From micromonsters to mole rats: best of the animal world


Brainy ducklings, constipated pandas and sex-shifting lizards – they're all in this collection of favourites from 2016.


SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / GETTY IMAGES

Ten tiny but terrifying micro-monsters

Forget about the bogeyman in the cupboard or the monster under the bed. These creepy crawlies really might be in your house (or nearby, at least), so enjoy these coloured scanning electron micrograph portraits ... if you dare. Read More


DEAGOSTINI / GETTY IMAGES

Two new bizarre ‘barreleye’ fish pulled from the depths

Two new fish species, each featuring a bizarre organ that reflects differently coloured light from inside their bellies, were discovered by an international team of biologists. Read More


Daniel Hernanz Ramos / Getty Images

Sex-shifting dragons hatch a ‘third sex’

In most animals, sex is determined by chromosomes or environmental variables. But not sex-shifting super-dragons. A study on the central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), a desert-dwelling Australian lizard that grows up to 60 centimetres long, found they can morph into a "third sex" that is partially male and female. Read More


AUSCAPE / GETTY IMAGES

Why are crows so smart?

They can recognise faces, use tools – even drop nuts on a road for cars to crack (then pick them up with the safety of pedestrian lights). Birds in the corvid family – most famously, crows – are known for their intelligence. But why are they so smart? Read More


NOAA

‘Ghost octopus’ believed to be new species

The remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer, operated by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, came across what is believed to be a previously undiscovered species of octopus at more than 4,000 metres of water off the northeast of Necker Island in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Read More


Stephen Frink / Getty Images

Play hide and seek with these masters of camouflage

We may marvel at the brilliantly changing hues of an octopus and the subtleties of the stick insect, but camouflage in the animal world is millions of years old. Researchers from Ireland, the UK and Spain reported a 10-million-year-old fossilised snake preserved in such a way they could reconstruct different types of pigment cells. Read More


Photo Researchers / getty images

Why naked mole rats feel no pain

A naked mole rat can be drenched in acid and not feel a thing – and boils down to a subtle change in their pain receptors, a new study reveals. The bizarre naked mole rat lives underground in east African desert and is unique for a number of reasons: it can live up to 30 years, it’s cancer-resistant and it displays some of the most efficient oxygen use in the animal world. Read More


John W Banagan / Getty Images

Ducklings: not the bird brains you thought they were

There's no doubt ducklings are incredibly cute. But inside their adorable fuzzy head is a brain capable of recognising if a pair of objects are the same or different colour or shape without any training. Read More


JEFF J MITCHELL / GETTY IMAGES

Painful pooping may stop panda sex

Like some humans, giant pandas struggle with digestion due to changes in diet – an affliction that could be interrupting their reproduction, according to a new study. Read More


Westend61 / Getty Images

Demand for short-headed dogs drives health problems

An increased demand for dogs with short skulls is leading to an increase in number of pets with serious health issues, researchers in Sydney say. Read More


Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
  1. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/micro-monsters-up-close-and-personal
  2. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/two-new-bizarre-barreleye-fish-pulled-from-the-depths
  3. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/sex-changing-dragons-produce-a-third-sex
  4. https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/why-are-crows-so-smart
  5. https://cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/ghost-octopus-believed-be-new-species
  6. https://cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/play-hide-and-seek-these-masters-camouflage
  7. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/why-naked-mole-rats-feel-no-pain
  8. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/ducklings-aren-t-the-bird-brains-you-might-expect
  9. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/painful-pooping-may-stop-panda-sex
  10. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/demand-short-headed-dogs-drives-health-problems
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