Walking into a spiderweb just got creepy. Those sticky strands clinging to your hair and face? They’re smeared with traces of the spider’s last meal, according to a fascinating new analysis of spiderweb DNA. »
Vampire bats are the only vertebrates that feed on the blood of other mammals. But the ability to do so may be buried across the tree of life, according to a new study which pinpoints the underlying genetic origins of traits that make a good vampire. »
Cats kill billions of small mammals, reptiles, and birds every year. In environments where cats have natural predators, like coyotes, this isn’t a problem. But left unchecked, cats can become an invasive species that damages local ecosystems. »
Polar bears are the furry poster children for the impact of warming Arctic seas, but new research says they may be able adapt and survive the loss of Arctic sea ice by foraging on land. »
Beneath the swelling blue surf, ocean life is on the move. Marine species are swimming into new new communities and forcing others out. By the end of the century, the ecosystems that cover 70% of our planet’s surface will look completely different. »
If you’ve had a cup of coffee recently, the plants it grew on may once have been home to bats and other threatened wildlife. It turns out that when coffee plantations encroach on natural forest habitat, bats are happy to live in the coffee. »
French architectural design firms Nicholas Laisné Associés and OXO Architectes have put together a concept for a massive arcology for the Saharan desert. The La Tour des Sables would be a self contained city that rises 1,400 feet above the ground, and would be contain living, agricultural and working units. »
It’s not always easy to find a way to help. Nearly every action has good and bad consequences—as people who mowed down non-native plants in mosquito basins found out. By clearing the plants, they helped increase the risk of spreading West Nile Virus. Find out how. »
Mathematicians are fond of prime numbers. Infinitely numerous yet utterly unique, they play an integral role in number theory and a baffling one in such longstanding mysteries as Goldbach’s conjecture. Nature is partial to primes, as well, as demonstrated by the dramatic 13- and 17-year life cycles of periodic cicadas. »
Anyone following news about California’s drought has read about its effect on nation-nourishing crop yields. But what you probably haven’t read is how the drought is impacting the Golden State’s homegrown vices, including wine, pot, and craft beer—and how their industries are affecting the state in return. »
Scientists filming unexplored depths of the South Pacific have observed a surprising range of animals—including sharks, rays, and jellyfish—living inside Kavachi, a highly active undersea volcano near the Soloman Islands, a remote archipelago east of Papau New Guinea. The animals seem unruffled by what were presumed… »
None of us would be alive today without plants, and if humans want to survive beyond Earth long-term, we’ll need to bring our leafy greens with us. Eventually, astronauts are going to have to become space farmers. »
Oil spills have devastating consequences, both economically and environmentally, and videos of those disasters in action highlight both how much fuel is lost during spills and how much they impact the local environment. »
An international team of scientists have isolated a gene within the Aedes aegypti mosquito that partially transforms females into males. Since only females spread diseases by feasting on human blood, the discovery could lead to powerful population control strategies.
The monsters in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones are magically badass. But could dragons, direwolves and lizard-lions be scientifically plausible, on some level? Today we’re going to try to answer that question — with the help of some biology experts.
When it comes to birds, males—with their bright feathers, extra accessories, and impressive mating displays—tend to get all the attention. But for many birds, such as the Choco Toucan pictured above, brilliant plumage has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with survival. »