Scientists have long thought of the Cambrian Explosion 541 million years ago as the flowering of complex life on Earth. Strangely shaped, large soft-bodied organisms were known to have lived in the period just prior — the Ediacaran — but they made few hard parts and scientists have debated whether any or how many were [...]..
A few weeks ago, I came across a new paper in BioScience called "Natural History's Place in Science and Society" that contained the following graph.
Growing up, I felt certain that grass and most trees did not have flowers. They just had leaves and seeds — that was all I could see, anyway.
Among divers and marine biologists, it’s common knowledge that ocean fish lead double lives. Like birds and butterflies, their young often look nothing like the adults, but unlike birds and butterflies, it is the young that are often more beautiful and ornate than their parents...
In 2012 I wrote a story for Nature about a strange illness called Kawasaki Disease whose cause has eluded scientists for over 50 years. The diseases causes inflammation of the blood vessels in small children that leads to fever, rashes and reddening, and even coronary aneurysms that can cause heart attacks in the young...
Today is the birthday of one of my science heroes: Carl Linnaeus. Born on May 23, 1707, the Swede turned natural history from a hobby into a science with his masterful systemization and documentation of what had until then been haphazard classification of plants, animals and fungi...
Perhaps you’ve heard of — or even read — the children’s book “Everyone Poops“. This illustrative tome explains that because everyone eats, everyone poops...
Scientists knew neochrome was odd before they started rooting around in its family tree. A union of independent proteins — red-sensing phytochrome and blue-sensing phototropin — the super-protein combines two already-great pieces into one fantastic whole that helps plants grow toward dim, filtered light...
As I reported in a feature story in Scientific American last December , some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink...
African tsetse flies are not pleasant to encounter. Slightly larger than a horse-fly and very aggressive, they fly headlong toward their target at high speed, bounce off, and then search around for a suitable spot to tap it...
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