Animals sometimes sleep inside the hollows of giant 2,000-year old baobab trees inside Kruger Game Preserve in South Africa. Humans too, sometimes use the trees, for more dubious purposes -- a jail, a toilet, a pop-up bar -- as photographer Rachel Sussman discovered when she toured the park to photograph the trees for her new book, The Oldest Living Things in the World.
Glen McLaughlin wandered into a London map shop in 1971 and discovered something strange. On a map from 1663 he noticed something he'd never seen before: California was floating like a big green carrot, untethered to the west coast of North America. He bought the map and hung it in his entryway, where it quickly became a conversation piece. It soon grew into an obsession. McLaughlin began to collect other maps showing California as an island.
With a range stretching from Argentina all the way up into the southern U.S., this incredible genus of ants has also mastered the art of rainforest skydiving, leaping from the canopy to avoid predators, only to steer themselves mid-flight right back onto the trunk of their home tree. And they do it with remarkable agility.
It's not often that we think about deep time. Lucky to live for a century, humans flitter like mayflies across Earth's surface, our own epoch an eyeblink in a planetary history that's largely hidden from everyday consciousness. Every now and then, though, that history punches right through into the present.
Writing today in Current Biology, researchers for the first time describe a critter that has traded sex organs. Females are equipped with a penis-like structure called a gynosome, which “deeply penetrates” the duct leading to the male’s sperm storage organ.
Kent Kiehl has been interviewing psychopaths for more than 20 years. More recently he's acquired a mobile MRI scanner and permission to scan the brains of New Mexico state prison inmates. He talked with WIRED about what's different in the brains of psychopaths and why he views psychopathy as a preventable mental disorder.
For all but the shyest of wallflowers, moving to music is a natural human response. But what is it about a catchy tune that makes us groove? Scientists think they've figured out at least part of the recipe: just the right mix of regular rhythms and unexpected beats.
There are a lot of online resources for information about space history, but none can rival the combination of thorough and adorable you’ll find at Historic Spacecraft. The site is full of information about recent and past launches, old space programs, and much more, but it owes its unique charm to the drawings of spacecraft that […]
Dr. Pierre Mégevand was in the middle of a somewhat-routine epilepsy test when his patient, a 22-year old man, said Mégevand and his medical team looked like they had transformed into Italians working at a pizzeria — aprons and all. It wasn’t long, the patient said, before the doctors morphed back into their exam room […]
In Western Tanzania tribes of wandering foragers called Hadza eat a diet of roots, berries, and game. According to a new study, their guts are home to a microbial community unlike anything that's been seen before in a modern human population -- providing, perhaps, a snapshot of what the human gut microbiome looked like before our ancestors figured out how to farm about 12,000 years ago.
[HTML1] Tonight the Earth, moon, and sun will align just right to put on a celestial show known as a total lunar eclipse. Though you can just look up in the sky to catch the event, we’ve also got some spectacular live feeds of the eclipse for those trapped inside by cold, cloud cover, or […]
A new study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details the evolution of a flesh-eating bacteria, group A Streptococcus. By charting its evolution, scientists hope to gain invaluable insights into tackling subsequent generations of these menaces, and to begin to better understand the very nature of epidemics.
Cuttlefish are far and away nature’s most adept camouflagers, capable of observing their surroundings and perfectly adjusting not only their color but also their skin texture in just 250 milliseconds. And it’s not just about blending in: They can also launch truly bizarre displays of rippling colors to either intimidate rivals or hypnotize prey. Oh, also. They’re color blind. Yeah … scientists aren’t quite sure how that’s possible quite yet.
You're looking at a neutrino named Big Bird. This particle, which has an energy 1,000 times that of the protons smashed together at the LHC, traveled across the universe before hitting an atom at the South Pole and being recorded at an enormous underground observatory named IceCube.
Researchers have recorded a remarkable flight behavior in the fruit fly species Drosophila hydei, they report today in Science. When threatened by a predator, the spry critters can change course in just one one-hundredth of a second, rolling on their sides and banking hard. Normally flapping their wings 200 times a second, the flies accomplish this in almost a single wing beat.
Harvestmen (also known as daddy long legs) aren’t spiders, and if you could (or wanted to) lean close enough, you’d be able to see one of the few physical features that distinguish them from their arachnid cousins. It’s in the eyes: Spiders usually have 6 or more, but the harvestman has only one set, tightly […]
Of all the birds on Earth, perhaps none is more unique than the South American oilbird, which 90 million years ago hopped onto its own branch of the evolutionary tree and has been on it ever since. The oilbird perches atop a new analysis of avian distinctiveness: how old each species is, and whether they have close relatives.
National Science Foundation (NSF) - The only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. We are tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports "high-risk, high pay-off" ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow.
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University - A center of excellence that integrates ecology with socioeconomics, demography, and other disciplines for ecological sustainability from local, national, to global scales.
Global Land Project - A joint research project for land systems in the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and the International Human Dimensions Programme.
Coupled human and natural systems(CHANS) are integrated systems in which humans and natural components interact. CHANS research has recently emerged as an exciting and integrative field of cross-disciplinary scientific inquiry, with research projects covering a variety of coupled systems in locations spanning the globe. Although individual projects have generated many important insights, it is essential to systematically transform the field to be more than the sum of its parts and provide broader insights of greater scientific and societal significance than those resulting from individual projects alone.The goal of CHANS-Net is to foster this transformation by facilitating communication and collaboration among members of the CHANS research community.