evolution

Why Skunks Evolved Their Smelly Spray

Skunk spray is so potent that it can knock you out or even kill you—and now we know why the North American mammals evolved the noxious stuff. Skunks are nocturnal, and their predators rely heavily on scent to navigate ...

Animal Without a Brain Can “Sneeze,” Surprising Study Shows

By Karl Gruber They don’t exactly say achoo, but sponges can “sneeze,” according to a new study that shows the simple aquatic creatures are more complex than previously thought.  Sponges are stationary animals, found in both marine and fresh ...

Video: Why Do Prairie Dogs Do “The Wave”?

It’s not easy being a rodent in the U.S. Great Plains. Animals like black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are under constant threat of being preyed upon from land and air by predators that include hawks, eagles, and coyotes. ...

First Peek Into Cave System Holding New Hominid Fossils

By 6:00am, the sun is shining, everyone in camp is up and getting breakfast and gathering for the morning briefing from expedition leader Lee Berger. Today’s assignments were clear: set up more shower tents, get the gear ready, and ...

Male Lizards Less Attracted to “Bearded Ladies”

When it comes to choosing a mate, even lizards have certain standards. Tracy Langkilde, an associate professor of biology at Penn State University, and Lindsey Swierk, a graduate student in Langkilde’s lab, recently looked at the relationship between body-color ...

New Species of Spiny Rat Found in Indonesia

In the remote mountain forests of Halmahera (map), the largest island of the Maluku archipelago in Indonesia lurks the newest member of the rodent family sporting spiky brown fur and a stubby tail. Scientists first discovered the distinctive rodent, called ...

New Species of Spiny Rat Found in Indonesia

In the remote mountain forests of Halmahera (map), the largest island of the Maluku archipelago in Indonesia lurks the newest member of the rodent family sporting spiky brown fur and a stubby tail. Scientists first discovered the distinctive rodent, called ...

A Colorful View of Incredibly Sticky Feet

  These are gecko feet. Notice their crazy toes. The “stripes” are made of modified scales covered in thousands of “hairs,” only twice as long as our hairs are thick. Each hair branches into thousands of tips. Each tip branches ...

Masters of Deception: 5 Two-Faced Species

When we call a person two-faced, it’s an insult. But for some clever animals, being two-faced is a high compliment. Many animals evolve eyespots and even false heads—like the thorny devil—to look more menacing and fake out ...

Masters of Deception: 5 Two-Faced Species

When we call a person two-faced, it’s an insult. But for some clever animals, being two-faced is a high compliment. Many animals evolve eyespots and even false heads—like the thorny devil—to look more menacing and fake out ...

Frog Hears With Its Mouth, Surprises Scientists

We’ve told you about an urchin that can eat with its anus and a tadpole that can see through its tail.  And now, in the latest discovery of a surprising use for body parts, scientists say there’s a ...