An Ailing Orca Was Given Medication in the Wild for the First Time Ever

A team of biologists from NOAA Fisheries, Vancouver Aquarium, and other institutions have been tracking the three-year-old orca, named J50, or Scarlet, for weeks. They’re not entirely sure what’s wrong with her, but she’s dangerously underweight and often lethargic. Scarlet is a member of the J-Pod, a group of about 76 critically endangered southern resident orcas, or killer whales. Maintaining the life of each pod member, females especially, is crucially important, hence the extraordinary and unprecedented measure to administer medication. Read More >>

That Mourning Orca Whale Mother Should Be a Wake-Up Call

Ten dreadful days. That’s how long Tahlequah, the female orca also known as J-35, has been carrying her dead calf in mourning through the Pacific Northwest’s Salish Sea. The female baby orca lived a mere half hour after being born July 24. Its body has begun to decompose, but that hasn’t kept the mother from holding onto the calf. Once she does release it, researchers want to conduct an autopsy and find out what exactly killed it. Read More >>

Council Accidentally Mows Butterfly Count Meadow

A picturesque Devon meadow that was used in David Attenborough's mission to count the butterflies is no longer all that photogenic or such an untouched nature hotspot, as its precious grasses and flowers have been mowed away by a rogue council worker. At least it will make counting the butterflies significantly easier. Read More >>

Volcanic Ash Has Basically Turned Day Into Night in Vanuatu

I’m no expert, but I feel like our planet is trying to tell us something. In addition to every corner of the globe being on fire, doused in rain, or cooked by heat, a new volcanic eruption is adding heavy ash to the list of calamities befalling humanity. The Manaro Voui volcano popped off in Vanuatu, a small island nation in the South Pacific, prompting the evacuation of the entire island of Ambae. Read More >>

This Brain Part Could Explain Why Parrots Are so Much Smarter Than Other Birds

Parrots are known for their intelligence, but why they should be so much smarter than other birds isn’t entirely clear. New research suggests parrots have an enlarged brain circuit responsible for higher-order thinking — a brain circuit with strikingly mammalian-like characteristics. Read More >>

Even Birds Struggle to Become Empty Nesters

Bird parents, like many human mothers and fathers, often struggle to become empty nesters. But as new research suggests, the tension that arises between baby birds who don’t want to leave the nest and parents who would very much like them out ultimately results in an ideal departure time that boosts survival rates. Read More >>

Swamp Sparrows Display Evidence of Centuries-Old Tradition in Their Songs

If you start listening to birds, you’ll realise that they have a species-specific sets of calls. Would you consider these songs a form of culture? Maybe, maybe not — but bird calls are passed down through generations, much as human traditions are. And it appears that some birds may have song traditions that persist over centuries. Read More >>

Bogong Moths Are First Insect Known to Use Earth’s Magnetism to Navigate at Night

Every spring in Australia, millions of bogong moths emerge from their pupae and embark on a 600-mile trip to the Australian Alps, the highest mountain range in Australia. For weeks, the insects rest during the day and take to the skies at night to reach the Alps, where they cram into caves and rest for the hot summer. Read More >>

Did Scientists Just Find a Missing Piece of the Universe?

It would be silly to think we completely understand our universe, given how small the Earth is compared to the vastness of the cosmos. But from here on our tiny planet, it appears that much of the universe is missing. And I’m not just talking about dark matter. Regular stuff seems to be missing, too. Read More >>

We’re Turning Wild Animals Into Night Owls by Scaring the Heck out of Them

All around the globe, human activity is driving mammals to become more active at night, according to new research. Likely driven by a fear of people, many animals shift their schedules toward nocturnality to avoid running into us. Read More >>

Which Volcanoes Are Most Overdue for Eruption?

The recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala are potent reminders that our planet is capable of unleashing its pent up fury at virtually any given time. Predicting eruptions isn’t easy, but some volcanoes are more worrisome than others. Read More >>

Why Thousands of Researchers Are Boycotting Nature’s Upcoming AI Journal

Early next year, the Springer Nature publishing group will launch a new subscription journal devoted to artificial intelligence. Like its other journals, Nature will impose a pay wall and restrict access to paying customers — a move that isn’t going over well with AI researchers, who say a for-profit subscription journal is not what the field needs right now. Read More >>

Nature, as Ranked by Google Users

When it comes to informed consumption, online user reviews can be pretty damn meaningless. Amazon products are chock full of paid approbations. Movies, TV, and games—god forbid they become a source of controversy—have had their crowdsourced ratings intentionally tanked by the sore and sour. Unless you’re trying to figure out whether that suspiciously cheap gadget will catch fire (it will), it’s a mug’s game. Read More >>

BBC Nature Doc Mixed up Italy and the Himalayas

The BBC's been caught fake-newsing the population again, although this one at least appears to have been an honest accident. One of its nature docs looking at the lives of people living in the Himalayas accidentally spliced in footage of the Dolomites mountain range, as found quite far away in Italy, leading to confusion among viewers who really know their mountain ranges. Read More >>

This Incredible New Footage of a Butterfly Laying Eggs Will Make You Love Bugs

If you haven’t taken a moment to really look at butterflies, you’re missing out. They’re more than just colourful bugs—they’re a group of insects consisting of almost 20,000 species of all sorts of incredible shapes and sizes. Their magic truly comes alive when you look up close. Read More >>