Nature

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One of the main genetic mutations responsible for small size in certain dog breeds, such as Pomeranians and Chihuahuas, evolved in dog relatives long before humans began breeding these miniature companions. Researchers discovered that the mutation can even be traced back to wolves that lived more than 50,000 years ago. Researchers discovered the mutation, which is found in the
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The volcanic eruption in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga peaked on January 15 with more explosive force than 100 simultaneous Hiroshima bombs, NASA scientists reported on Monday 24 January. Using a combination of satellite and surface-based surveys, researchers calculated the explosive power of the volcano based on the amount of rock that was removed during the blast from the island
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Sardines scatter wildly as a smooth penguin head zooms through their tight swirling mass within blue-green waters of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s footage. One of those silver sardines becomes the penguin’s dinner on the second swoop through. Taken in the Beagle Channel off Isla Martillo, Argentina, the penguin bodycam footage helped clarify the bird’s feeding
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A mesmerizing new video shows a “once-in-a-lifetime encounter” with a bizarre, bright red octopus swimming above the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Australia.  The encounter, first reported by local Australian news website Bundaberg Now, was a rare sighting of a blanket octopus, named after the blanket-like fleshy cape between its arms. Jacinta Shackleton, a marine biologist and reef guide, filmed and photographed
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Scientists in China say they have found the oldest flower bud in the fossil record, finally aligning the fossil evidence with the genetic data suggesting flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved tens of millions of years earlier than we initially thought. The team hopes their discovery will help “ease the pain” around a nagging, centuries-old mystery that Charles
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Wherever there is sand and an atmosphere, prevailing winds may whip the grains into undulating shapes, pleasing to the eye with their calming repetition. Certain sand waves, with wavelengths between 30 centimeters (almost 12 inches) and several meters (around 30 feet), are known as megaripples: they’re between ordinary beach ripples and full dunes in size,
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The leader of Turkmenistan would like to finally close the “Gates of Hell” that have burned continuously in the nation’s Karakum desert for five decades, according to recent televised remarks. In a January 8 appearance on Turkmenistan’s state TV channel, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov urged officials to “find a solution to extinguish the fire”, citing concerns
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For most of life on Earth, oxygen is essential, and sunlight is usually needed to produce that oxygen. But in an exciting twist, researchers have caught a common, ocean-dwelling microbe breaking all the rules. Scientists have found that a microbe called Nitrosopumilus maritimus and several of its cousins, called ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA), are able to survive
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The air around us carries detectable traces of animals living in our midst, scientists have found, and the discovery stands to revolutionize the way researchers monitor and track populations of vulnerable or endangered species. In two new studies conducted by separate teams of scientists, researchers discovered that environmental DNA (eDNA) shed by living creatures can
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Bacterial colonies can organize themselves into complex ring-like patterns which have an “intriguing similarity” to developing embryos and were thought to be unique to plants and animals, new research suggests. Bacterial cells band together in clumps to form tightly packed colonies called biofilms that have a growing reputation for acting strangely like multicellular organisms. These
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An evolutionary battle between fungi and bacteria on hedgehogs’ skin gave rise to a type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria long before humans started using the antibiotics that were thought to lead to such superbugs, a new study reveals. Researchers traced some lineages of the superbug MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, to a parasitic fungus found on
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Our planet’s convoluted history of evolving life has spawned countless weird and wonderful creatures, but none excite evolutionary biologists – or divide taxonomists – quite like crabs. When researchers attempted to reconcile the evolutionary history of crabs in all their raucous glory just earlier this year, they arrived at the conclusion that the defining features