animals
Dogs Make Facial Expressions, But Only When They’ve Got an Audience

Some dog owners claim to be able to read the face of their cuddly canine like a book, but it’s completely possible they’re just projecting. New research suggests it’s not just their imagination, and that dogs really do switch on the puppy eyes —but only in the presence of a captive audience. Read More >>

science
Compared to Wolves, Dogs Are Absolutely Terrible at Co-operation

Humans and dogs have a long history of working together, leading to the assumption that the collaborative abilities of dogs are the result of domestication. New research suggests this isn’t the case, and that wolves are far better at co-operation than their domesticated cousins, at least when they’re co-operating with one another. Read More >>

animals
Lost UK Hawk Found and Caught Thanks to Day-Old Chick

With talons so sharp they look like they could slice steel and a beak that could peck your eyes out in two seconds flat, the Harris hawk is not to be messed with. Recently, a chap by the name of Mark Render from the town of Washington, Tyne and Wear in Northern England lost one of these magnificent birds of prey. Happily, his winged chum – who's called Ares – has now turned up after being missing for two weeks. And you can thank a baby chick for the pair's reunion. Read More >>

environment
Why Climate Scientists Depend on Alaska’s Indigenous Communities Now More Than Ever

UTQIAĠVIK, ALASKA — Arnold Brower Jr., a 70-year-old Iñupiat whaling captain, can recall his first encounter with scientists clearly. It was 1977, and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) had just placed a moratorium on bowhead whale hunting, after a US government-led population survey determined the marine mammals’ numbers to be dangerously low. But Brower, who has been hunting in the icy Arctic waters surrounding Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) since he was a boy, felt certain that conclusion was wrong. Read More >>

animals
Lefty Snail Jeremy Has Died, Bringing a Heartwarming Story to an End

Left-handedness has its challenges during human childhood. You can’t use most scissors, and coaches have difficulty teaching you how to use a tennis racket. But things were much harder for Jeremy, the incredibly rare lefty snail who couldn’t find love. But now, Jeremy is dead. Read More >>

animals
Vets Are Having Problems Talking About Your Obese Cat

You probably spent a lot of time thinking about what you named your cat. Maybe you came up with Mr. Felidae Cat-stro, or Meow-gusto Pinocat. Or Meowbarak. Cat-dafi. Meow-losevic. But don’t let your teeny dictator’s charismatic meows fool you. You need to be the one in control of their diet because it’s possible your vet is going to be weird about the obesity conversation—weirder than you. Read More >>

science
A Freakishly Large New Species of Rat Has Been Discovered in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands—a nation comprised of nearly one thousand islands located northeast of Australia, between Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea—is an impressive corner of the globe. Dense, lush rainforest blankets the majority of the islands, and the country’s coral reef biodiversity is among the richest in the world. Many of the plants and animals in the Solomon Islands have evolved in splendid isolation, and now, one of these animals has emerged from its idyllic surroundings, revealing itself to science for the first time: the vika (Uromys vika), a big-ass rat four times the size of even the heftiest of the familiar, city-slicker variety. Read More >>

animals
Unsolicited Sainsbury’s Chocolate Delivery Sickens Dogs

Some people at Sainsbury's supermarket -- in association with posh chocolate brand Green & Black's -- thought it might be nice to jointly advertise both brands by sending out free chocolate to a random selection of homes. Everyone loves free chocolate, they thought. Nothing can go wrong. We'll be heroes. Read More >>

science
Lovestruck Toadlets Can’t Even Hear Their Own Flirting

Stand in awe of the small but mighty pumpkin toadlet. He might only be an inch long, but his skin is packed with some of the most potent toxins on Earth. Strutting proudly through the mulch, he lets out a series of high-pitched buzzes to let nearby females know that in this patch of damp, decomposing leaves, he is king—and ready for a queen. There’s only one problem. As scientists explain in a new study published in Scientific Reports, those boastful calls fall on deaf ears. Literally. Read More >>

animals
Buddhists Fined for Freeing Lobsters in Brighton

A group of well-meaning buddhists have been fined a total of £28,000 for misguidedly trying to do something nice, after they bought up a pile of live lobsters destined for the catering industry and set them free in the sea off the coast of Brighton. Read More >>

science
Crazy New Hermit Crab Makes Its Home Inside Another Living Animal

The life of a hermit crab is one of repetition. Find an abandoned snail shell. Live in it. Nom on some flecks of detritus. Grow bigger. Find a slightly bigger shell. Repeat all steps for the rest of your crustacean life. The most onerous part is continually upgrading the shell, a process that can get pretty intensely competitive with other crabs around. However, a newly-discovered species of hermit crab avoids the shell renting game altogether, opting to reside in a living coral, one that grows alongside the crab, meaning no more relocating once the square footage gets a bit tight. Read More >>

animals
When Male Ducks Hang Out Together Their Penises Get Longer

Male ducks have some of the weirdest junk in nature—a ludicrously long, corkscrew-shaped member that evolved on account of an ongoing battle of the sexes. New research shows that the social environment in which the male duck finds himself in has a pronounced effect on the length of his penis, a finding that may finally put the “size matters” debate to rest. For ducks. Read More >>

animals
Fake Whales Stranded on Lincolnshire Beach

There's a charity in the UK called British Divers Marine Life Rescue, and one of the things it does is train people with an interest in how to save the lives of big things that wash up on beaches. The living things, not the shipping containers full of motorbikes. Read More >>

science
Virgin Velvet Spiders Allow Themselves to Be Eaten By Their Foster Kids

Spiders are typically thought of as solitary creatures that don’t partake in social pleasantries unless they have something to do with mating. But as new research shows, the African velvet spider is an exception to this rule. Mother spiders are assisted by closely-related virgin females who, in addition to engaging in child-rearing tasks, offer themselves up as a sacrificial meal for the spiderlings. Read More >>

science
Biologist Subjects Himself to an Electric Eel Attack for Science

It’s no secret that the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) is a species not to be messed with. Capable of generating an electric discharge of more than 800 volts, the enigmatic tropical fish can easily stun prey and would-be predators alike. Land-lubbing assailants aren’t safe either; the eels can breach out of the water like high-voltage snakes, landing on attackers and dispensing a Taser-like jolt. Now, new research described in a paper published today in Current Biology has revealed key details of how the eels execute this electric lunge, and just how bad the jolt can be—discoveries that relied on one scientist’s bravery...and his right arm. Read More >>