nature

Climate change is creating shape-shifting animals

Climate change is creating shape-shifting animals

Climate change isn't just making some species extinct, but forcing others to "shape shift" in order to better handle rising global temperatures. While the vast majority of experts warn that, unless humans tackle factors like emissions and fossil fuel use, Earth's environment will be irreversibly altered, new research suggests the animal kingdom is turning to new physical characteristics in order to better deal with excess heat.

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Australia’s invasive cane toads show signs of cannibalism

Australia’s invasive cane toads show signs of cannibalism

Australia, you've done it again! A study published this month studied the behaviors of invasive populations of cane toads in Australia. These toads, it would seem, have evolved to target not only competition in other species, but in their own. Scientists have shown that these toads - in their tadpole stage - have evolved "both a strong behavioral attraction to the vulnerable hatchling stage and an increased propensity to cannibalize these younger conspecifics."

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Nerf Cat Catnip Disc Blaster could’ve been great

Nerf Cat Catnip Disc Blaster could’ve been great

Nerf made a blaster for catnip discs that could've been so much more spectacular than it turned out to be. It's made to be as basic as possible, delivering an experience to the user (and their cat) for approximately $15. Unfortunate for the user, the idea has far more potential than what's actually in the package.

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Research says some dogs may know you are lying

Research says some dogs may know you are lying

According to newly published research, dogs are sensitive to lies. More specifically, evidence was found that pet dogs have mechanisms underlying sensitivity to others' beliefs. It seems likely that dogs have what it takes to sense whether a person speaking with them is being deceptive, whether they believe what they are saying is true. Tests were run on a group of 260 dogs to see if they were able to distinguish between human true (TB) and false beliefs (FB).

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Russia’s mosquito tornado underscores climate change’s dramatic impact

Russia’s mosquito tornado underscores climate change’s dramatic impact

A newly published video shows a swarm of mosquitoes form into a literal cyclone of buzzing chaos as they terrorize a remote eastern Russian village. Though dramatic in its visual nature and beyond annoying, the mosquitoes weren't actually a danger to nearby people. Instead, the insects were worked up into a massive mating frenzy spurred, in part, by climate change.

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If not for this near-extinction mystery the oceans would be full of sharks

If not for this near-extinction mystery the oceans would be full of sharks

Were it not for a mysterious near mass-extinction event roughly 19 million years ago, the oceans could be filled with a whole lot more sharks than they are today. Those prone to galeophobica should probably look away, because a new study of deep sea shark tooth remains suggest populations could've been exponentially higher had the marine predators not faced a dinosaur-style wipeout.

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Galápagos Islands’ iconic Darwin’s Arch rock structure has collapsed

Galápagos Islands’ iconic Darwin’s Arch rock structure has collapsed

Darwin's Arch, an iconic rock formation in the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos Islands, has collapsed. The structure was notable for its jutting, squared pillars, and rounded tunnel-like entrance, making it a popular photography attraction and sightseeing destination for tourists. Officials believe the arch collapsed due to natural erosion.

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This nasty old skull, the oldest human genome, and a cow DNA mistake

This nasty old skull, the oldest human genome, and a cow DNA mistake

The skull you're looking at was in pieces when it was discovered. After a whole heck of a lot of work, the physical remnants were put together again for this photo. But it's the tiniest of pieces we care about today. It's the DNA this 45,000 year old skull provided that's placed it in the headlines this week.

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Real “Jurassic Park” is possible says Elon Musk’s Neuralink co-founder

Real “Jurassic Park” is possible says Elon Musk’s Neuralink co-founder

Elon Musk's Neuralink may be busy implanting brain chips in animals, but the co-founder of the brain-computer interface startup is also thinking of rather more outlandish experiments, including a real-life "Jurassic Park." Unlike the movie, the goal wouldn't be resurrecting ancient dino DNA, however, and fingers-crossed it also wouldn't involve loosed-lizard rampages.

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Three incredibly rare beetles named after Pokemon

Three incredibly rare beetles named after Pokemon

A research paper published this week described three newly-identified insects named according to their rarity. Courtesy of Pokemon-loving scientists, these three Australian beetles were given the names Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos. Each of these beetles is a species of the genus Binburrum Pollock, and each has a distinct look, allowing them to easily be matched to the three Legendary Pokemon.

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This adorable black-footed ferret is a rare cloning breakthrough

This adorable black-footed ferret is a rare cloning breakthrough

The first endangered US species to be successfully cloned, a black-footed ferret, could pave the way for at-risk animals to be brought back from the brink of extinction, scientists and conservationists hope as details of the breakthrough are shared this week. Elizabeth Ann may look like any other black-footed ferret, but the roughly two month old animal was actually created from frozen cells of an animal that lived three decades ago.

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Bluebot robots demo surreal “Blueswarm” like a school of fish

Bluebot robots demo surreal “Blueswarm” like a school of fish

A swarm robotic fish donned the cover of Science Robotics this week courtesy of researchers from Harvard University. Florian Berlinger, Melvin Gauchi, and Radhika Nagpal delivered a paper on "Implicit coordination for 3D underwater collective behaviors in a fish-inspired robot swarm." These little robots are very, very cute, too.

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