The First Ever Fossils of Vertebrates Who Died During Sex

It's rare to find fossils of animals doing anything other than, well, dying. Sure, occasionally we'll find a brooding mother with her eggs, or animals locked in mortal combat — but the vast majority of fossilized remains are simply in the midst of their death throes. » 6/22/12 4:20pm 6/22/12 4:20pm

What Flies Can Teach You About Your Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is one of those frustrating diseases where we know what it does, and how it works, but the underlying root cause is difficult to ascertain. Now, by engineering flies to have the disease, scientists may have revealed the genetic origins of RLS. » 5/31/12 10:34am 5/31/12 10:34am

Frozen fruit fly larva brings us one step closer to cryogenics

It's been a dream for years — freezing your body at the moment of death, so that you can be revived later, when medical science has advanced enough to cure you, and possibly rejuvenate you as well. » 2/17/12 12:20pm 2/17/12 12:20pm

Spiders who chop off their penises to save their heads

Sexual cannibalism is a remarkably common mating habit among insects and arachnids — perhaps most famously, black widow spiders and preying mantises devour males after mating with them. There are a number of competing theories about why such a seemingly harmful trait would evolve. And now we've discovered one spider… » 2/01/12 11:28am 2/01/12 11:28am

Why locust swarms seem to hit those who are already suffering the most

With a swarming locust consuming its own bodyweight in food every day, the many-tonne swarms can utterly destroy a farmer's livelihood. But why is it that they seem to target farms that already aren't doing well? » 1/27/12 11:20am 1/27/12 11:20am

Boa constrictors only stop squeezing when your heart stops beating

Proving once again they deserve the title "most metal of all living animals", Boa constrictors know when to stop squeezing around their prey — because they can feel their victim's heart stop. The constricting method of subduing prey is a relatively costly one in terms of energy, so it behooves snakes to know as soon… » 1/19/12 5:00pm 1/19/12 5:00pm

Snail brains prove we learn better at some times than others

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have proved that brains are better at learning at certain periods than others, thanks to analyzing the brains of sea snails. » 12/30/11 11:00am 12/30/11 11:00am

A Pill That Stops Stress In Your Brain Before You Feel It

Stress makes many of us miserable — but it can also kill you. Besides just causing horrible anxiety and depression, the physiological basis for stress has also been linked to diseases as varied as obesity, postpartum depression, Cushing's syndrome, epilepsy, and osteoporosis. But what if we could just turn your… » 12/15/11 11:02am 12/15/11 11:02am

Solar-powered hornet is the Superman of the animal kingdom

Plants use photosynthesis to turn sunlight into energy every single day. This ability appeared to be completely unknown in the animal kingdom, leaving the living solar battery that is Superman as the only animal to ever harness the sun's rays for power. But now we've discovered that a type of hornet is doing its own… » 2/13/11 3:00pm 2/13/11 3:00pm

What earwigs do with their extra penises

Many members of the earwig insect family have two penises, but you'd never know it from observing their sex lives. Most earwigs are exclusively "right-penised", which raises an important question: why bother having two penises if you only use one? » 1/10/11 10:37am 1/10/11 10:37am

Long dead Jamaican ibis used its wings to club each other senseless

Xenicibis xympithecus is an extinct flightless ibis from Jamaica that had an incredibly rare adaptation — it used its wings as clubs. » 1/05/11 3:00pm 1/05/11 3:00pm

The incredible journeys of leatherback turtles

Due to advancements in satellite tracking, the incredible migratory routes of the leatherback turtle have finally been mapped in detail — including a straight 7,563km (4,699 mile) trip from Africa to South America. » 1/04/11 4:00pm 1/04/11 4:00pm

Strange bioluminescent snail can turn into eerie shade of green

A tiny sea snail known as the clusterwink snail has one of the strangest abilities in the animal kingdom. The snail can create a ghostly green light, then use its shell to scatter the light beam all over its shell. » 1/02/11 3:30pm 1/02/11 3:30pm

See a tiny squid's amazing natural cloaking device

Human scientists are still trying to figure out how to turn cloaking devices into a reality, but the pint-sized Hawaiian bobtail squid long ago learned how to channel its inner Klingon. See its natural cloaking device in action inside. » 12/06/10 12:53pm 12/06/10 12:53pm

Mercury pollution is making male birds mate with each other

White ibises have experienced a huge drop in their reproductive rate, and mercury contamination was a prime suspect. But nobody expected pollution to alter the birds' sexual preference, as the male ibises were actually nesting with each other. » 12/03/10 11:08am 12/03/10 11:08am

Methane-eating bacteria alive and well in the deepest layer of Earth's…

Nearly a mile underground, there's an entire ecosystem carving out a rather alien existence in the deepest layer of Earth's crust. These bacteria are totally unlike their brethren nearer the surface, and there might be even stranger bacteria further down. » 11/21/10 11:15am 11/21/10 11:15am

Bush-crickets have the world's biggest testicles (relatively speaking)

A species of bush cricket is in possession of nature's most ridiculously over-sized testicles - these balls are 14% of the bug's body mass. The crickets need all that extra sperm storage just to ensure they'll have offspring. » 11/09/10 4:00pm 11/09/10 4:00pm

Plants evolve multiple genes to avoid the perils of inbreeding

Humans aren't the only organisms that possess taboos about inbreeding, although for plants it's not cultural, it's genetic. in order to keep plants from producing weaker offspring, they have evolved many genes to ensure they don't mate with themselves. » 11/07/10 1:00pm 11/07/10 1:00pm

Millions of years ago, Earth's atmosphere had almost no oxygen

We all know how important carbon and oxygen are in the development of life on Earth. But millions of years ago, there wouldn't have been enough oxygen for animals to exist. What changed? » 11/01/10 10:38am 11/01/10 10:38am