Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation

Fruit fly study finds long-term impact of sleep deprivation
Most animals — from flies to people — sleep much more when very young. A new report traces this increased sleep to the brain chemical dopamine. Holy cow! Here’s the ‘so-what’: Later on, the sleep-short flies had less interest in mating! More »

Ancient filter-feeder was a “gentle giant”

Ancient filter-feeder was a "gentle giant"
Just 22 million years after the “Cambrian explosion,” a top predator had already evolved into a filter-feeder, able to sweep up food with sieves built into its front appendages. So what’s this got to do with the whale shark? More »

Whale “sonar” an ancient invention!

Whale "sonar" an ancient invention!
A whale fossil from 28 million years ago shows compelling evidence for echolocation — the ability to “see” objects by listening for the echoes of your own noise. The discovery traces deep roots for a talent that helps animals live in dark and murky conditions. More »

Bats on the wing

Bats on the wing
Bat wings are built like a mammal’s arm—and so their flight is fiendishly complex. Scientists have decoded the fluid dynamics of the flight of a fruit bat—and this airborne mammal has some nifty tricks for staying aloft! More »

Menacing mating game: Frogs fear bats!

Menacing mating game: Frogs fear bats!
Mating displays attract females — and predators. A Panama bat listens for the túngara frog. If it “sees” ripples the frog makes on the pond, it swoops in for lunch! More »

Freeloading: Secret of bird flight

Freeloading: Secret of bird flight
By carefully measuring the position of trailing birds, scientists detect a strong preference for the exact spot where their wings are lifted by the whirling air left by the bird in front. More »

Stopping the slaughter of the bats

Stopping the slaughter of the bats
In 7 years, white-nose syndrome has spread to 24 states and 5 provinces. Why is the fungus so deadly? Why don’t bats die in Europe? And where are the chinks in its armor? More »

Got gears? Let’s leap, says the leafhopper!

Got gears? Let's leap, says the leafhopper!

25 Simple machines are rare in biology, but gears create microsecond timing in one high-jumping insect. Quiz question: What other natural structure pivots at the rate of 550 times a second? More »

The cockroach

The cockroach

An extermination trick that married insecticide with sugar worked for a while — but then suddenly lost its power against roaches. Now science tells us why, as it highlights once again how human actions affect natural selection. More »

Monkey: When in Rome…

Monkey: When in Rome…

If you teach a group of monkeys that blue corn tastes yucky, they switch to pink corn. What happens when a monkey raised to detest pink corn enters the group? You might be surprised! More »

Problems of the apes

Problems of the apes

Bad feet? Aching back? Impacted wisdom teeth? Blame balky designs inherited from your relatives. How has evolution equipped — or mal-equipped — us for modern life? How do big brains support culture that supports big brains? More »

Wolf mystery solved at last!

Wolf mystery solved at last!

And how did it traverse 460 kilometers of ocean? Apparently by crossing a narrow band of ice during the last Ice Age. A new study echoes evolutionary giants Darwin and Wallace and highlights the role of sea level in animal migration. More »

Come hither, says plant

Come hither, says plant

Study finds that bees “read” the electric field of a flower. First-ever detection of electric-field detection by animal not in water makes evolutionary sense, but how come nobody ever saw this before? More »

Warming: A bad climate for endangered species?

newborn sea turtle on sand

How will rising temperatures affect endangered species? Are there ways to abate the consequences, and are they being tested? Can we even be certain that climate change is the cause of specific declines? More »