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...

The_Scream

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.
©NASA/GSFC

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...

Bohr

October 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Niels Bohr

Today, October 7th, marks the 130th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth.  A pioneering physicist in the field of quantum theory, Bohr developed a theory of the atom where electrons traveled in specific orbits around the nucleus.  He...

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...

The Yeung family cat (or rather, an image of the family cat) is seen at about 70,000 feet above Earth's surface.  ©Winston Yeung

September 15, 2015

Image of the Week: Cat at the Edge of Space

The Yeung family cat (or rather, an image of the family cat) is seen at about 70,000 feet above Earth’s surface. ©Winston Yeung Two bright and determined young scientists, Kimberly and Rebecca Yeung, built a helium...