Western spotted skunk is shown doing its characteristic hand-stand when spraying. (Image by Jerry W. Dragoo)

Ice Age climate change more important than geological barriers in spotted skunk evolution

The evolution of Western spotted skunks—tiny, maze-patterned carnivores with a unique hand-stand spraying technique—was influenced by climate change, not geological barriers, new research suggests. Spotted skunks can be found throughout western United States and Mexico, living in a variety of climates. Studying the evolution of skunks may seem arbitrary, but in fact, these small carnivores provide […]

Nearly 1 in 5 people with highest cardiac risk don’t think they need to improve their health

Awareness of your risk of heart problems isn’t sufficient for action, a new study found. Researchers analyzed 45,443 responses from participants of the 2011-12 Canadian Community Health Survey. The survey included questions on eight established risk factors for a heart attack: smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity […]

(Image via Pixabay/CC0)

A hormone in your liver might be to blame for your sweet tooth

A certain hormone secreted by the liver after consumption of sweet foods may be regulating our candy cravings, according to new research. Scientists first discovered the role of the hormone FGF21 in sweets consumption in rodents; their results later held up among primates, and now, humans. In this study, researchers collected self-reported dietary intake and […]

The view from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera research station, on Alexander Island at the Antarctic Peninsula. (Image by A. E. Hogg/CPOM)

Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than previously reported, according to satellite study

A recent assessment of glacier flow in Western Palmer Land on the Antarctic Peninsula reveals that sea-ice loss in the region isn’t as drastic as previously reported. Using five different satellites, researchers tracked changes in the speed of more than 30 glaciers over the past 25 years. Their findings provide evidence that Western Palmer Land […]


Newly discovered feathered dinosaur sheds light on the evolution of flight

A newly discovered troodontid species is the earliest example of a bird-like dinosaur with asymmetric feathers—a physical trait associated with the evolution of flight. The new species, named Jianianhualong tengi, was described from a nearly complete skeleton with preserved feathers. The fossil dates from the Early Cretaceous period— approximately 100-145 million years ago—and was found in north-eastern […]

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Burgess Shale fossil helps trace the evolution of the mandible

The mandibulates, who get their name from their distinctive jaws, make up the largest group of arthropods. But the evolutionary origin of their unique bodies has remained murky until a recent discovery at the Burgess Shale Formation in British Columbia. A Tokummia katalepsis fossil found in the 508-million-year-old Marble Canyon deposit possesses physical traits typical […]

The extracorporeal system for physiologic fetal support for a premature lamb fetus (Image by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Surviving outside the womb: how an artificial womb supported preemie lambs for a month

The development of premature lambs was supported in an external artificial womb environment for four weeks – the longest animal survival outside of the uterus recorded to date. Researchers have constructed an extra-uterine environment which comprises a polyethylene film bag with an oxygen circuit via an umbilical cord interface, which mimics the environment inside the […]

Fossil groundwater is still vulnerable to modern contaminants

Water that has been stored in the Earth’s crust for thousands of years can still be contaminated by modern chemicals, a new analysis suggests. Researchers analyzed groundwater from over 6,000 wells around the world, and concluded that old groundwater accounts for the majority of groundwater from wells deeper than 250 meters. But the team made […]

This photograph shows a toy xoloitzcuintlel, a dog breed that likely descended from dogs that crossed the Bering Land Bridge with Native Americans Ancestors.
Penny Inan

The most comprehensive evolutionary map of dog breeds

Researchers have assembled the most comprehensive map of dog breeds to date, using genetic sequences from 161 modern breeds. The largest evolutionary tree also reveals new information about the original purposes for breeding certain types of dogs; tells the story of the dogs that accompanied humans across the Bering land bridge; and the map could […]

Common murre parents share information about their condition and compensate when one is struggling. (Image by L. Takahashi)

How common murre parents signal to each other it’s their turn to babysit

Common murre pairs (also known as the common guillemot, and found in abundance off the coast of Newfoundland) have an equal share in parenting duties: whether it’s brooding the chick in the nest or foraging for fish, parents take turns doing their part. A new study sheds light on the significance of the so-called nest […]

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