Paul McCully was having a relatively normal Tuesday in Myrtleford, Australia. Then he looked up. “It looked like inverted waves moving quickly across the sky,” wrote McCully, who was driving at the time. He pulled over to snap a remarkable photo. “It was a stunning sight.” The wavelike ripples resembled choppy seas, as though the
Once again, Australian fauna have provided the world with a gruesome surprise. This time, it comes at the expense of a tiny little possum, who fell prey to a large and ubiquitous spider. While we’re all wary of spiders, knowing their bites can pack a punch, seeing a big spider capture a small vertebrate is
Why zebras evolved to have their distinctive stripes has long puzzled scientists, with one of the leading hypotheses the idea that the stripes are a temperature control mechanism. A study last year suggested that wasn’t the case, but now there’s new evidence on the table. In this latest study, researchers measured temperature differences between black
Nearly 200 million years ago, Earth’s skies were home to a creature unlike anything seen today. Neither bird nor dinosaur, this long-extinct reptile was, quite literally, born to fly. A fresh look at the fossilised embryos of pterodactyls has revealed just how independent these so-called flaplings truly were. Discovered in China for the first time
Carnivorous plants are known for being brutal and opportunistic predators, but an unexpected and fascinating discovery in Canada has proved especially gruesome. Described as a “WTF moment” by researchers, it appears that pitcher plants in the wetlands of Ontario are not just luring in insects and spiders. They are also regularly capturing and devouring vertebrates.
In the beginning, life was simple. Then, about half a billion years ago, biology got complicated. Identical cells shrugged off the shackles of conformity and divided up the chores between them, evolving into the first members of the animal kingdom. Exactly what this animal prototype looked like has long been the subject of debate. A
Many comparisons have been made between humans and dolphins, those sleek mammals of the sea. Now scientists have found another point of similarity between us and our cetacean cousins: Like us, dolphins make friends based on mutual interests. In the case of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) specifically, individuals tend to hang out with
A huge wolf head preserved since the last Ice Age has been found in incredible condition in Siberia, an estimated 40,000 years since being entombed in frozen wilderness. The giant head, discovered by a local man in 2018 along the shores of the Tirekhtyakh River in the Russian Republic of Sakha (aka Yakutia), measures a
Around 1.2 billion years ago, the biggest asteroid ever to hit the British Isles is thought to have slammed into Earth. Now, experts have identified where the exact impact point may have lain hidden this whole time. The spot in question is estimated to be about 15 to 20 kilometres (9 to 12 miles) off Enard
Mountains are some of the mightiest geographic features on our planet, and no two ranges are the same. Some have soaring peaks, ragged ridges, and deep ravines, while others gently roll away in wavy hills and wide valleys. No matter where they appear, or even how, their branched structures share a universal similarity, and that
Meteorologists in Southern California got a strange surprise on Tuesday night when they spotted a huge blob on the National Weather Service radar. Appearing to be about 130 by 130 kilometres (80 miles), it was moving southward over San Bernardino County. “It was very strange because it was a relatively clear day and we weren’t
The dragonfish is a top predator at the bottom of the sea. A bioluminescent lure on its head and spots on its belly beckon prey, like a lantern draws in moths. The rest of its body, as long as a pencil and almost as slender, is an inky black that blends in with water deeper
As a rule, your brain’s activity doesn’t influence the physiological development of your sex cells. In simpler terms: What you ‘think’ can’t be inherited. But now it looks like we may need to rethink this rule for at least one species. The activity of nematode neurons has been shown to influence the foraging behaviour of
Feathers are not simply the domain of birds, nor did they arise solely for flight. New research on China’s rich fossil record suggests instead that these structures arose 100 million years before birds, and maybe even before dinosaurs themselves. The breakthrough came late last year, when researchers were studying two new fossilised pterosaurs in China.
Not everything on Earth has sex. While the vast majority of creatures on the planet reproduce this way, some animals prefer to go it alone. Sometimes when they do this, they thrive – successfully rejecting sex for millions of years. Sometimes animals even switch between sexual and asexual reproduction. So, sex is a tricky thing.
New York is one signature away from becoming the first state in the country to ban cat declawing, a practice advocates say serves no benefit to felines and is done typically out of convenience. The bill, which passed by a wide margin Tuesday in the state’s majority-Democrat Assembly and Senate, would impose a US$1,000 fine
Do you need another reason to love bees? Not only can our fuzzy little flower friends perform basic arithmetic, scientists have now discovered that they can recognise symbols associated with numbers. Just as we humans recognise the symbol 7 or VII is associated with a quantity of seven, it seems that bees can make the
Australia’s dinosaur record is one of the most poorly understood, with only a handful of species discovered in the past hundred years. But a newly identified one has been in our possession for decades without us even knowing. A strange collection of unstudied bones on show at Australia’s oldest museum for years has turned out to
They say you should never turn your back on the ocean, but what if the waves are coming from all sides? This is what happens when an unlucky swimmer or boater gets caught between two opposing swells, known as a cross sea. This rare pattern of square waves is a beautiful sight to behold, but