Popular Science articles about Biology & Nature

John Lennon commemorated by naming a new tarantula species from South America after him

A newly described tarantula species from Western Brazilian Amazonia was named Bumba lennoni in honor of John Lennon, a founder member of the legendary band the Beatles. The new species is part of the tarantula family Theraphosidae which comprises the...

University of Tennessee study finds fish just wanna have fun

A cichlid fish strikes a bottom-weighted thermometer that would immediately right itself. It was often struck repeatedly in bouts.Fish just want to have fun, according to a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study that finds even fish "play."

New Univeristy of Virginia study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according...

Cell architecture: Finding common ground

When it comes to cellular architecture, function follows form.

Could sleeper sharks be preying on protected Steller sea lions?

This image depicts sea lions in Alaska.Pacific sleeper sharks, a large, slow-moving species thought of as primarily a scavenger or predator of fish, may be preying on something a bit larger -- protected Steller sea lions...

New 'tree of life' traces evolution of a mysterious cotinga birds

They are some of the brightest, loudest, oddest-looking, least-understood birds on the planet. Some have bulbous crests, long fleshy wattles, or Elvis-worthy pompadours in addition to electric blue, deep purple,...

Fly genome could help us improve health and our environment

The house fly might be a worldwide pest, but its genome will provide information that could improve our lives. From insights into pathogen immunity, to pest control and decomposing waste,...

Discovery of cellular snooze button advances cancer and biofuel research

The discovery of a cellular snooze button has allowed a team of Michigan State University scientists to potentially improve biofuel production and offer insight on the early stages of cancer.The discovery of a cellular snooze button has allowed a team of Michigan State University scientists to potentially improve biofuel production and offer insight on the early stages of cancer.

New clues behind the resilience of a leading sexually transmitted pathogen, Chlamydia

In the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, authors Domman, et al. have explored factors behind the resilience of the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.,...

University of Tennessee study finds crocodiles are sophisticated hunters

Recent studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such as advanced parental care, complex communication and use of tools for hunting.

Snakes and snake-like robots show how sidewinders conquer sandy slopes

Researchers studied sidewinder snakes to understand the unique motion they use to climb sandy slopes. Shown (l-r) are Dan Goldman of Georgia Tech, Hamid Marvi of Carnegie Mellon and Joe Mendelson of Zoo Atlanta.The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a...

The pigment melanin contributes to the black edges (b) on the anal fin that are a sign of dominance, while pterins account for the red and yellow colors (a) on the anal fin, and signal health. Carotenoids on the caudal fin (c) indicate that the fish is eating well. Brighter, more-intense colors are associated with better mating success.

Blind cave fish may provide insight on eye disease and other human health issues

Blind cave fish may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to understanding human sight, but recent research indicates they may have quite a bit...

Loss of big predators could leave herbivores in a thorny situation

This image shows impala (antelope), Mpala Research Center, Laikipia, Kenya.Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to UBC research published today in Science.

Follow the leader: Insects benefit from good leadership too

Sawfly larvae are shown on a Eucalyptus tree.Scientists have shown for the first time that when insect larvae follow a leader to forage for food, both leaders and followers benefit, growing much faster than if they are...

How the fruit fly could help us sniff out drugs and bombs

The "nose" of a fruit fly can identify odors from illicit drugs and explosives almost as accurately as wine odor.A fly's sense of smell could be used in new technology to detect drugs and bombs, new University of Sussex research has found.

New sequencing reveals genetic history of tomatoes

The sequencing of 360 varieties of wild and domestic tomatoes has yielded insights into domestication and pest resistance.This week, an international team of researchers, led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, is publishing in the journal Nature Genetics a brief genomic history of tomato...

Taking infestation with a grain of salt

The Living Coast Discovery Center and Sweetwater Marsh, as seen from the marsh's tidal zone.Twenty years ago, biologists Kathy Boyer and Joy Zedler, then researchers at San Diego State University, speculated that too many insects feeding on cordgrass in the marshes of San Diego...

Swiss scientists explain evolution of extreme parasites

This is an electronmicroscopic picture of the spores of the newly discovered microsporidium <i>M. daphniae</i>. The spores measure around 2 micrometer in length.Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have now discovered a new...

Bio-inspired 'nano-cocoons' offer targeted drug delivery against cancer cells

Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale "cocoons" made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon. Enzymes inside the cocoons (the "worms" in this image) are unleashed once inside the cell, destroying the cocoon and releasing anti-cancer drugs.Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing...

Britain on brink of freshwater species 'invasion' from south east Europe

Quagga mussels were collected from the Wraysbury River, London.Five of the most high-risk freshwater invaders from the Ponto-Caspian region around Turkey and Ukraine are now in Britain -- including the quagga mussel, confirmed just two weeks ago on...

The cichlids' egg-spots: How evolution creates new characteristics

The anal fin of the haplochromine cichlid <i>Astatotilapia burtoni</i> is shown bearing the characteristic egg-spots.The evolution of new traits with novel functions has always posed a challenge to evolutionary biology. Studying the color markings of cichlid fish, Swiss scientists were now able to show...

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