When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems

Last week, a new study reported that the Antarctic’s second largest colony of emperor penguins continues to decline, after warming weather and high winds led to the loss of over 15,000 eggs in 2016. With reports like these becoming depressingly commonplace, environmental biologists are thinking of out-of-the-box solutions to fight the destruction of ecosystems around the world. One popular solution: Rewilding. Rewilding involves active and … Continue reading When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems

River Dolphins Have a Surprisingly Large Vocabulary

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is home to a dizzying array of life, from colorful poisonous frogs to deadly jaguars. One resident is the Araguaian river dolphin, which was only recently discovered by scientists in 2014. Unlike playful ocean dolphins, the Araguaian river dolphin is relatively solitary. Mother dolphins interact frequently with their baby calves, but rarely do adults interact with each other. Because of the river … Continue reading River Dolphins Have a Surprisingly Large Vocabulary

Predicting the Next Big Earthquake

by Franklin Wolfe figures by Abagail Burrus Over the past half-century, earthquakes have been the leading cause of death from natural disasters and have imposed dramatic cultural, economic, and political impacts on society. Compounding their inherent physical hazard is how they strike suddenly without obvious warning, and how they possess a ‘fatal attraction‘ for humans—most of the world’s largest cities lie in areas of major … Continue reading Predicting the Next Big Earthquake

Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines

In 2007, during an excavation on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, archeologist Armand Salvador Mijares discovered a 67,000-year-old foot bone that led scientists to rethink the history of human evolution.  The bone had features resembling hominins – a subfamily of primates comprised of modern Homo sapiens and others closely related human species.  The finding provided the earliest direct evidence of human presence in … Continue reading Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines

Fossil Fuel Companies Invest in Removing Carbon Dioxide Directly from Air

In the Canadian town of Squamish, there’s a small building with a massive fan on its purple roof. The fan is rapidly pulling outside air into the facility. The air enters the outdoors again, but it’s not quite the same. About 75% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) is gone. Run by the company Carbon Engineering (CE), the building is the pilot plant for their technology … Continue reading Fossil Fuel Companies Invest in Removing Carbon Dioxide Directly from Air

Speedy Plants for Improving Food Production Efficiency

By introducing a tool commonly used to study brain function into the leaves of plants, researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed a technique that shows promise in improving the efficiency of food production by controlling how quickly plants respond to changing conditions. Not only does this method produce a more desirable solution to improving efficiency than previous methods, it also highlights the importance of employing tools in non-conventional scenarios to produce clever solutions to complex problems. Continue reading Speedy Plants for Improving Food Production Efficiency

The Future of Solar is Bright

by Emily Kerr figures by Abagail Burrus The Sun emits enough power onto Earth each second to satisfy the entire human energy demand for over two hours. Given that it is readily available and renewable, solar power is an attractive source of energy. However, as of 2018, less than two percent of the world’s energy came from solar. Historically, solar energy harvesting has been expensive and … Continue reading The Future of Solar is Bright

Sea Otters Leave an Archaeological Record of Their Tool Use

Archaeologists learn about ancient humans by excavating and analyzing historical artifacts. While the use of tools was once thought to be a uniquely human trait, this is far from the case; many terrestrial animals, including chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and even vultures use stone tools to hunt and gather food. For aquatic animals, however, these behaviors have been difficult to observe in the wild. One exception … Continue reading Sea Otters Leave an Archaeological Record of Their Tool Use

Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

Dogs are “man’s best friend,” but how long have they been our four-legged companions? A recent study suggests that dogs and humans may have formed close relationships as early as 6,000 years ago — a relationship that involved humans feeding the dogs, but ended with the dogs being sacrificed. Canine remains from this era have been uncovered before, but this study adds 26 more specimens … Continue reading Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye.  Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You