Many sabertooths have stalked this world. The first sabertoothed mammals appeared over 50 million years ago. The last sabercats, such as Smilodon and Homotherium, went extinct only 10.000 years ago.
Most cells would shrivel to death in a salt lake. But not the Halobacteria . These microbes thrive in brine, painting waters a gentle pink or crimson red wherever they bloom.
Gaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world. Every ray of light that you perceive was caught by an opsin first.
Sometimes all you have to do to make me buy your book, is think of a good title. Survival of the Beautiful by David Rothenberg definitely did the trick.
Somewhere deep in my grandmother’s veins, a blood clot breaks free. Her blood carries the clot past her heart, to her lungs, where it becomes stuck in a pulmonary artery.
Today, the Scientific American blogging network celebrates its very first birthday. It has been a tremendous ride so far, and I would really like to thank you for reading along so far, but there's one little question I wanted to get out of the way first: Who are you?
The Caribbean hermit crabs in Anna-Sara Krång’s laboratory are no picky eaters. They are eager to gobble down any fruit, nuts, fish or coconut flakes that comes their way.
Evolution has a knack for confronting us with strange and unexpected questions. One of them echoed through the halls of the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland, not too long ago: "Why does a fish need a sacrum!?"Lauren Sallan was peering through her microscope, studying a fossil specimen of Tarrasius , when she noticed something odd.
Animals were wilder then. Horns were longer, temperaments fiercer. These wild things had forever been free when humans took control of their flocks and herds, 10.000 years ago.
"Have you ever read Ulysses?"The question catches me off guard. I am interviewing Michael Russell, a geochemist working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Few animals travel so far to have sex as the European eel. When autumn comes, these eels leave their lakes and rivers and embark on an arduous journey towards the Sargasso sea.
Few fish would survive a swim in Antartica's ice-covered waters. Temperatures can drop to -1.9 ℃, whereas a typical fish starts to freeze at -0.8 ℃.
"But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity etcetera present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes [..] "~Charles Darwin, in a letter to Joseph Hooker (1871) All life on earth is related.
These are good times to have tentacles. Thanks to the internet, even the most ordinary of octopuses can be catapulted to worldwide fame. Exceptional skills or abilities are not required.
It was supposed to be extinct. Yet here it lay, with fins round and fleshy, scales as hard as bone and a tail unlike any living fish. "Lass, this discovery will be on the lips of every scientist in the world", James Smith said to Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, curator of the East London Museum.
Specks. Stripes. Red fur. Black fur. Eye masks. Bald spots. Beards. Moustaches. New World monkeys are nature's motley crew. Their faces display an extraordinary range of colours and patterns.
Happy belated new year everyone! 2011 was a wonderful year for me. Not only did my blog move to its shiny new abode at Scientific American, I also joined the science desk of NRC Handelsblad, a daily Dutch newspaper.
Like most evolutionary tales, this one could have started on the Galapagos Islands. Instead we find ourselves in an ancient sea, near the end of the Devonian, 360 million years ago.
Remember the dancing Yeti Crabs? They're back! Check out this amazing illustration of two farming Yeti Crabs by Irene Goede: So white, so hairy.. I want to pet them!Irene is a freelance illustrator who has specialized in nature and history.
Isolation can be a blessing. I am most productive when I'm not connected to the web. If I'm writing in a train or plane, severed from the thoughts of others, it is easier to capture my own trails of thought and let them expand.