How animals hold elections – democracy isn’t an exclusive human social trait

Elections in the States are currently topping headlines all over the world, as people debate over their favorite candidate and the direction this country is heading towards. Still, as always, elections seemed to be plagued by scandals, lies or manipulation. Yes, democracy is far from being perfect, the alternatives aren’t any better either. I don’t mean to stir into politics,

Researchers find contamination in Canadian oilsands operation, but aren’t allowed to talk about it

Researchers from Environment Canada (EC) and the University of Alberta have published a study in which they showed contaminants accumulated in the snow near oilsands operations, despite what oil companies are claiming. They also discovered contaminants in precipitation from testing in the region.   Perhaps even more disturbing is that fact that researchers were discouraged to talk about their results,

Half-black, half-orange lobster discovered and on display, just in time for Halloween

I swear this isn’t some practical joke for Halloween. Massachusetts fisherman recently caught a highly peculiar lobster with a genetic anomaly which caused it to have one half colored in black, and the other in orange. According to the New England Aquarium, this kind of  coloring isn’t entirely unheard of, but it happens once in every 50 million lobsters. Splits, which are

‘Penis worm’ pokes holes in 100 year-old theory

The largest branch of animals in the tree of lifes are the protostomes – historically defined by the order in which they develop a mouth and an anus as embryos. But new gene-expression data conducted on “penis worms” suggests otherwise. The mouth and the anus Biologists will have to rename and rethink the protostomes, explains Andreas Hejnol, an evolutionary developmental

9 colorful, tree dwelling, extremely small tarantulas found in Brazil

Biologists working in Brazil have discovered nine new species of orange, purple and pink tarantulas lurking around in the trees. The haul of new spider species came from a lengthy study conducted in the Amazon by tarantula specialist Dr Rogerio Bertani of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo. He described these new findings in the ZooKeys magazine. “These are the

Bees can bite too, not only sting

Honeybees are among the most well armed insects, remarkably enough however it seems that we’ve only seen one side of their undercoat. Apparently, according to a recent discovery by Greek scientists, honeybees use a biting attack to ward off intruders. The bite delivers a toxin that paralyzes their victims, don’t worry though, they can’t bite humans. Actually, researchers are considering

Hermit crabs socialize in order to back stab their neighbor and steal their ‘homes’

There are around 800 hermit crab species living in the ocean. These crustaceans like to mind their own business and are rarely seen alongside one another, hence their species’ name. The dozen or so terrestrial hermit crab species, however, are forced to engage socially in order to survive. Their social pattern reveals a selfish agenda, though, after a recent study

Ornithologists remotely tracks endangered Yosemite Great Gray Owls with sound tech

The Great Gray Owls of Yosemite are a unique species, after they separated from their cousins some 30,000 years ago when an ice age forced them into isolation. Though similar to the Great Gray Owls, commonly encountered through out North America and the Asian taiga forests, the Yosemite branch is genetically distinct, but unfortunately also endangered with only 200 specimens

Dung beetle uses poop ball cargo as air conditioning

The dung beetle is an extreme survivor. Not only does it feed on poop, but it also fashions a hefty ball out of it, up to 50 times its own mass, that it rolls through the scorching desert. We’re talking 60 degrees Celsius here. A new study that has closely followed this truly remarkable creature has found that the dung

Beluga whale makes human-like sounds: tells diver to get out

US researchers were shocked to discover a beluga whale that spontaneously emits sounds very similar to those we humans produce. Scientists have known for quite a while that dolphins can be taught to mimic human voices, but no animal has ever tried to do that spontaneously – until now, that is. It all started when the nine-year old whale called

‘Archaeologist’ stray cat finds ancient catacomb in Rome

Fusing ancient, medieval, renascent and modern influences, the city of Rome is truly relic of time. It’s actually so old, that many construction projects in Rome have to go through a tiresome process before they can even start work, since there’s always the chance some forgotten tomb or catacomb of some sort might lie  underneath.  If you’re wondering what are the chances of finding a new

Oil barons and hunters threaten polar bear protection

As the global oil supply is starting to grow thin, the Arctic area seems to be more and more interesting to oil barons, but of course, there’s the problem of those pesky protected animals – so what do we do? Get rid of that, of course. A group of plaintiffs including the state of Alaska (who has already said they

Evolution dictated by brawn instead of brain

For scientists, the most common method of assessing an animal’s intelligence is by looking at its relative brain size, with respect to its body size. The human brain, for instance, is small compared to other animal’s brain, however it’s exceptionally large when considering our body mass. A new study, which analyzed the relative brain size of a myriad of species

Frog has false thumb which actually hides a retractable spike used for fighting

The ‘Otton frog’ was just discovered in the Amami islands of Southern Japan, but unlike other frogs, which rely on camouflage or venom, this frog can put up quite a fight. Most frogs possess four digits, but at a first glance, the Otton seemed to have five ones; the only other frogs with this feature are the five-fingered Hypsiboas rosenbergi

Study suggests early man ate pandas

The cuddly giant pandas were good, tasty snacks for the early man, claims paleoanthropologist Wei Guangbiao. The co-author of “Origins of Giant Pandas” and head of Chongqing Three Gorges Museum and Institute of Paleoanthropology claims prehistoric men who inhabited in the area of today’s Chongqing Municipality ate the pandas people are trying so hard to protect nowadays.   “We have

Chinese turtle is unique in the animal kingdom: it urinates through its mouth

We’ve written about some bizarre animals in the past, but just when you think nothing can come as a surprise… well, meet the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, an animal that has an unique ability, never before encountered in the animal kingdom – it can urinate through its mouth. This is definitely not your typical turtle, even its appearance warns that there’s something

Fossil find of 520 million year-old arthropod might be the missing link in insects evolution

Paleontologists have uncovered the fossil remains of a 3-inch-long extinct arthropod in Yunnan Province, China, dating from the Cambrian period. What makes it particularly special is the fact that it provides an unusual example of preservation of the brain and nervous system, atypical for fossil records this old, but most interestingly it suggests that complex brains evolved much earlier than

Fantastic 100 million year-old time capsule traps ancient clash between spider and wasp

Trapped in the web, the wasp knows it’s done for, as it counts the seconds to its impending doom. The spider snatches its prey, and is prepared to act its revenge upon the ancient wasp, which is a parasite of spider eggs. But just as the final killing blow is imminent,  resin oozes from a tree bark and engulfs them both

Slime can navigate using external memory, despite having no brain – a precursor to the nervous system?

Scientists at University of Sydney have been studying for the past few years one of the most peculiar events in nature. It seems that a living slime, no less, no more, is capable of reading information and remembering its past “steps” acting on some sort of external memory, this despite the fact that it has no brain, not even one single

Meet the Yoda worm – a creature living deep, deep in the ocean

A curious specimen which bares a resemblance to the iconic Jedi master Yoda, due to its large lips on either side of the creature’s head reminiscent of the Jedi’s ears, has been recently collected from far, far away in the ocean depths. Upon closer inspection it along with two other creatures have been recognized as distinct species. Dubbed Yoda purpurata, the tiny deep-sea acorn