How whales made the dramatic evolutionary shift from land to the sea

All whales and dolphins are descended from terrestrial mammals, ancient creatures that were very similar to the modern hippopotamus. Now, a fascinating new genetics study shows the incredible evolutionary changes these animals had to experience to become the perfectly adapted marine animals we see today. » 11/25/13 7:40am 11/25/13 7:40am

One of the most fascinating museums on Earth is in a fetid LA warehouse

Inside an unassuming L.A. warehouse, a bearded man in rubber gloves and a bloodstained t-shirt is pulling bodies apart. The stench is powerful, but conveniently masked by the fleshy funk of a nearby meatpacking plant. He removes a glistening lump of muscle and plops it on a table. "There's the heart" he says cooly. "It's… » 11/05/13 11:40am 11/05/13 11:40am

Dolphins can remember their friends better than most humans

In case you still doubted that dolphins have an awareness rivaling our own, new research shows that these cetaceans can remember the whistles of their old tank-mates after being separated for more than 20 years! No species other than humans has demonstrated such a long-term social memory. » 8/07/13 1:00pm 8/07/13 1:00pm

Watch these humpback whales come within feet of gobbling up two divers

These divers had an incredibly close encounter with two humpback whales recently, while exploring the waters of Central California's Souza Rock. » 7/22/13 3:41pm 7/22/13 3:41pm

How military sonar may be harming endangered blue whales

Scientists have known for years that mid-frequency sonar can harm deep-diving toothed whales, such as by driving them from feeding grounds. Research now shows that the naval noise even elicits stark behavioral changes in blue whales, which communicate at frequencies far below sonar frequencies, suggesting that the… » 7/03/13 1:45pm 7/03/13 1:45pm

Divers capture amazing dolphin-rescue on video

If this video of interspecies collaboration doesn't warm your heart, you probably don't have a heart. When a dolphin gets caught on a fishing hook, it seeks out this group of human divers for help, resulting in a remarkable display of trust, intelligence and cooperation - from both species. » 1/22/13 9:15am 1/22/13 9:15am

Easily the best thing you'll hear all week: a beluga whale mimicking…

Holy warbling whales, this is GLORIOUS. For the first time ever, researchers have presented audio evidence of a cetacean (a beluga whale by the name of "NOC") spontaneously mimicking human speech. The recording featured below is 100% real, and it is amazing. Recorded by scientists a few years ago, it was just released… » 10/22/12 2:00pm 10/22/12 2:00pm

Whales have a sensory organ unlike anything we've ever seen

It's possible that whales can sense things that no other living creatures can. Scientists have discovered a grapefruit-sized mass of vessels and nervous tissues located in whales' chins, and they believe it's an entirely new kind of sensory organ. It's possible the organ is what allows these massive creatures to eat… » 5/24/12 11:51am 5/24/12 11:51am

Wild dolphins will greet one another by exchanging names

We all know dolphins are intelligent animals. So intelligent, in fact, that a document called the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans — which argues that dolphins should be afforded similar rights as humans — has actually been gaining some serious traction among scientists and ethicists in recent years. » 3/01/12 12:51pm 3/01/12 12:51pm

World's largest river dolphin looks pretty in pink

Meet the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), also known as the boto, or, if you believe Amazonian folklore, dad. Legend has it that the dolphin can transform itself into a handsome young man, who is a willing dance and conversation partner for village women. The enchanted dolphin is blamed - somewhat conveniently, … » 12/17/11 11:50am 12/17/11 11:50am

If humanity went extinct, what species would replace us?

Could another species someday replace us as Earth's dominant intelligent life and, if so, which species? To answer that question, we need to understand just what intelligence really is. And why, from an evolutionary standpoint, an organism would even want it. » 3/09/11 9:35am 3/09/11 9:35am