It’s a strange but true fact that the young of many familiar sea creatures look nothing like them. Drifting on currents to distribute their kind, they are an unsung part of the plankton, itself an unsung part of the sea.
When HIV jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime in the early 1900′s, it crossed a gulf spanning several million years of evolution.
This past year, I made a pilgrimage that every natural history lover should, if possible, make. I visited the Natural History Museum in London, the house that Richard Owen built, the home of the first dinosaur bones ever discovered, the first Archaeopteryx fossil, and a first-edition copy of “On the Origin of Species”.
When you take a sip of red wine or black tea, you’re swallowing a stiff swig of tannins. These astringent plant chemicals give the beverages their characteristic pucker.
This is the sixth post in the “Wonderful Things” series. The next time you feel like a fish out of water, think of the Pacific leaping blenny.
The bacteria that cause syphilis and Lyme Disease have something extraordinary in common: they manage to propel themselves through their environment in spite of the fact their tails are located inside their bodies.
I have just a quick update today as I’m working on a long blog post for this weekend. Last week I gave an interview for the Southern California Public Radio show “Take Two” on my feature story in this month’s issue of Scientific American on the outbreak of the yeast Cryptococcus gattii among people living [...]
This is the fifth post in the Wonderful Things series. This creature is not an insect, nor something you need to worry about exploding from your chest.
Last year, a hard year by monarch butterfly migration standards, 60 million monarchs showed up at their misty wintering grounds in Mexico. This year, so far, a mere 3 million have straggled in — and late, too, according to a disturbing must-read piece (“The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear”) published last Friday in the New [...]
Healthy humans are strangely impervious to fatal fungi. It usually takes something like a shot in the spine with a contaminated drug to give fungi the necessary upper hand.
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