It's no secret that compared to other animals, great apes are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of language development. The complex and varied call dialects chimpanzees exhibit, alongside the impressive sign language abilities of gorillas has shown us as much. But how close are they to developing a verbal language like ours? A new study of Koko the gorilla has found that great apes are closer than ever imagined.
Polar bears, it seems, haven't given up the good fight just yet. Researchers recently observed these animal diving for longer and further than ever before - a hint that the species might still be developing new adaptations to support their unusual lifestyle.
The kiwi bird is a flightless wonder, incredibly iconic and recognizable to even the most ignorant of bird watchers. Now, more than century after it was academically studied for the first time, scientists have successfully sequenced the animal's entire genome, and what they have found brings a whole new level of understanding for why they evolved as uniquely as they did.
It may sound utterly outrageous, but experts are now arguing that some very fat and blind cave fish may hold the key to understanding humanity's obesity problem. The same genes that apparently help these fish feast without constraint also happens to be one of the strongest genetic drivers for inherited obesity ever seen.
Conservationists and wildlife biologists alike are bound to be disappointed. A new study has determined that 'walking hibernation' - a fabled adaptation that could help some bear species survive in unwelcoming environments - just isn't possible for polar bears. As a result, there is even less faith that these critically endangered creatures will ever survive a warming world.
The bends... any deep-water diver can tell you that this unusual 'decompression sickness' is no joke. It can cause serious and immediate damage, but can also leave organs permanently marred, cutting short a diver's career if not their life. Interestingly this condition should affect all mammals, not just humans; so why don't dolphins seem to suffer from it? A new study has the answer.
Nature is full of unexpected pairings. Some are just interesting, like when long-billed birds clean the mouths of hippos. Others are clearly one sided, like in the case of jellyfish-surfing lobsters. However, the unusual attraction between pitcher plants and bats might just take the cake for most disgusting partnership in the natural world.
Arachnophobics beware: the deepest moat between you and your eight-legged nemeses will not keep you safe. Experts have recently determined that some species of spider can travel across water, using their bodies like sail-boats in order to reach new places where they can thrive and terrify.
Robots can apparently adapt like animals, new research finds, a trait that could provide tremendous benefits to society such as in search-and-rescue missions and putting out forest fires.
Climate change is forcing all sorts of species to change their ways, and now new research shows that when it comes to water fleas, they are using genetics to adapt to climate change.
Nature never ceases to amaze. You may have heard of some fish that miraculously can walk on land. However, have you ever heard of a fish that can climb walls? Cave-diving experts in Ecuador recently stumbled upon that very scene, recording the first scientific evidence ever that proves this amazing behavior is real.
Picture this: it's a beautiful spring day and the graceful fluttering of a butterfly catches your eye. The delicate insect alights on a nearby flower and, for a moment, it's wings remain unfurled. Suddenly you're face-to-face with a hideous monster, complete with 18 eyes and a crooked, segmented nose. For some time, this is what most people thought the strange "eye spot" patterning on some butterflies' wings were for. Now, however, researchers are arguing that they have a far better use than simply frightening gullible humans.
For the most part, evolution seems a lot like a lottery of mutations. The winners get to survive, reproduce, and eventually evolve. The losers disappear from all but the fossil record. Now new research has revealed that a small group of microbes and viruses are apparently cheating the system, systematically picking and choosing what mutates to help them live in some hostile environments.
You may have heard that regardless of what is causing climate change (be it natural, man-driven, or both) humanity must act now if there is any hope of preventing the problems that it will cause for society and the natural world alike in the future. However, some researchers are now making the argument that even adapting to our warming world will bring new and unconsidered problems.
Looks like camels are not the only animals that can save the water they drink throughout the day. New research has found that sheep, who understandably become overheated under their thick sweaters of wool, can save the water they would otherwise sweat out by literally cooling their brains.