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 »

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 »

Winter woes? No problem! say plants

Winter woes? No problem! say plants
Plants have evolved numerous ways to endure cold, wind and ice formation. How do they do it? How is climate change affecting plants and plant communities? More »

Stimulation: Too much could hurt when you are young.

Stimulation: Too much could hurt when you are young.
Growing brains need blood. But persistent noise or activity both slow formation of new vessels in the brain of a mouse. Mice aren’t people, but this result might interest new parents! 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 »

Cancer genetics: Angelina Jolie’s decision

Cancer genetics: Angelina Jolie's decision

What about genetic screening? Angelina Jolie went public about her preventive mastectomy in an effort to focus publicity on surgery to prevent breast cancer. Can genetic sequencing help in cancer treatment? 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 »

Moles smell in stereo!

Moles smell in stereo!

A common mole never sees the light of day, but it can pinpoint the source of food in just a few seconds — thanks to its newfound stereo smelling ability. If two ears help you hear in stereo, what good are two nostrils? More »

Store more. Much more!

Store more. Much more!

The explosion of data — in meteorology, genetics, spying and physics — requires new storage technology. DNA has been storing data for billions of years. Could life’s “hard disk” help tame today’s data explosion? More »

Biobombs blast cancer!

Biobombs blast cancer!

We reported on viruses that infect cancer cells, force them to make more virus, and then die. Can viruses become “intelligent bio-agents” against cancer? More »

Bacteria: Social critters!?

Bacteria: Social critters!?

Bacteria: you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all? Not. There’s a chemical war going on in that Petri dish, and a new study identifies specialist “super-killers” can kill off a broad range of competitors. Could “bacterial soldiers” help us fight resistance to antibiotics? More »

West Nile virus running wild

West Nile virus running wild

Mosquitoes spread a lot of disease, but they are not just “flying hypodermic needles.” As we rush to protect ourselves against a virus that can cause permanent brain damage, how can we understand and control the mosquitoes that spread West Nile? More »

First forest: New details emerge

First forest: New details emerge

Returning to the site of a classic “first forest” site, New York scientists have found extra complexity: three fossilized trees-like species aged almost 400 million years. One find, a vine-like monster, may be a direct descendant of all seed-bearing trees! More »

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Biology: critters that should not exist!

Lake Vostok could house ancient bacteria, but we already know that bacteria can live in boiling water or light up a glowing squid. Countless weird-and-weirdest critters live between grains of sand… Curious about biology’s strange shelf? More »