop three of Earth’s largest tectonic plates – the North American plate, the Cocos Plate, and the Pacific Plate. Whenever these chunks of crust grind or butt up against one another, earthquakes happen. As a former lakebed, Mexico City is also home to soft soil that essentially acts as an amplifier for tremors,