parasitic queens, dizzy apes, and errant whales
You never know what stories old photos may tell. Researchers analyzing 1990-1992 images of Venus noticed a widened vent in the Maat Mons volcano, evidence that there’d been an eruption, which means Venus is volcanically active! So, hold onto the old photos albums and read about parasitic queens, dizzy apes, and errant whales.
giant ants, new spacesuits, and water in the universe
Have authorities lost their minds in planning to release 100,000 mosquitoes into Ecuador? No! The mosquitoes were sterilized with radiation, and their infusion into the natural populations on the Galápagos Islands may reduce disease transmission. So, relax and read about giant ants, new spacesuits, and water in the universe.
Restoring Nature by Whittling Away at Woodlawn Park’s Invasive Plants
I joined a group of volunteers recently who were getting ready to attack exotic invasive plants on the banks of Lubber Run stream. The site—Woodlawn Park—is a small park tucked into a residential neighborhood in Arlington. Perhaps its diminutive size explains how well its invasive plants are being addressed, or perhaps it should be credited to the enthusiasm and dedication of its volunteers.
bumblebee smarts, chunky dunkies, and drone duties
Fans of Mezcal can rest assured that the “worm” in the bottle is no longer anonymous. Recent DNA tests of 18 pickled insects identified all as larvae of the moth C. redtenbacheri, the same culprit in the popular Chinicuiles dish. But edible larvae are not for everyone. Instead, read about bumblebee smarts, chunky dunkies, and drone duties.
dusty barbies, elephant birds, and your brain on art
Extinct elephant birds discovered from eggshell remains
Imagine pulling up to the shores of Madagascar after traveling more than 3,000 miles across the ocean, then encountering a 9-foot-tall bird?! That’s what the Pacific Islanders faced when they migrated to Madagascar. The half-ton, sharp-beaked bird — Aepyornis — would have made The Birds attack scenes look like a party. But Aepyornis left behind few traces after going extinct about 1000 years ago.
early brain surgery, speedy snaps, and heart health
China’s Mars Rover got off to a propitious start in 2021, roving more than 1,000 m of the Utopia Planitia region and finding evidence of water. But, Zhurong never came out of hibernation in 2022 and hasn’t moved in months. Then again, it was only designed to last 3 months. So, read on about early brain surgery, speedy snaps, and heart health.
glassy-winged sharpshooters, octopus brain waves, and farming mental health
The French winery Domaine du Météore has a legit name after all. A geologist on vacation found telltale evidence of a meteorite impact (spherules, magnetism, microdiamonds), making it just the 4th known small impact crater in the world. Read on about glassy-winged sharpshooters, octopus brain waves, and farming mental health.
old scrolls, mushroom-inspired plastic, and AI animal talk
Spinal cord stimulation can lead to rapid recovery in stroke survivors
The aftermath of strokes is not fun. A stroke is the brain’s equivalent of a heart attack that leaves parts of your body not working properly by interrupting the instructions from the motor cortex to your spinal cord. And — with 15 million people per year having strokes — none of us can count ourselves out of the experience.
toothy pterosaurs, fertile mole rats, and cigarettes
The first woman from Saudi Arabia is heading to space. Rayyana Barnawi will fly on a SpaceX Dragon to the ISS, accompanied by seasoned astronaut Peggy Whitson from the U.S., among others. While they get ready to lift off, read on about toothy pterosaurs, fertile mole rats, and cigarettes.
python tracking, spinosaur brains, and psychopaths
If you’re longing for immortality, you’re in luck. An AI-powered avatar of yourself may not be too far off. Says the based on personal data, “The AI is progressing extremely fast.” While you live on, let’s read on about python tracking, spinosaur brains, and psychopaths.
green lasers, black holes, and predator-prey antics
It’s a good one for green monkeys anyway. Since coming from Africa on trading ships, green vervet monkeys have settled in well on the island of St. Kitts, so well that, “They’re everywhere,” laments island scientist Julien Chalifour. While they do monkey business, let’s read on about green lasers, black holes, and predator-prey antics.
love hormones, wild dogs, and memory
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, zookeepers figured out how gibbons in separate cages got romantic. The female — “Momo” — gave birth to a baby whose DNA showed that a male named “Itou” held the smoking gun. How they got together was a mystery until staff found a hole in the partition separating them. While only 0.35 inches in diameter, it was clearly big enough for some nooky. Read on about love hormones, wild dogs, and memory.
rainbow clouds, neanderthal hunters, and matador bugs
As the oldest living organisms on Earth, bacteria have some tricks up their sleeves. How can a single celled organism with no organelles and just one DNA strand accomplish anything tricky? They do sleights of hand with light, responding to it by converting different wavelengths into chemical signals. A new study illuminated (pun intended) the signaling role of bacterial membranes, which act kind of like nerve cells. Bacteria don’t have nervous systems, but changes in electrical potentials acr...
de-extinction, medieval luxury, and black bears
Finders keepers didn’t apply as experts searched 870 miles of Australian highway for a half-inch-long radioactive capsule that bounced off a mining truck. With enough cesium-137 for a 20-m-radius dangerous hot zone, the capsule’s discovery and containment was a relief. So, read on about de-extinction, medieval luxury, and black bears.
hell pigs, stellar bars, and regeneration
Someone on an errant rewilding mission keeps releasing animals from the Dallas Zoo, including two emperor tamarin monkeys just recovered. Given the string of animal escapes from slashed enclosures, there’s a $25,000 reward for information on the monkey snatcher. Meanwhile, read about hell pigs, stellar bars, and regeneration.