Bacteria rule: Life found deep beneath Antarctic ice!

Bacteria rule: Life found deep beneath Antarctic ice!
In the cold, black depths of Antarctica, a microbial community is doing just fine, thank you very much. The energy comes from “eating” minerals, the carbon from carbon dioxide. The old/new ecosystem begs the question: How did this life get here? More »

Flying south for the winter?

Flying south for the winter?
Comparing genetic relationships to migration patterns gives a new view of the origin of bird migration. Surprise! It did not originate in the tropics, home of intense bird diversity. Rather, it originated in northern, temperate climates. More »

Planet discoveries boost LifeSearch 2.0

Planet discoveries boost LifeSearch 2.0
Almost 1,900 planet detections force the question: How to find life? Radio signals have produced nothing. Primitive life could exist deep inside Mars or around a distant star. How can we tell? What does ancient Earth tell us about life in space? More »

On the wing: Birds, skeeters, jet planes: Same design rule applies!

On the wing: Birds, skeeters, jet planes: Same design rule applies!
The “Constructal” theory purports to show similarities in the evolution of airplanes and birds. Both must live in the air. But how much does the theory simplify a complex relationship between objects designed by people and animals that have evolved through natural selection? More »

Amphibian decline: Frogs fight back!

Amphibian decline: Frogs fight back!
Lab tests show an immune response to the fungus and suggest several strategies to fight the biggest single cause of amphibian extinction. Frogs even learned to avoid the fungus on their second exposure! More »

Meet the mosquito: Annoying, deadly

Meet the mosquito: Annoying, deadly

Malaria is declining slowly, but skeeters carry other diseases, including dengue and West Nile. How do mosquitoes reproduce? What are the lessons of the anti-malaria campaign? Why not genetically alter mosquitoes so they will kill the malaria parasite by themselves? More »

New complexity at the dawn of modern life

New complexity at the dawn of modern life
Even before the high-speed evolution of the Cambrian explosion, one shelled organisms lived by the thousands in groups that offered shelter against ocean currents and predators, and improved the efficiency of feeding. The “reefs” they left behind give a new insight into ancient ecology. More »

Anxious crayfish, anxious people: Surprising similarities

Anxious crayfish, anxious people: Surprising similarities
Crayfish don’t like light, but they tolerate it — unless they are stressed out. Zap them with an electric shock, and they fear light. Give them a prescription med for anxiety — and watch the fear disappear! More »

Deceptive bird “lies” to steal food!

Deceptive bird "lies" to steal food!
The drongo bird utters alarms to frighten other birds away from their food, then swoops in to steal dinner. The drongo may run through different alarms — looking for one that works and preventing victims from detecting the scam. More »

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 »