science
Penis-Shaped, Wood-Munching Clams Are More Diverse Than We Thought, Study Finds

Wood-boring clams don’t look like the ones you or I might find steamed with pasta. They’re smaller than a pea, and live exclusively in the deep ocean, tunnelling into sunken, waterlogged trees that were swept out to sea long ago to eat the wood. Now, scientists have determined that there are quite a few more groups of these bizarre molluscs than we thought. Read More >>

animals
World’s Biggest Bee, Once Thought Extinct, Has Been Found Alive

A black, thumb-sized missile sails through the jungle air, a thunderous buzzing announcing its arrival. The massive insect lands heavily on a tree-bound termite nest, taking a moment to fold its brassy wings and stretch its humongous, curved jaws. This is Wallace’s giant bee, the beefiest and bumbliest bee on Earth. After going missing for nearly four decades, the species has just been rediscovered in its native Indonesia. Read More >>

science
New Tarantula Species Has Big, Weird, Floppy Horn

Tarantulas generally stick to a pretty predictable body plan – eight legs, long fangs, usually fuzzy. But a newly-described species of tarantula in the southern African country of Angola has thrown scientists a big curve ball. The tarantula is about as weird as it gets for spiders, sporting a long, pliable, droopy “horn” on its back, and no one’s sure what it’s even for. Read More >>

science
Newly Discovered Gecko Species Is Extremely Good at Being a Leaf

As night falls on the lowland rainforests in Madagascar, dead, decaying leaves find new life, slowly unfurling in the vanishing light. But as four scaly feet and wide, unblinking eyes emerge from behind the crinkly veil, the leaves reveal their true identities: these are leaf-tailed geckos, unparalleled masters of disguise. Now, researchers have described a species of these secretive lizards totally new to science, discovered in a protected corner of the island. Read More >>

animals
Mysterious Shark Species Discovered in Museum Collection May Already Be Extinct

It’s a new year, and the world has its first new species of shark in 2019. Meet Carcharhinus obsolerus! Though, it’d be wise to temper your expectations if you hope to see the newly-described species in the wild. The unique shark—described based on a few specimens caught many decades ago—may actually be extinct, gone before it was ever named. Read More >>

science
The Scientists Who Brave Angry Hawk Parents, Wasps and 80-Foot-Falls to Save Endangered Chicks

Life is hard for Ridgway’s hawks, a species found only in a small sliver of habitat on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Once found all over the island, the hawks have steadily declined due to local humans killing them and clearing their forest habitat. If that weren’t enough, their chicks are threatened by botflies, whose larvae burrow into the young birds’ skin, consuming them from within. Read More >>

science
Nearly Mythical 3-Foot-Long Swamp Salamander Is Officially a Real Species

What has two short, chunky arms, a mane of feathery gills, and a sleek, green-marbled, eel-like body as long as your leg? No guesses? Meet the reticulated siren, a massive, two and a half foot-long salamander, described for the first time in a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, hailing from the remote, secluded wilds of *checks notes* southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Read More >>

science
There Are More Tiger Types Than We Thought, New Genetic Analysis Reveals 

Tigers seem pretty straightforward: stripes, sharp claws, awe-inspiring grace wielded by hundreds of pounds of rippling muscle, etc. But new research on the big cats’ DNA is the latest indication that underneath that striking orange and black pelage, not all tigers are the same. Scientists are now reporting that tigers are broken up into six distinct subspecies spread out across Asia. Read More >>

science
Mysterious New Plant Discovered in Museum Collection Is Probably Already Extinct

It took a little while, but a tiny, delicate plant found in Japan 26 years ago has been formally classified as a new species. But after residing in a museum collection since the early 1990s, the single specimen of Thismia kobensis remains the only one ever found. Tragically, this means the so-called “fairy lantern” may already be extinct. Read More >>

conservation
Beautiful New Andean Hummingbird Is Already Critically Endangered

High in the Ecuadorian Andes, a stunningly beautiful species of hummingbird—decorated with a flashy, sapphire throat—has revealed itself to science for the first time. But scientists fear it’s already perilously close to extinction. Read More >>

social media
Social Media Might Not Ruin Nature, After All

Once pristine natural places become Instagram famous, everything changes. Lonely trails clog with hikers; empty forest pools fill with swimmers. Some have argued that the meshing of social media with the outdoors could cause locations to be loved to death, or even fundamentally taint outdoor recreation itself. Read More >>

science
Eighteen Species of Tweezer-Faced, Spider-Slaying Pelican Spiders Discovered in Madagascar

Quick: what has eight legs and a face like a pair of hairy salad tongs? If you’re a spider, you know exactly what I’m describing—a beast, which, at least to smaller spiders, is an otherworldly, eldritch terror: the pelican spider. Now, new research published in the journal ZooKeys details the discovery of a whopping 18 new species of pelican spider from Madagascar. Read More >>

science
New Evidence From Ancient Amber Shows Dinosaurs Were Plagued By Ticks

New research on 100 million year-old amber with ticks preserved inside indicates these tiny, annoying critters have been around for a long time—and that dinosaurs were among their hosts. Read More >>

science
200-Pound Penguins Once Prowled the Seas of Ancient New Zealand

Penguins are objectively adorable animals. The flappy little buddies waddle around on stubby feet, and some even like to be tickled. Their chicks are basically cute fluffballs made of fat and charisma that dance in children’s movies. However, a new fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed an ancestral penguin species that was considerably more intimidating than today’s agreeable Antarctic chaps. This long-extinct penguin was immense—standing nearly six feet tall and weighing more than two hundred pounds—one of the largest semi-aquatic birds to ever shuffle across the Earth. Read More >>

science
Freaky New Dinosaur Was Part Duck, Part Raptor

The last few years have yielded some truly bizarre dinosaur discoveries. From rhino-like animals with massive heads and stubby spines, to beaked mishmashes of every dinosaur in the book, there’s been a cavalcade of incredible additions. But perhaps none of these quite measures up to the unrelenting strangeness of a newly-discovered species of dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period of Mongolia some 75 million years ago. Read More >>