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Tag archives for evolution

Why Skunks Evolved Their Smelly Spray

Skunk spray is so potent that it can knock you out or even kill you—and now we know why the North American mammals evolved the noxious stuff.

March 9, 2014: Racing the Iditarod With Twins, Time Traveling to a Black Hole and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week they ride 1,000 miles across Alaskan wilderness with a pack of dogs, hike quickly down the Appalachian Trail, lower scientists into sinkholes on tepuis, program robots to do household chores but not enslave the human race, break free of time on the edge of a black hole, be persecuted for our science, grow organic underwear, and explain evolution to children.

Animal Without a Brain Can “Sneeze,” Surprising Study Shows

They don’t exactly say achoo, but sponges can “sneeze,” according to a new study.

Video: Why Do Prairie Dogs Do “The Wave”?

The burrowing rodents mimic each others’ jumps and yips to ensure everyone in the colony is alert and working together, a new study says.

How “Walking” Fish Made the Leap From Ocean to Land

The Pacific leaping blenny went from swimmer to landlubber by evolving camouflage to blend into surrounding rocks, a new study says.

A New Species of Wild Cat Found Prowling Brazilian Forests and Grasslands

Hiding in plain sight, researchers have discovered that a wild cat called the tigrina is actually two separate species.

Could Mockingjays From “The Hunger Games” Exist One Day?

Besides fire, the overwhelming symbol of this weekend’s blockbuster movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is of a steel-colored, mohawked bird with a pointed, hummingbird-like bill who trills melodiously. Mockingjays are described as a cross between mockingbirds and “jabberjays,” a species developed by the Panem government to imitate human speech and spy on the rebels.…

First Peek Into Cave System Holding New Hominid Fossils

As the camp gets set up, the caver/scientists get geared up, and I get psyched up, seeing hints of early hominids in the everyday things we do.

Male Lizards Less Attracted to “Bearded Ladies”

When it comes to choosing a mate, male lizards tend to go for more “feminine” females without blue necks, a new study says.

New Species of Spiny Rat Found in Indonesia

Researchers discover this newest member of the rodent family, sporting spiky brown fur and a stubby tail, on the Maluku islands of Indonesia.

A Colorful View of Incredibly Sticky Feet

National Geographic grantee Travis Hagey reveals the secrets of geckos’ super-powers, and opens wide the doors of worldwide gecko diversity.

Masters of Deception: 5 Two-Faced Species

A spider with a happy face on its back, an orchid that looks like a monkey, and a bug with a peanut head are among nature’s tricksters.

Frog Hears With Its Mouth, Surprises Scientists

A tiny island frog makes do without an inner ear by using its mouth—a new hearing strategy not known before in nature, scientists say.

August 25, 2013: Running Ultramarathons at 18,000 Feet, Meeting Captive Killer Whales, and More

This week, join us as we run a 137-mile race 18,000 feet above sea level, then we meet beach-dwelling wolves that fish for salmon like bears (and occasionally harass humans), and finally, we learn about the SeaWorld orca who has been connected with three human deaths to appreciate how hard the large, social mammals are to maintain in captivity.

August 11, 2013: Holding our Breath in Underwater Caves, Biking Across Kyrgyzstan Mountains, and More

Join us this week, as we explore the labyrinth of underwater caves deep under Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for clues of its Mayan past, cycle solo through Central Asian mountain passes to climb remote peaks, and debunk American historical myths from the Wild West to the Surfin’ Safari.