A teacher and her audience at Acadia National Park, Maine. ©NPS

January 25, 2016

A natural beauty: American geoheritage

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) recently announced that the 2016 Earth Science Week theme is “Our Shared Geoheritage.” A somewhat new term for American ears, geoheritage is defined as … the collection of natural wonders, landforms,...


January 19, 2016

“Virtual paleontology” provides insight into last common ancestor with Neanderthals

Cross-posted with the permission of Prof. Nathan H. Lents, originally posted at The Human Evolution Blog. While we are still discovering how and where the many branches of the hominin family tree explored the world, most evidence...


January 5, 2016

A bright future powered by clean energy: Three projects to watch in 2016

Industrial waste is converted to gasoline, drinking water powers a city, and ocean waves supply an electric grid – these are just some of the advances in green energy that made news in 2015. Let’s take a...


December 30, 2015

Selected Science of 2015

With 2015 coming to a close, here’s a selection (and by no means a complete list) of some of the significant science stories of the year:   Homo naledi expands the Homo genus As Prof. Nathan H. Lents wrote...

(Credit: Huzzar of http://www.everafterimages.com via Wikimedia Commons)

December 18, 2015

Video of the Week: How hummingbirds stay cool

Ever watched a hummingbird feast on a flower or a feeder? Their wings beat so fast — up to 50 times per second — you can barely see them. Just like when a person works out,...

People wanted more white meat in their Thanksgiving turkeys. (Wikimedia Commons)

November 25, 2015

Turkey science: What’s on your plate?

The 45 million turkeys that end up on the Thanksgiving table are nothing like their wild ancestors. In fact, they are very different from the typical Thanksgiving turkeys of even half a century ago, according to...

Ocean temperature patterns shift atmospheric circulation during El Niño events. (Credit: Climate.gov)

November 6, 2015

What’s so monstrous about “Godzilla El Niño”?

This week, an early season storm hit the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, burying them under feet of snow. The blizzard allowed one ski area, Mammoth Mountain, to open for business yesterday, ahead of schedule. And...

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...