5 remarkable reptile facts herpetologists want you to know

Today is Reptile Awareness Day! We reached out to our lizard-loving scientist friends to learn their favourite reptile facts to bring them to you to celebrate the day. 1. Big and venomous The Komodo dragon is venomous! And the extinct giant relative Megalania was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived. Brian Fry, University … Continue reading 5 remarkable reptile facts herpetologists want you to know

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Meat-eating sloths? Meat and three veg is the perfect meal for an extinct giant ground sloth – Mylodon darwinii – that lived 10,000 years ago. Researchers from the American Museum of Natural History analysed amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – found in preserved sloth hair and learnt that the sloths were probably … Continue reading You may have missed…

Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

Black summer bushfire research, a vaccine against a childhood virus and a science education program for Indigenous students are among the winners of the 2021 Eureka Prizes, announced Thursday night at a virtual ceremony. Presented annually by the Australian Museum since 1990, the Eureka Prizes recognise scientific excellence of both individuals and organisations. Seventeen prizes … Continue reading Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

Your Fat Bear Week 2021 Champion is here: Meet Otis

With a belly full of salmon and a body full of fat, Otis the bear claims the title of the fattest bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve, US. Fat Bear Week 2021 celebrates the hefty Ursidae who gorge themselves on salmon before hunkering down for winter hibernation. Meaty and undefeated, bodacious Otis beat 11 … Continue reading Your Fat Bear Week 2021 Champion is here: Meet Otis

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Elephants are friends until there isn’t enough food Elephants are great cooperators until there isn’t enough food, suggests a study published in PLOS Biology. The researchers, led by Li-Li Li at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave the elephants food challenges to see whether or not they worked together. When there were enough trays of food, … Continue reading You may have missed…

Bushfires push native bees to the brink

The Black Summer bushfires may have been more devastating to Aussie bees than previously thought, new research indicates. Among hundreds of native bee species investigated in the study, led by Flinders University, researchers believe that the number of threatened species has increased by almost a factor of five. Nine species were assessed as vulnerable and … Continue reading Bushfires push native bees to the brink

Fat Bear Week is here and it’s full of chunky Ursidae

On the northern Alaskan Peninsula, thousands of brown bears have busily spent the last few weeks gorging themselves on salmon to fatten up and survive the winter. Unbeknown to them, the entire world is watching with a burning question – who will be crowned the Fat Bear Week Champion 2021? Over the next seven days, … Continue reading Fat Bear Week is here and it’s full of chunky Ursidae

Shadowy world of nocturnal moth pollinators

Most flowering plants need animals to facilitate pollination and, globally, most studies have focused on daytime insect – honeybees are the best known – and bird pollinators. Other critters playing a hand include bats, butterflies, beetles, flies and small mammals. The role of moths, in contrast, hasn’t attracted much attention. “There’s a lot we don’t … Continue reading Shadowy world of nocturnal moth pollinators

These sounds scare humans: Did they come from aliens?

What’s that sound? The aliens are coming! No, wait – it’s only insect defence signals. These eerie sounds are the result of simulations created by entomologist Jean-Luc Boevé, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and informatics engineer Rudi Gio. They mapped the chemical defence signals produced by sawfly (Craesus septentrionalis) larvae to musical … Continue reading These sounds scare humans: Did they come from aliens?

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Fast food for bats Just like cheeseburgers, too many fast bananas makes for an unhappy meal for bats. Banana flowers are fully of tasty sugars that nectar-feeding bats love to indulge in, but this might not be great for their gut – especially if they are mass-produced bananas. “Organic and conventional monoculture banana plantations both … Continue reading You may have missed…