First Evidence that Microplastics Travel Up the Food Chain and Into Seal Bellies

You’re familiar with the food chain: little fish eats plankton, bigger fish eats the little fish, then a seal eats the bigger fish, thus consuming the energy from all three smaller animals. But what if the little fish had also eaten an indigestible piece of plastic? New evidence demonstrates the plastic could make it all the way up the food chain into the seal. Read More >>

Scientists Set to Explore Mysterious Seafloor Exposed by Antarctica’s Giant Iceberg

Remember the massive iceberg that split away from Antarctica last year? An international team of scientists is about to embark on a mission to explore the newly exposed marine ecosystem underneath—one that’s been hidden for over 100,000 years. Read More >>

Snakes Could Be Spreading Flowers By Pooing Mice

You probably have this image of the circle of life in your head where a zebra eats a plant, a lion eats the zebra, the lion dies and fertilises the soil, and then new plants grow. I mean, that sort of happens, but have you considered where snakes fit into all of this? Read More >>

Frog Species Breaks Record for Most Sex Chromosomes in a Vertebrate

You may have learned in school that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes: 22 “autosomes” and their partners, which contain pretty much the same genes and in the same order, plus one pair of sex chromosomes that lead to the differentiation in sexual traits. But enough about us. The Amazonian Leptodactylus pentadactylus (smoky jungle frog) has six pairs of sex chromosomes. Read More >>

The ‘Shower Rat’ is Very Obviously Not Showering

It’s very easy to look at an animal mimicking a human-like behavior and think “Wow! That animal is doing a human thing! It looks so cute and happy” (because humans are so cute and happy, right?) That is almost never the case. If an animal looks weird, it probably is weird—and not in a good way. Read More >>

Discovery of Extinct Burrowing Bat Tells Mysterious Story About New Zealand

All but three land mammal species living on New Zealand today were brought there by modern humans, beginning around 800 years ago—and all three of those native mammal species are bats. But a newly discovered bat fossil suggests that there may be more species hiding in the isle’s ancient rock. Perhaps the mammal-poor islands once had a far more batty past. Read More >>

giz asks
What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Earth might be looking a little worse for wear, after the last four hundred years of reckless wide-scale resource extraction, but to its credit it hasn’t collapsed entirely. Despite our best efforts, it continues to gamely welcome our rapidly expanding population, barring the occasional earthquake. Whether the planet might be a little better off with fewer of us is a different question, a freighted one. Read More >>

Instagram Is Warning Users That ‘Cute’ Exotic Animal Selfies Aren’t So Cute

In the Amazon, animals are being illegally captured and held in captivity to lure in tourists that might want to snap a sweet selfie with a sloth or a squirrel monkey. A report published in October by the Nature Conservation detailed the harmful consequences of wildlife ecotourism, pointing out that this practice is not only illegal, but deadly for the animals captured to entice sightseers. And it’s a practice that has been well-documented on Instagram—there are currently thousands of photos under the #slothselfie hashtag alone. But this week Instagram has decided to inform its millions of users that all that’s cute isn’t necessarily wholesome. Read More >>

Feast Your Eyes on Some of the Year’s Best Wildlife Photography

The British Ecological Society has announced the winners of its annual photo competition, and it features fantastic photos of fearsome predators pouncing on prey, a freakishly rare ocelot, and a crafty chameleon doing what a chameleon does best. Read More >>

Mammals Literally Came Out of the Dark Once the Dinos Were Gone

The first mammals emerged during the reign of the dinosaurs, adopting a nocturnal lifestyle to stay safe. It was only until the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the planet that certain mammals began to assert themselves during the daylight hours, according to new research. Read More >>

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 >>

Pandas Are Probably Still Screwed, Sorry

Last year brought some rare good conservation news: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the folks who determine which species are endangered and which aren’t, bumped pandas from endangered to vulnerable. That’s a sign that conservation efforts have begun to reverse the effects of the human activity that wiped out the original bamboo-filled panda habitats in the first place. It also makes sense I guess, because science journalists spent all of last year talking about pandas screwing. Read More >>

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 >>

Salmon Spill Sends Thousands of Invasive Fish Swimming Up and Down the Pacific Coast

Last month, a pen in Washington State holding hundreds of thousands of fish broke, sending swarms of silver Atlantic salmon swimming to the south and north. If you're up on your US geography, you may know that Washington State is not on the Atlantic. Now, these invasive fish have been reported as far as 150 miles away in Canada. Read More >>

Squirrels Organise Their Nuts Better Than Some Humans Organise Their Wardrobes

Ah, the simple pleasure of a perfectly stacked soda display or an impeccably organised closet. Who doesn’t feel at least a little re-energised after a bout of over-the-top arranging? Turns out, our squirrelly friends might feel the same way about neatly-organised nuts. Read More >>