animals
These Birders Flock to Google Street View to Spot Birds Around the World

I noticed something in the distance while clicking along rural U.S. Route 59 in Minnesota, 80 miles southeast of Fargo, North Dakota. Two grainy heads appeared out of the water like a pair of Loch Ness monsters. I couldn’t make them out for certain, but given the location (Minnesota) and time of year (summer), I thought they could be common loons, birds that hadn’t yet been found by the other birders in my Facebook group. I’d been scouring Google Street View for hours hoping to find them, and here, I thought I’d nabbed a breeding pair. Read More >>

animals
Adorable Newborn Asian Elephant Is Helping Save Her Species

There’s a new joke at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio: Who’s your daddy? It’s a genuine question for the female baby Asian elephant born early Thursday morning as a result of artificial insemination. Read More >>

animals
World’s Oldest Wild Bird Just Laid Another Dang Egg

The world’s oldest wild bird, Wisdom the Laysan albatross, has once again returned to her breeding grounds, and she has laid another egg. She is at least 68 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 6. Read More >>

Palaeontology
Dolphins Had a Jurassic-Era Reptile Twin Featuring Blubber and Warm Blood

Ichthyosaurs and dolphins are the archetypal examples of convergent evolution in action, in which two completely unrelated species acquire near identical characteristics. The discovery of a new ichthyosaur fossil suggests this Jurassic-era creature was even more dolphin-like than we appreciated, featuring warm-blood, blubber, and even similar camouflage. Read More >>

science
Chinese Scientist Responsible for Gene-Edited Babies Has Reportedly Gone Missing

The current whereabouts of He Jiankui—the scientist who claims to have engineered the world’s first genetically modified human babies—is unknown. Rumours are now circulating that he’s been detained by the Chinese government. Read More >>

biology
Toothless, 33-Million-Year-Old Whale Could Be an Evolutionary ‘Missing Link’

A closer examination of a fossil found more than four decades ago has led to the identification of a new species of whale — a 33-million-year-old cetacean featuring neither teeth nor baleen. Its discovery could solve a longstanding mystery about the origin of filter-feeding whales, but some scientists say the new analysis isn’t wholly convincing. Read More >>

science
Spider Mothers Produce Milk for Their Young, Incredible New Study Shows

Jumping spider mothers provide milk to their spiderlings far into development, according to a new study that might turn your understanding of invertebrate parenting on its head. Read More >>

science
The Human Origin Story Has Changed Again, Thanks to New Discovery in Algeria

The discovery of 2.4-million-year-old stone tools and butchered bones at a site in Algeria suggests our distant hominin relatives spread into the northern regions of Africa far earlier than archaeologists assumed. The find adds credence to the newly emerging suggestion that ancient hominins lived – and evolved – outside a supposed Garden of Eden in East Africa. Read More >>

science
Rogue Scientist Defends Gene-Edited Babies – And Reveals a Second Pregnancy

Speaking at a genetics conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, embattled Chinese scientist He Jiankui said he was “proud” to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, despite receiving near-universal condemnation from his peers. Speaking publicly today for the first time, the scientist offered new details about his unauthorised, clandestine project – including news of another woman who is pregnant with an edited embryo. Read More >>

science
Infected ‘Zombie Spiders’ Forced to Build Incubation Chambers for Their Parasitic Overlords

Parasites that control the behaviour of their hosts for their own benefit are a well-documented natural phenomenon, but the discovery of a previously unknown relationship between a parasitic wasp and a social spider is particularly upsetting. Read More >>

science
DNA That Should Only Pass Down From Mothers Can Come From Fathers, Too

You probably learned two things about mitochondria in secondary school biology. First, they’re the powerhouses of the cell. Second, you can only inherit them from your mother. But a new study seems to cloud that second point. Read More >>

science
What’s the Smartest Plant?

Compared to even the dumbest human being, your average tulip is a moron. But you’d have to be dumber than a tulip to deny that something – maybe not intelligence in its dictionary definition, but some guiding, autonomic power – is at work among the members of the plant kingdom. And if we grant plants this quasi-intelligence, then we have to concede that some of them must be smarter than others – cannier absorbers of bugs and sun, better users of their varied environments. Inevitably, then, the question is: which one’s smartest? Read More >>

health
Second Case of Rat Hepatitis in a Human Reported in Hong Kong

A 70-year-old Hong Kong woman has contracted the rat-specific version of Hepatitis E, signifying only the second time the disease has been documented in humans. Health officials in China are now scrambling to understand the implications of this disturbing new development. Read More >>

science
These 4,000-Year-Old Termite Mounds Can Be Seen From Space

Scientists have discovered an immense grouping of freakishly large termite mounds in northeastern Brazil. Obscured by trees, the previously undetected array occupies a space equal to the size of Great Britain. Read More >>

uncategorized
Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree

Canadian scientists have identified microscopic creatures that are so unlike anything seen before, they had to create an entirely new branch on the evolutionary tree of life to slot them in. Read More >>