As if vampire bats weren’t already freaky enough, they have a habit that is at once sort of sweet and sort of gross: These communal animals will share blood with hungry roost-mates in an action that “looks like they’re French kissing,” bat scientist Gerald Carter told Science News in 2013.
Carter, now at the...
In a pasture outside Edmonton, Canada, you’ll find a few dozen cows doing what cows do: mostly eating. The average animal spends eight-plus hours a day filling its belly, or as is the case with cows, bellies. Along with that enormous appetite, cows are born with the ability to digest almost any plant they can chew, thanks to a multichambered stomach...
News in Brief
Like a cosmic sonogram, new images showcase an infant world growing in the planetary womb that encircles a young star. This is the first time researchers have observed a young planet actively feeding from the disk of gas in which it lives.
Light from hydrogen gas swirling around the planet gave the baby world away,...
OXON HILL, Md. — Mars’ moon Phobos is stressed and starting to crack under pressure. A network of grooves encircling the moon are early signs that the Red Planet’s gravity is splintering Phobos, Terry Hurford reported November 10 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.
BALTIMORE — The greatest extinction in Earth’s history might not have been so great after all. A suspected colossal die-off of roughly 75 percent of land species didn’t accompany the Permian extinction around 252 million years ago, a team of geologists contend.
That divisive result comes from new work in South Africa that redates the demise of Dicynodon — a mammal relative whose...
Five, six, seven, eight! All together now, let's spread those jazz hands and get moving, because synchronized dancing improves our tolerance of pain and helps us bond as humans, researchers suggest October 28 in Biology Letters.
A team of psychologists at the University of Oxford taught high...
A rare reptile is shedding light on the evolution of the penis — even though it doesn’t have one.
The tuatara, a lizardlike species in New Zealand, never grows a real phallus. Yet as an embryo, it starts forming tiny nubbins like those that turn into the great diversity of sperm-delivery organs in other mammals and reptiles, researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville report...
The scientific method is supposed to be objective. A scientist comes up with a hypothesis for how they think something works. Rigorous testing takes place. The scientist looks at the resulting data objectively, and determines whether the original idea was right or wrong. There’s no arguing with numbers. When in doubt, test it again. As my graduate adviser always said, “the data are the data...
Colleen Farmer was alone one night dissecting an alligator. Her focus was on blood flow in the heart, when suddenly, a hypothesis unfolded about animal lungs. In one sweep, she realized that what physiologists have assumed for decades about the evolution of airflow in alligators, other living reptiles, birds and maybe even dinosaurs might just be startlingly wrong.
Lungs sound simple:...
Reviews & Previews
A Naturalist Goes Fishing
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99
In A Naturalist Goes Fishing, James McClintock shares personal stories of the...