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Natural History

This category contains 18 posts

A look into the past…and into a gnarly set of teeth

New discoveries are made every day, but ‘new’ does not always mean current. In this case, scientists are using technology to reconstruct the jaws of a creature that dominated the oceans over 70 million years ago and are solving the mystery of how its strange teeth allowed for a diverse diet. Intrigued?

Heroic Humpbacks: Orcastrate an Escape

While watching a pod of killer whales attacking their prey, scientists noticed a small group of humpback whales come to the rescue. Why did these humpbacks risk their own safety to save another animal? Read more about how scientists are investigating this question.

Costume Age: some crabs are too young to start dressing up

Well, it’s that time of year again where hoards of costumed kids roam the streets in search of candy. While these kids are met at each door with smiles and sugar, older kids and teenagers are more likely to be met with disapproving frowns – aren’t they too old to be doing this? Well, if you’re a decorator crab you also like to go all out in costume, but it’s not the younger crabs that are doing it, decorator crabs have to be a certain age before they start dressing up!

Speed dating: how finding that special symbiosis saved some coral from climate change

Choosing the right symbiont might be a coral’s ticket to cheating global warming.

Migrating lobsters use magnets to find their way

For the last post in our school’s out for summer theme week, take a look inside to see how migrating groups of lobsters use the force to navigate around the bottom of the ocean!

What makes a male squid put in reproductive effort?

Male squid can vary the effort they put into each mating event. Find out what type of female makes the males put in the most energy.

Fooled Ya! How marine animals stay hidden in plain sight

It’s April Fools’ Day! Today’s the day when you try to prank people, convince them your lies are true, and generally make mischief and act sneakily! Animals have to act like it’s April Fools’ Day everyday, and it probably isn’t nearly as much fun since their lives depend on it. Predators sneak up on their prey. Prey hide from those who wish to eat them. It’s a harsh world out there, but luckily animals have a number of ways to stay hidden. Here are my 5 (well, actually 6) favorite examples of camouflage in the marine realm!

The Mystery of the Virgin Birth

A female eagle ray gives birth to two female pups. But she has been housed in a tank without any sexually mature males. Is it a miracle or is there some logical explanation?

Sea of Love: Hermaphroditic fishes

Finding a date on Valentine’s Day can be hard! Whether you are single or in a relationship, we are trying to make your week a little brighter by sharing some tales of romance from the ocean. Today we will look at the answer some fishes have found for not being able to find a suitable date: they just change their gender!

How to See Through a Shell

You may never have heard of this funny little ocean creature, but the chiton is pretty incredible. Why? It has hundreds of remarkable little eyes! Read how materials scientists are using this odd ocean animal as a model for building better materials.

Evaporating History

More is better, especially when it comes to dissecting the past. A single proxy may be sensitive to various factors that make it difficult to distinguish their history. However, when multiple proxies are paired it enables scientists to constrain their interpretations to be more accurate. For example, the co-variation of oxygen and carbon isotopic signatures due to evaporation has proven to be important when interpreting paleo-hydrologic cycles.

Philosopher cephalopod: the octopus genome reveals the origin of its intellect

The octopus genome sheds light on the strange intelligence of a mysterious creature.

From 591 leagues under the sea to eukaryote and me: introducing the closest known relative to our cells

Scientists think they’ve found an ancient link to the eukaryotic cell from the deep down in the ocean, and it’s an archaeon.

A 2.5 billion year old story about iron in the ocean, told by a rock

New light has been shed on the possibility of an alternative iron sink than previous thought prior to the oxygenation of the oceans 2.45 billion years ago. The findings could affect our interpretations of the early seawater chemistry, nutrient cycling, and trace metal distribution in the Precambrian.

A head of their time: how invertebrates had it in them all along to form the vertebrate head

We owe our hard heads to our invertebrate ancestors.

Geared up jellyfish show scientists that they have more control over their movements than we thought

Jellyfish are commonly thought of as passive drifters in the ocean, but a team of researchers are working to change that. By strapping accelerometers to jellyfish in the field, they have found evidence to show that jellyfish can orient themselves relative to the current around them to help keep their position in the ocean.

One billion and one anaerobic nights: on the journey to atmospheric oxidation

Take a breather, and learn how cyanobacteria struggled to bring the world oxygen.

On the natural history of sex: which came first, internal or external fertilization?

Fish fossils have something surprising to tell us about last night.

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