nature

Cannibal wood ant colony survives years sealed in nuke bunker, plus a happy ending

Cannibal wood ant colony survives years sealed in nuke bunker, plus a happy ending

A new study expanded on a seemingly impossible scenario in which wood ants survived while trapped for years in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Poland. The wooded area around the former Soviet nuclear base at Templewo, Poland contained (and still contains) large colonies of the wood ant (Formica polyctena Först). In the year 2012, volunteer researchers entered the bunker (one of two, actually), to ascertain information about bats that'd found their way in to hibernate. In 2012 they found bats, but they also found a massive amount of ants - and so they started gathering data on the ants as well as the bats.

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Vampire bats keep social networks in wild after captivity

Vampire bats keep social networks in wild after captivity

A group of researchers showed that vampire bats who made friends with other vampire bats in captivity often kept said bonds in the wild. The research was published this week, showing that a combination of extrinsic constraints and intrinsic partner fidelity caused lasting social structures between tested vampire bats. These lasting friendships were shown via such activities as grooming and food sharing.

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Study shows how a fly lands on a ceiling (with slo-mo video)

Study shows how a fly lands on a ceiling (with slo-mo video)

Today we're looking at how a fly lands upside-down - up on a ceiling - courtesy of a study published this week in the AAAS's Science Advances. Inverted landing is something a fly takes for granted - largely because, as it would appear in this study, most of this process takes place in a fraction of a second. The findings in this paper show an expanded understanding of the various biomechanical, sensory, and neural processes that take place when a fly attempts to land on a ceiling. This data could lead to fantastic future applications - let's take a look at why.

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This human-sized “monster” penguin is massively adorable

This human-sized “monster” penguin is massively adorable

A human-sized penguin, larger than any current species, has been identified from fossils, the latest discovery from an area gaining a reputation as being rich in previously-unknown remains. Over five feet in height, the Crossvallia waiparensis - dubbed the monster penguin - was once active in New Zealand, during the Paleocene Epoch.

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LEGO Treehouse’s plant bricks are all plant-based

LEGO Treehouse’s plant bricks are all plant-based

In the year 2018, LEGO started making SOME brings out of sustainable materials, like plant-based polyethylene. They've not exactly pointed out every single bring that's been made with this new material, as it's far more sensible to start in gradually - wouldn't want a mad rush on old LEGO bricks because they'll never exist again, would we? Now, here in 2019, a new LEGO Treehouse set (from LEGO Ideas) will appear with "all 185 plants and leaves" made of "sustainable materials sourced from sugarcane."

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Glowing pocket shark is entirely new to science

Glowing pocket shark is entirely new to science

One of two pocket sharks ever discovered was part of a study published this week in Zootaxa. This monster's pectoral fins sit just below two pockets, both containing glands that produce bioluminescent liquid. We call it a monster only because it has the name "shark" attached. In reality, this animal's full size is around that of an adult human hand.

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Vegetarian crocodile ancestors give researchers a surprise

Vegetarian crocodile ancestors give researchers a surprise

Today's crocodiles and alligators may be voracious carnivores, but their early relatives had a vegetarian diet, surprising new research has revealed. While it's hard to imagine a modern-day croc opting for the foliage in a Florida garden, rather than eyeing the pets that live there, studies of fossilized crocodyliform teeth suggest that wasn't always the case.

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Giant squid again caught on camera after 7 year hunt

Giant squid again caught on camera after 7 year hunt

The mysterious giant squid has been caught on camera again, seven years after a US team first spotted the striking deep sea creature. The elusive squid, or Architeuthis, is believed to potentially grow to up to 43 feet in length, making it one of the largest living organisms. However it's also proved incredibly difficult to film.

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Tiger sharks eat migratory land birds: A study

Tiger sharks eat migratory land birds: A study

Along the Mississippi-Alabama coast here in the United States, tiger sharks can be found. This shark is second only to the Great White Shark in recorded attacks on humans that've turned fatal. It would also seem that these sharks eat songbirds. It would seem that tiger sharks eat songbirds in significant numbers.

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Rainbow mineral towers found under trash at ocean’s floor

Rainbow mineral towers found under trash at ocean’s floor

In the Gulf of California, Mexico, a team of researchers dove deep and found a series of venting mineral towers. These towers were up to 10 meters across, 23 meters tall, and were "teeming with biodiversity and potentially novel fauna." And they were colorful - so very colorful. The most shocking part about this situation is the fact that these same spots were visited a decade ago and none of what we see here was there - it's all new!

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Pumpkin toadlets bones revealed to glow in patterns

Pumpkin toadlets bones revealed to glow in patterns

Two species of tiny pumpkin toadlets were the subject of a research project published today, them and their glowing bones. This isn't the first time these little babies (Brachycephalus ephippium and B. pitanga) were discovered - they've been known since the year 1824 when they were first classified by the German biologist Johann Baptist von Spix. Today we got some insight into the reasons for this endangered species' strangest feature - internal florescence!

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Scientists have allowed bees to talk with fish

Scientists have allowed bees to talk with fish

Researchers have created a robotic link between bees and fish, allowing them to communicate with one another. If there were ever a moment in time in which I felt the Jurassic Park character Ian Malcolm were more appropriate to quote, I now throw that time aside. "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could," said Malcolm, "they didn’t stop to think if they should."

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