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  • Bacteria or Venom? The Surprising Secret Behind The Komodo Dragon’s Deadly Bite

    A water buffalo moves slowly through a shaded woodland on Rinca Island. It’s the dry season, so the grass rustles with each footfall, and it’s oppressively hot. Without warning, a massive reptile—the size of a full-grown man—bursts through the shrubbery. It’s a Komodo dragon, and before the buffalo can react, it lands a deep, gouging […] More

  • Cute But Deadly: These Surprisingly Venomous Mammals Could Kill You

    When most of us think of venomous animals, we probably picture cold-blooded creatures — reptiles like vipers or cobras, deadly spiders, or maybe a tropical fish festooned with stinging spines. But there are a select few venomous mammals that also deserve recognition for their chemical weaponry. Some more famous examples include the male platypus — […] More

  • An Intellectually Stimulating Childhood Makes Jumping Spiders Smarter

    Jumping spiders, with their giant, shiny eyes, staccato movements, and stumpy bodies, are among the most charismatic arachnids out there. But all that charisma can’t erase the sense of alienness these spiders give off — perhaps an inevitable side-effect of the hundreds of millions of years of evolution separating them from humans. Now, new research suggests […] More

  • Firenado: When Wildfires and Tornadoes Collide

    A “fire tornado” doesn’t seem like it would be real. The combination of inferno and whirlwind sounds like the sort of over-the-top phenomenon you’d see in an apocalyptic disaster film. But given the right conditions, “firenados” are very real events with the potential to be incredibly destructive. Watch the incredible footage below to see a […] More

  • Bizarre Parasite Turns Male Cicadas Into Sex-Crazed Zombies

    When cicada nymphs emerge from the ground, a certain percentage of them—between 2 and 5 percent—will acquire a fungal infection. The parasite rapidly grows inside these unlucky insects, eventually destroying whole sections of their body. But while the fungus has been known to science for a century, recent research published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports […] More

  • It Turns Out the Yeti Is Probably Just a Rare Bear

    The word “yeti” conjures up a specific image in the folklore of Nepal and Tibet — a massive, shaggy, distinctly ape-like beast that wanders the frigid and desolate Himalayan snowscape. It certainly doesn’t evoke anything that looks like it’s about to impart wisdom about stopping forest fires. But, according to a recent study published in […] More

  • Nightmarish Parasitoid Wasps Are Quietly Taking Over the Planet

    In the popular Alien sci-fi film franchise, the titular species—known as the “xenomorph”—targets hapless humans, often horrifically implanting their bodies with its own eggs. When the eggs hatch, the young emerge explosively from their unwilling incubator, with invariably fatal results for the human host. The jarring life cycle seems like something cooked up entirely in […] More

  • From Dinosaurs to Birds: How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly

    Every feathered thing — from the hummingbirds flitting near your feeder to the falcons that haunt lonely cliffs — has something in common, and it’s not just that they’ve got wings. Today’s modern birds descended from a single, surviving line of carnivorous, theropod dinosaurs that became small, delicate, covered in feathers, and were gifted with […] More

  • These Bats Make Epic 100km Trips for Food Every Night

    Most of us are probably familiar with the occasional mid-night voyage to a drive-through window to quell the munchies. Well, one small species of bat takes the concept of long-distance moonlit foraging to whole other level. Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) are native to a large swath of territory that takes up much of Mexico, […] More

  • Meerkats Are Homicidal Maniacs, Kill Each Other More Than Humans Do

    Humans don’t exactly have the most sterling reputation when it comes to how well we treat members of our own species. Any discussion about our propensity for violence is bound to involve the common, self-directed lambasting that among animals, humans are homicidal to a unique degree. But scientists have actually managed to quantify relative tendencies […] More

  • When Species Collide: Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybrids

    As global temperatures rise, ecosystems and the species they harbor are adjusting in response. Many habitats are either shifting their boundaries polewards—or disappearing altogether—sending wildlife into new regions, where they interact with resident creatures in surprising and often unprecedented ways. When this geographic collision is between two closely related species, they sometimes cross-breed, leading to […] More

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