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.
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!
An alluring flash pattern is only the first step in firefly reproduction. Females actually pay more attention to the “nuptial gift” that carries sperm. A new look at these popular creatures shows that the battle of the sexes is more subtle and complex than we thought.
How do homing pigeons find their way on their amazing migrations? For a decade, scientists thought iron-bearing nerve cells in the beak can detect Earth’s magnetic field. But those iron granules are in immune cells. So how do the birds do it?
As colony collapse disorder continues to attack honeybee hives, a new study shows that a common insecticide interferes with their return flights. Although the disorder probably has many causes, agricultural chemicals have long been key suspects, and this study adds to the suspicion!
Can pigeons learn an abstract mathematical rule? Apparently, according to a new study, which asked pigeons to place, five blue dots and eight green squares, in ascending order. Now we know birds and primates can both do this, but where and why did this ability originate?
athogens can change the behavior of their hosts — and now we see that a single viral gene forces a caterpillar to climb a tree before it dies. From that high vantage, the virus can infect more caterpillars. It’s nifty and thrifty, unless you’re a gypsy moth!
Found: The smallest farmers in the world! If you’re hungry, and moving to a land without food, the smart money says, “Take some seeds.” And that’s exactly what a common soil amoeba does: It totes along bacteria so it can eat them in its new home.
Most fireflies flash on their own schedule, but some do it all at once. In most animals, the guys try to stand out from the crowd – but these flies try to make a crowd! What’s the evolutionary advantage? What can we learn about bug-brains from the “all-at-once” display of synchronous fireflies?
Cleaner fish remove parasites from other fish. Why do males punish females who eat the wrong food from their host? A clue to the evolution of cooperation?
The struggle between predator and prey never ends. Bats invented sonar, and now some moths are fighting back. Check out the Why Files acoustic-organic warfare, airborne edition.
We explore the sad saga of pet primates. Are these pets psychologically good for us? For them? Are humans and other primates trading diseases at home, and in the wild?
You can’t hold your eyes completely still, but what is the purpose of those tiny movements? A new study could explain why we make them — and why we seldom notice them.
Locusts live a solitary life — until their bodies suddenly change, and they swarm into clouds of destructive insects. A new study fingers the trigger for this transformation.
How does momma croc know when to dig up the young? How do the embryos know when to start hatching? The secret’s in the song…