Nature

Installation Of Deep-Water Pipeline Gives Immediate Boost To Sea-Floor Animals

Off the coast of Angola is an accidental human-made paradise for sea-floor animals. Located in depths of 700 to 1400 metres beneath the waves, a pipeline is what many sea cucumbers, starfish, anemones, and fish call home. The pipeline provides shelter for our underwater friends. It’s kind of like a buffet too! A lot of organic matter gets stuck on the pipeline, which the creatures feed on. But food isn’t the only thing that gets stuck there, unfortunately; a lot of litter gets stuck on the pipeline too. Read full article here

How Did Consciousness Evolve? An Illustrated Guide

According to philosopher Danni Dennet, the third level of consciousness includes animals that can imagine different scenarios and choose among those scenarios. Take the Western scrub jay, which stores food in many different places. It remembers to eat the tasty worms it hid first, because it knows they expire before the long-lasting peanuts it also hid. It also knows to change hiding spots if other jays see it storing its supplies, as it doesn’t want them stealing them. Read full article here.

Grey Wolf Genomic History Reveals A Dual Ancestry Of Dogs

Modern wolves and dogs have similar, homogenous genetic histories that tell a story of eastern European wolf dominance. But a closer look at their genes reveals that there’s another wolf population that contributed to modern wolves and dogs, one from western Europe. It’s possible that the two wolf populations co-mingled when eastern European populations were brought in by humans. This could explain why fossils of many different kinds of wolves seemed to disappear and be replaced by a single ancestor that looked like all of them. Read full article here

Fish Reportedly Raining From The Sky Across San Francisco

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a fish? It’s raining fish in San Francisco! An upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water from the ocean depths has caused an explosion in fish populations in San Francisco Bay. But that doesn’t explain how they end up on people’s roofs and on sidewalks. Well, the abundance of food attracts birds like pelicans to the bay, who carry off mouthfuls of fish back to their homes across San Francisco. It’s no surprise that they’d drop a few when their mouths are bursting with food! Read full article here

Never-Before-Seen Microbes Locked In Glacier Ice Could Spark A Wave Of New Pandemics If Released

Although glaciers look barren, hundreds of microbial species call them home. Many of them are ancient—having roamed free thousands of years ago—and alien to researchers. Because we haven’t encountered them before, they could potentially cause a slew of pandemics if they escape their icy prisons. This poses a problem: the Earth is warming faster than ever before, accelerating their release. These microbes can make their way into human populations through freshwater; for instance, the Tibetan Plateau glaciers feed into three major rivers running through the most populated countries on earth. Read full article here

It’s 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Cat Is?

Our cuddly cats are ruthless serial killers that kill billions of animals worldwide. Many of their unfortunate victims are birds, especially in Iceland. Iceland is home to both the furry murderers and migratory birds that have grown used to not having any natural predators. To curb their killing sprees, Icelanders have discussed nighttime curfews for cats. All cats in towns must be locked indoors, preventing them from wreaking havoc on the ecosystem when they’re most active. However, this doesn’t stop stray cats, who will continue their murder sprees unbothered. Read full article here

How Pandas Survive Solely On Bamboo

Did you know that pandas have false thumbs on their wrists? These finger-like structures don’t help the panda hold onto anything—except for their precious bamboo, so they can bite it more effectively. It’s so important to the panda lifestyle that ancient pandas from millions of years ago had them too, but they were a little longer. It’s suspected they shrunk because it affected their walking. It’s a wrist bone after all! Being able to hold bamboo meant nothing if they couldn’t reach their next bamboo buffet. Read full article here

Dinosaurs Took Over Amid Ice, Not Warmth, Says A New Study Of Ancient Mass Extinction

The transition between the Triassic and Jurassic periods was marked by volcanic eruptions that turned Pangea snowy and desolate. This extinction event killed off all large reptiles… except for the dinosaurs. How did these fearsome beasts survive the freezing temperatures and begin ruling the world? Unlike other reptiles, the cold didn’t bother the dinosaurs. They were warm-blooded oddities among their cold-blooded brothers, and as precursors to birds, they were already covered in insulating feathers. These factors helped them weather the cold and reign supreme. Read full article here

Skydiving Salamanders

Some salamanders can…fly? The wandering salamander is a species of salamander that lives all of its life in the canopies of California redwoods, some of the world’s tallest trees. How does a 10-centimetre amphibian survive way up in a tree? Well, it glides! Although they don’t look like your typical gliding animal, their larger-than-average footpads and tails are enough to help them glide gracefully through the air. Other salamander species are less adept at ‘flying’, as proven by the hilarious video in this article. Read full article here

Why Do Cats Love Catnip?

It seems that cats love catnip because it helps keep pesky mosquitoes away. Catnip leaves contain plant iridoids, which are compounds that repel a variety of insects, like mosquitoes and flies. By licking, chewing, and rubbing against catnip, cats damage its leaves. Damaging the leaves releases more of the plant iridoids; it is suggested that cats may have evolved to get worked up by the smell of the compound as it protects them from mosquito bites. Read full article here

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