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Chickens and Dogs and Bears, Oh My (DNA)

Why did the chicken cross the road? We may never know. But since it did, and it carried its DNA, we can now say something about both chicken and human migration. Yes, using DNA to trace migration and history is not limited to just humans. A new paper on polar and brown bear DNA suggests…

From Night Vision to Heaters, 3 of the Ocean’s Most Remarkable Eyes

This post is reprinted, with permission, from The Extreme Life of the Sea, by Stephen Palumbi and Tony Palumbi, Princeton University Press 2014. Evolution throws countless designs at the proverbial wall and steps back to see what sticks. All that evolution really needs is a big, variable population to experiment on and a lot of…

Some Ancient Sloths Ventured Into the Ocean, Study Says

A new study finds that dense bones enabled aquatic sloths to sink to shallow seagrass beds in order to graze.

Volunteers Needed to Study American Eels

This week, a trio of organizations have asked the public to help gather data on one of New York City’s more slippery residents: the American eel (Anguilla rostrata). (We previously profiled the American eel as a Freshwater Species of the Week in August 2012.) Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, the New York State Department…

Year of the Horse Kicks Off with Seahorse Conservation

Dr. Tse-Lynn Loh, Postdoctoral Research Associate John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago in partnership with Project Seahorse (University of British Columbia & Zoological Society of London) I’m writing from foggy and drizzly Haiphong, where I’ve been meeting with our country hosts at the Research Institute for Marine Fisheries (RIMF) and organizing the logistics for the next…

Animal Valentines: 5 of Nature’s Best Flirters

From stone-throwing monkeys to castle-building fish, see the lengths that some species go to please their mates.

PHOTOS: 5 Animals That Outsmart Winter on the Northern Plains

While parts of the U.S. bundle up for extreme winter weather, the animals on American Prairie Reserve (APR) have enjoyed several warm weeks in January. Since my last trip to the Reserve earlier this month, our staff and volunteer adventure scientists have spotted bison, mule deer, and large groups of pronghorn moving with ease across the…

Western Australia’s Controversial Shark Cull Claims First Casualty

The controversial program—meant to protect people on Western Australia beaches from shark attacks—claims its first shark fatality.

Video: Wild Cats of the Forest

Victoria Hillman is a National Geographic Explorer and Research Director for the Transylvanian Wildlife Project overseeing research on carnivores and biodiversity of Europe’s last great wilderness. Follow the expedition here on Explorers Journal through updates from the team. —–— The Carpathian mountains are home to two species of wild cat, the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and the European…

New Species of River Dolphin: Freshwater Species of the Week

Scientists in Brazil proposed a new species of river dolphin this week, the first such designation for the highly endangered group in a century. The proposed new species of river dolphin, the Araguaian boto (Inia araguaiaensis), was found in the Araguaia River Basin in central Brazil. The marine mammals were found to be isolated from other…

Family of SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Orca Speaks Out for First Time

The family of Dawn Brancheau, the trainer killed by Tilikum the killer whale, speaks out for the first time about the documentary Blackfish.

Shark Species Thought to Be Extinct Turns Up in Fish Market

When scouting for extremely rare species probably the last place you’d think to check would be “the store.” And yet it was at a store of sorts–a public fish market in Kuwait to be exact–where marine researchers rediscovered the smoothtooth blacktip shark (Carcharhinus leiodon) in 2008. The species was thought to be extinct, or not even a…

Saving the Big Cats of Central Mozambique

It wasn’t too long ago that Central Mozambique was considered lost territory for the big cats, a place where they would soon no longer roam wild and free. But today an effort is underway to hold the line against extinction and ensure that the African lion has its rightful place here into the foreseeable future.  This thanks…

Black Rhino Hunt Auction Won’t Help Conservation

This weekend the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) plans to auction off the chance to kill one of the world’s last black rhinos—and shockingly, the U.S. government may be okay with it despite the species’ protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  According to DSC, which describes itself as both a pro-conservation and pro-hunting group, the…

For a Nearly Hundred-foot-long Jellyfish, It’s Christmas All Year

This nearly hundred-foot-long sea creature is all dressed up for the holidays. Just don’t try to pet it. Its body contains thousands of poisoned-filled stinging cells just waiting for a victim to brush past.