(127) results in Blog

Footfalls of large mammals, propagating along the surface of the earth as Rayleigh waves, are measurable in the ground at varying distances depending on the energy of the signal.  ©O’Connell-Rodwell, C.E. (2007). Keeping an "ear" to the ground: Seismic communication in elephants. Physiology, 22(4), 287-294.

November 4, 2015

Shake and quiver: Vibrational communication in animals

Living underground, moles experience a world very different from our own. The dark, subterranean environment lacks the usual cues for direction, distance, or time, forcing moles to use other methods to perceive their habitat. Using senses...


October 30, 2015

The scare factor and human survival: The science behind physical signs of terror

A bloodcurdling scream. Eyes wide. Mouth agape. Hands raised. Muscles tensed. Breathing accelerated. These classic signs of terror are not just box-office boosters for Hollywood horror flicks. Rather, they are part of the universal human survival toolkit....

Artist's rendition of a primitive ocean on Mars.

October 19, 2015

Water, Water, Everywhere

We’ve long known that water was present in the atmosphere of Venus and that frozen water is trapped in the polar ice caps visible on Mars. However, it seems that there have been a slew of...

©Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum, UK

October 8, 2015

Discovery of Homo naledi demonstrates need to revise the Homo genus

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents, originally posted at The Human Evolution Blog. 2015 has been a very exciting year for Paleoanthropology. No doubt the pinnacle was the discovery of a brand-new hominin species: Homo naledi, a bombastic...

An enhanced color image of recurring slope lineae (RSL) on Mars.

©NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

September 28, 2015

Water on Mars: Astrobiology Implications Must be Taken with a Grain of Salt

What do Mars, Antarctica, and the Jordan Rift Valley between Jordan, Israel, and Palestine have in common? A lot according to a new study to be published today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The answer is saltwater. Since...

The greater sage grouse. (Credit: BLM via Flickr)

September 25, 2015

The science behind sage grouse conservation

The greater sage grouse. (Credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr) On Sept. 22, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared that the greater sage grouse — a chicken-sized bird that inhabits the open ranges of...

A lotus flower. © Peripitus

August 24, 2015

A self-cleaning leaf: the superhydrophobic Lotus

It might sound like an ad for a new product – the leaf that cleans itself!, waterproof!, 100% organic! – but the lotus plant (genus Nelumbo) really does have self-cleaning leaves.  Or, more accurately, the lotus has...

© Robert Young

August 18, 2015

The birth of a cultural meme: the “do not disturb” gesture in Mandrills

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan H. Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog. Mandrills are, literally, one of the most colorful creatures on earth and certainly the most colorful primates. Their striking faces are matched...

The beautiful Luna moth (Actias luna) of North America.  Image from the National Park Service.

July 27, 2015

A deadly passion: moths and their attraction to artificial light

Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion …. ~Helen Hunt Jackson It’s a common saying – “like a moth to a flame” – which implies a strong, perhaps even dangerous attraction to...

Discarded cigarette butts, the most common environmental waste product, attract egg-laying mosquitoes. (Wikimedia Commons)

June 28, 2015

Cigarettes kick butt in mosquito control

What happens to the 6 trillion cigarettes smoked around the world every year? About two-thirds of them end up tossed into the environment. Besides being non-biodegradable, smoked cigarette butts contain 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69...