Something strange is happening to the oceans. As coral reefs wither and fisheries collapse, octopuses are multiplying like mad. As soon as they perceive weakness, they will amass an army and invade the land, too.
The world is getting greener. A global analysis of satellite data finds that an area two times the size of the continental US has gone from brown to green over the past thirty years. Human carbon emissions are doing a hell of a job fertilizing the planet—but we probably shouldn’t celebrate.
The monsters in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones are magically badass. But are dragons, direwolves, and lizard-lions scientifically plausible on some level? Today we’re going to try to answer that question—with the help of some expert biologists.
Droughts are hitting us harder, and they’re only going to keep on coming. But how do you know if your trees can make it through a severe drought? Now there’s a way to find out before the drought hits.
Trees, is there anything they can’t do? Doubtful. Let’s see: producing half the world’s oxygen, providing habitat for millions of species, creating the soil and timber resources we depend on. Not bad. But all that’s just scratching the surface. As new research shows, there’s a lot more going on beneath the forest…
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most celebrated ecosystems on Earth—and it’s dying. Months of extreme heat have turned thousands of miles of pristine habitat into an endless watery graveyard. This year’s coral bleaching event comes as a warning. If we don’t bring carbon emissions down fast, the Great Barrier Reef…
If we want to know what sorts of creatures will survive the next mass extinction, the best place to look is the fossil record. After examining the bones of Lystrosaurus, a vertebrate that famously thrived during the worst apocalypse in the history of life on Earth, a team of paleontologists think they know how it…
If scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, you might want to book tickets soon. This week, marine biologists dropped some horribly depressing news: the Great Barrier Reef is dying. The world’s largest reef is in the midst of a widespread coral bleaching event, and scientists aren’t sure whether…
Prairie dogs: fuzzy little socialites that live in elaborate burrows and chow down on grass all day, right? Seem like nice neighbors? Hate to shatter the illusion, but I’ve got some knowledge to share. Prairie dogs are cold-blooded killers. And if you’re a ground squirrel, you’re advised to move out of town…
Storks used to be majestic creatures, but now, they are trash birds. That is the conclusion of ornithologists at the University of East Anglia, who have confirmed that white storks are abandoning their normal migratory pattern in droves, instead choosing to nest at landfills and eat our garbage year round.
A hundred million years ago, ichthyosaurs—massive marine reptiles that look like a dolphin mated with a fish—ruled Earth’s oceans. But nearly 30 million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs, these badass predators vanished. It wasn’t an asteroid that killed the ichthyosaurs, so what did?
Big carnivores are scary, both to humans and the animals they prey upon. But as a new study demonstrates, the fear that these predators instill among their prey can have a positive influence on ecological health and biodiversity, a finding with important implications for conservation.
Every day, troves of hungry marine organisms—shrimp, jellyfish, squid and bony fish—migrate from the ocean’s murky depths to the surface. For the first time, marine biologists have captured the sound of their collective lunch outing. May it be the sonic backdrop to all of your future, jellyfish-induced nightmares.
I bet you’ve never thought about how giant clams will revolutionize future technology. It’s okay. You probably didn’t know about the incredible way these massive mollusks turn sunlight into power.
Most of us have a vague, abstract concept of life beneath the sea. But a few men and women are dedicated to brining the secrets of the deep into the light of day. And as the 2015 Ocean Art photography contest shows, they’re doing a spectacular job of it.
Environmental change is big news these days, as is speculation on how that change will reorder, and possibly reshape, the world powers. It has happened before: one of the great powers of medieval Europe collapsed when the environment changed around it.
In 2005, an intense heatwave struck a mountaintop rainforest in northeast Australia. Accounts of the event were rather apocalyptic: birds dropping dead out of the sky; entire patches of forest withering to a crisp. But the biggest casualty of all was a snow-white furball that scampered amongst the branches at the…
A very particular shade of blue hair has evolved independently on eight separate occasions and in at least three different ways in tarantulas, a new study finds. And scientists are having a hell of a time figuring out why.
Walking into a spiderweb just got creepy. Those sticky strands clinging to your hair and face? They’re smeared with traces of the spider’s last meal, according to a fascinating new analysis of spiderweb DNA.
Vampire bats are the only vertebrates that feed on the blood of other mammals. But the ability to do so may be buried across the tree of life, according to a new study which pinpoints the underlying genetic origins of traits that make a good vampire.