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Many people live among animals that inspire affection, even admiration: bluebirds and hawks, beavers and bobcats. The fortunate might glimpse a fox or, if they live in the country, an eagle or a bear. But I live in New York City, where the star of the show is the rat.
Golden orb-web spiders (Nephila clavipes) are sit-and-wait hunters that accumulate prey larders on their webs. These larders are sometimes stolen by other spiders. If prey items are removed from their webs, golden orb-web spiders search for them. They search longer when they have lost more prey items as well as when they have lost larger prey items.
Although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn’t seem to have this particular problem, it’s commonly thought that once a turtle gets stuck on its back, it’s pretty much doomed. While it’s true that turtles, like other animals with shells, can have a hard time righting themselves when flipped over, they aren’t helpless. In fact, according to these mathematicians, the domed shell of land turtles is shaped in a nearly optimal curve to help the turtle flip back over. As Donatello would say, “Turtle Power!”.
According to research published Tuesday in Nature Communications, we may need to slither back the clock on snake evolution.
Alt: Snakes crawled among Jurassic dinosaurs, new timeline says
Paleontologists have discovered a new species of a long-necked dinosaur from a skeleton found in China. The new species belongs to a group of dinosaurs called mamenchisaurids, known for their extremely long necks sometimes measuring up to half the length of their bodies. Most sauropods, or long-necked dinosaurs, have necks only about one third the length of their bodies.
They may look like the real thing, but at least two of the mummies in the Vatican Museums' collection have been found to be fakes.
Skull fractures can lead to an early death, even if the victims initially survived the injuries, according to a new study that looked at skulls from three Danish cemeteries with funeral plots dating from the 12th to the 17th centuries.
Related: The mystery of shellshock solved: Scientists identify the unique brain injury caused by war
The first known prehistoric human from Taiwan has been identified and may represent an entirely new species that lived as recently as 10,000 years ago, according to a new study.
Nestled in a quiet forest in Belize, a deep aquamarine pool holds ruins from a time when the ancient Maya turned to a "drought cult," archaeologists suggest, and hurried sacrifices to a water god to try to stave off the fall of their civilization.
A team of researchers with members from Mexico, the U.S. and Germany has found that the demise of the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican society centered around a city known as Cantona, was likely due to a combination of weather and politics.
Alt: Early Mesoamericans affected by climate change
Long before the Europeans arrived on Easter Island in 1722, the native Polynesian culture known as Rapa Nui showed signs of demographic decline. However, the catalyst has long been debated in the scientific community. Was environmental degradation the cause, or could a political revolution or an epidemic of disease be to blame? A collaborative study suggests that the island's native culture reacted to natural environmental barriers to producing sufficient crops.
Researchers have for the first time provided strong evidence for what conspiracy theorists have long thought - oil is often the reason for interfering in another country's war.
A major study backed by the US and Australian governments has made a revolutionary breakthrough – they have managed to unboil an ordinary egg.
A group of ornithologists led by Dr Manuel Schweizer from the Natural History Museum of Bern in Switzerland has described a new cryptic species of owl that inhabits the desert areas of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Yemen.
On ancient Earth, the earliest life encountered a paradox. Chains of RNA—the ancestor of DNA—were floating around, haphazardly duplicating themselves. Scientists know that eventually, these RNA chains must have become longer and longer, setting the stage for the evolution of complex life forms like amoebas, worms, and eventually humans. But under all current models, shorter RNA molecules, having less material to copy, would have reproduced faster, favoring the evolution of primitive organisms over complex ones.
The evolution of human culture is often compared to biological evolution, and it’s easy to see why: both involve variation across a population, transmission of units from one generation to the next, and factors that ensure the survival of some variants and the death of others. However, sometimes this comparison fails. Culture, for instance, can be transmitted “horizontally” between members of the same generation, but genes can't.
For many Facebook users, the urge to like a kitten video or snoop on a high-school flame is almost irresistible.
Related: Why the modern world is bad for your brain
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