Topic: biology

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Firefly Experience: Lightning bugs light the Iowa woods

Walk the woods near Fairfield, Iowa as the fireflies come out to sparkle and glow at twilight. Photographer Radim Schreiber sees the sparkling forest as reflection of the stars in the Milky Way and has been filming t...

The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other

Trees secretly talk to each other underground. They're passing information and resources to and from each other through a network of mycorrhizal fungi—mykós means fungus and riza means root in Greek—a mat of long, thi...

It’s Okay to Fart: What are farts made of and why are they funny?

Farts can be giggle-worthy and gross, but every person on Earth farts, as well as lots of animals... so why don't we know more about them? Even people throughout history have wrestled with what farts are and how they ...

How is a nautilus different from a squid?

Nautiluses are amazing creatures. They've survived five mass extinctions and can learn and remember, as demonstrated in maze experiments. They're also cephalopods, but they do a lot of things differently from octopuse...

The Science of Hearing

The ability to recognize sounds and identify their location is possible thanks to the auditory system. That’s comprised of two main parts: the ear, and the brain. The ear’s task is to convert sound energy into neural ...

The Cephalopod Empire in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Bret Grasse lovingly calls the Cephalopod Operations division at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts the “cephalopod empire.” The lab houses roughly 2,000 to 3,000 cephalopods—likely th...

You’d Never Guess What an Acorn Woodpecker Eats – Deep Look

Acorn Woodpeckers eat insects, delicious sap, oak flowers full of pollen... and yes, acorns. They stock up on these bitter but dependable nuts from coast live oaks and California black oaks, storing them in tree trunk...

How To Grow Coral

When visitors at Georgia Aquarium gaze upon the diverse array of colorful corals, [biologist Kim] Stone says many mistake the often stationary specimens for beautiful rocks. But corals are actually living animals—they...

Camels vs. Cactus: Eating a prickly pear cactus with 6-inch needles

There's something about the prickly pear cactus that these camels like. And they like it enough to brave the six-inch needles on the pads or cladodes. Watch them eat in this video from Camel and Friends, a YouTube cha...

An up-close look at tardigrades and their poop

It is surely the stuff of science fiction: An extraordinary being arrives on Earth that can withstand a tortuous array of conditions: boiling, freezing, tremendous atmospheric pressure, near total dehydration, and exp...

Plastics 101: What is plastic and how is it made?

Once a completely natural product, much of today's plastic is man-made and largely dependent upon fossil fuels. From polymers to nurdles, learn how plastic is created and what we can do to slow the lasting repercussio...

What causes constipation?

Visiting the bathroom is part of the daily human experience. But occasionally, constipation, a condition that causes a backup in your digestive system, strikes. In some especially uncomfortable cases, the food you eat...

What’s the difference between hibernation and sleep?

The Arctic Ground Squirrel hibernates by burrowing under the permafrost and slipping into a state of suspended animation. The female black bear can give birth while she hibernates. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur prepares ...

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In 2014, Ecovative Designs was working to combine mycelium with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial for packaging, and continue to expand their efforts. One example: A collaboration with Netherlands-bas...

Weedy sea dragons exchange eggs from female to male

Weedy sea dragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) are beautiful creatures who, like their seahorse relatives, transfer care of their developing young to the father until they mature. The actual exchange of weedy sea dragon...

A twisted squid, as seen by the NOAA Okeanos Explorer crew

This twisted squid was, at first, hard to identify because of its unusual, Nautilus-like folded pose, but the NOAA Okeanos Explorer expedition crew was able to get a better look from a different angle. The footage, ta...

Calaya gives birth to baby gorilla Moke at The National Zoo

"For the first time in nine years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute are celebrating the birth of a male western lowland gorilla. He was born at 6:25 p.m. April 15 and ...

The Mystery of the Upside-Down Catfish

Normally, an upside-down fish in your tank is bad news. As in, it’s time for a new goldfish. That’s because most fish have an internal air sac called a swim bladder that allows them to control their buoyancy and or...

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