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Wonderful Things: The Amazing Mimicry of the Mummy Berry Fungus

Author's note: This is the latest post in the Wonderful Things series. You can read more about this series here. There is a fungus on our planet which is capable of not one, but two audacious and duplicitous acts: it pretends, on separate occasions, to be both to be a flower and a pollen grain, [...]..

April 3, 2015 — Jennifer Frazer
Tube Worm Thoughts

Tube Worm Thoughts

On the heels of science art about how “we all eat the sun,” I was thinking about the few exceptions to that rule. As my high school biology teacher would often say, “Always and never are never true in biology!” But when the ecosystems surrounding hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean were discovered [...]..

April 3, 2015 — Katie McKissick

Steven Pinker, John Gray and the End of War

Fisticuffs have broken out in The Guardian between two intellectual big shots, philosopher John Gray and psychologist Steven Pinker. The fight, which features lots of rhetorical flourishes and high dudgeon, addresses a serious issue: Is humanity achieving moral progress?...

April 1, 2015 — John Horgan

How Zoos Acquire Endangered Species

How do you transport two young orangutans to a zoo thousands of kilometers away from their native lands? Here's the simple answer: FedEx. Here's the less simple answer: It's a lot of work...

March 30, 2015 — John R. Platt

The Grand Texture of Planets

              In an idle moment, while staring at a set of solar system data, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to display a set of planetary surfaces on an equal footing, where the overall texture of these worlds was visible (although topography is probably a more [...]..

March 30, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Sunday Species Snapshot: Swift Parrot

Sunday Species Snapshot: Swift Parrot

The beautiful bird known as the swift parrot may be on the fast track to extinction. Species name: Swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) Description: A small bird, just 25 centimeters long, with bright features and a particularly showy attitude...

March 29, 2015 — John R. Platt

Ferns Get It On After 60 Million Years Apart

An unassuming little fern has left scientists scratching their heads at the feat of reproductive hijinks it apparently represents. The fern, xCystocarpium roskamianum(the prefix ‘x’ indicates it is a hybrid), collected in the French Pyrenees, appeared to be a blend of two ferns they know well...

March 27, 2015 — Jennifer Frazer
New Issue of the Journal Cell is All About Food

New Issue of the Journal Cell is All About Food

I suspect that the Venn diagram of Food Matters readers and readers of the journal Cell doesn’t contain a lot in the overlap portion, but this week, that should probably change. Cell is one of the big three in biology science publishing (the other two being Nature and Science), and usually contains predominantly wonky, jargon-laden cutting-edge research on [...]..

March 26, 2015 — Kevin Bonham

A Fine First Finding of Darevskia

While in Romania back in 2011, I photographed the lizard you see here. It's clearly a lacertid: a member of the Eurasian-African group that contains the familiar Lacerta sand lizards and green lizards as well as many other groups...

March 25, 2015 — Darren Naish

Ahoy! Thar Be a New Seadragon in the Briny Deep

As fabulous, fantastical gems of evolution go, seadragons are hard to beat. The weedy seadgragon: “Weedy seadragon-Phyllopteryx taeniolatus” by Sylke Rohrlach –

March 24, 2015 — Jennifer Frazer

The Science of TED 2015

What I love about the annual TED gathering in Vancouver is the way science coexists along with art, social justice, popular song and the rest of TED's eclectic mix.

March 23, 2015 — Fred Guterl
You Never Hear Much About Shrew-Opossums

You Never Hear Much About Shrew-Opossums

You never really hear much about shrew-opossums or rat-opossums, the small group of living, South American marsupials properly called caenolestids or caenolestoids.

March 22, 2015 — Darren Naish

With 6 Left, Controversial Fish Species Faces Extinction

Are we about to witness the extinction of the controversial delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus)? The most recent survey for the tiny fish, over which decades of battles over water rights have been fought, counted just four females and two males...

March 19, 2015 — John R. Platt
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