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Good Lord, Scientists Have Discovered Skydiving Spiders in the Jungles of South America

As if arachnophobes didn’t already have enough to worry about, biologists working in Panama and Peru have discovered a nocturnal hunting spider capable of steering while in free fall—an unprecedented adaptation in tree-dwelling spiders that’s offering fresh insights into the evolution of flight. »8/19/15 10:40am8/19/15 10:40am

Why Do Cicadas Emerge at Prime Intervals of 13 and 17 Years?

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. »7/22/15 2:32pm7/22/15 2:32pm

Australia's Most Infamous Invasive Species Has a Problem with Breeding

Cane toads were first released in Australia in 1935 as part of a government program to control the insects attacking the Queensland cane crop. It didn’t work. Ever since, the toads have been spreading across the country, as fast as they can breed. Which would be even faster, if it weren’t for an odd quirk in their… »7/14/15 4:15pm7/14/15 4:15pm

The Biggest Kangaroos Evolved Long Arms to Fight Over Females

Male kangaroos and wallabies, like a lot of seemingly quiet grazing animals, get into knock-down drag-out fights over females. They obviously don’t have antlers or horns to spar with, but they’re perfectly willing to grapple rivals with their forelimbs and kick the crap out of each other with their big hind feet. »7/01/15 6:00pm7/01/15 6:00pm

555 Million Years Ago, There Were Creatures That Looked Like You

Nothing looked exactly like you 555 million years ago, but that’s when life emerged that looked like you in one crucial respect. What’s the most basic thing that you share with some creatures and not others? Brains? Lungs? Red blood cells? Nope. It’s that you’re bilateral. You have the ability to be cut into two… »6/18/15 9:53am6/18/15 9:53am

Far From Sterile, Some Hybrids May Start New Species

Your schoolteachers probably told you most species wouldn’t (or maybe couldn’t) successfully interbreed with one another. If some did, their hybrid offspring, like mules, couldn’t have babies of their own. That explanation was a bit oversimplified. Hybridization happens, and it may be one way new species arise. »6/09/15 3:30pm6/09/15 3:30pm