This Is Why Some Bats Have Hairy Tongues

Nectar-drinking bats possess hairy tongues, and now scientists reveal these hairs are designed to maximize how much sweet nectar the bats can guzzle. The South American Pallas’ long-tongued bat, Glossophaga soricina, dips its long tongue in and out of flowers while hovering in mid-air, and the hairs on its tongue apparently helping it collect nectar […]

Did The Dino-Killing Asteroid Trigger Global Volcanoes?

Earth’s worst day happened 66.043 million years ago — give or take 32,000 years. Let’s say it was a Monday. And if it was, then around Friday afternoon a strange new star would’ve begun growing brighter and brighter in the sky. Tragically, it wasn’t a cool new star at all. It was a Mount Everest-sized […]

Your Weekly Attenborough: Sitana attenboroughii

It’s a lizard! It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Sitana attenboroughii, Attenborough’s fan-throated lizard to the world. Measuring somewhere under three inches from snout to vent, the lizard is a welcome addition to the Agamidae family, and bears the “Attenborough” distinction proudly. In lieu of gifts, we are instead asking that you simply be nice to […]

We May Have Found Billions Of Exoplanets Outside Our Galaxy

Discoveries of exoplanets in our galaxy exceed 3,700 to date, but if that’s not enough for you, astronomers are now probing outside of the Milky Way to find exoplanets in other galaxies. A group of researchers at the University of Oklahoma has just announced the discovery of a large population of free-floating planets in a […]

Was the Toba Eruption Not the Volcanic Catastrophe We Thought It Was?

The largest eruption in the past million years was at Toba in Indonesia. How big was it? It erupted over 3000 cubic kilometers of volcanic debris. 3000 cubic kilometers! That would pave the entirety of Rhode Island in a kilometer keep of ash, rocks, and pumice. It would take roughly 300 Pinatubo-scale eruptions to match that. […]

When Hummingbirds Visit, This Flower Pops Open like a Jack-in-the-Box

Most plants are sneaky. You think they’re staying put, until one morning when you wake up to find your houseplant bent toward the window, or a vine that’s clambered up your fence. But other plants operate more quickly. They close up their leaves at a touch, or fling their pollen onto a bee. Researchers discovered a previously unknown bit of […]

Hostile Questions at Scientific Meetings

A brief letter in Nature got me thinking this week: Don’t belittle junior researchers in meetings Anand Kumar Sharma writes to urge scientists not to grill their junior colleagues at conferences: The most interesting part of a scientific seminar, colloquium or conference for me is the question and answer session. However, I find it upsetting […]

Another Reason To Save Snakes: They Disperse Seeds (Probably)

We’re about a month away from the 60th annual rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater Texas. The event proudly calls itself the world’s largest—and for good reason. Last year, nearly 8,000 lbs of snakes were killed in this barbaric slaughterfest. But there are so many reasons why this all-out assault on Texas’ reptiles is a terrible idea. Rattlesnakes have complex […]

Strange Aerial Phenomenon over Ocala, Florida – Richmond, VA – Alberta CA

A rare phenomenon appeared in the sky over Spondin in Alberta, Canada where the daughter of the owner of the TK Ranch snapped an image of an amazing sun rise on February 7, 2018. Credit image: TK Ranch, Spondin, Alberta. Other strange sky phenomena were spotted over Ocala, Florida and Richmond, Virginia but don’t worry, […]

Flashback Friday: How Much Cocaine Is in Your Wallet?

Image: Flickr/Tax Credits Urban legend has it that “all” of our paper currency is tainted with cocaine. These scientists decided to test whether this is true, and if so, how much of the drug is there. By testing over four thousand bills of various denominations gathered from 90 locations over more than a decade, they estimate that […]