Animal Kingdom

Meet the newly-discovered “nano-chameleon”, the world’s smallest lizard is no bigger than a fly.

A new species of chameleon has been discovered on the island of Madagascar. Known as Brookesia nana, or nano-chemeleon, the tiny male lizard measures only 9mm or 19mm if you include the tail. For comparison, a normal housefly measures about 7mm. The female of the species is larger at 29mm (including the tail). Researchers confirmed the specimens were not juveniles - the female had two eggs inside of her. It is believed the species may be so small due to the "island effect". Animals trapped on small isolated islands tend to evolve smaller bodies.

Yes! Scientists finally discover how Wombats poop square cubes.

It's a question that's kept Reeko up at night A mystic scientific anomaly with no rational explanation. Those cute little Wombats, the short-legged marsupials that are native to Australia, poop the most curious scat (i.e. feces or, ahem, turds). Despite having a normal round anus, Wombats poop square cubes! And Wombats don't waste their unique talent either. They poop between 80 and 100 one-inch pieces of square feces a day, about 4-8 pieces with each bowel movement. And since they only poop at night, scientist rarely witness the magnificent event. Thus, we have never quite understood how the physics of Wombat poop works. To solve the mystery, scientists dissected a dead wombat that had been hit by a car. [Editor's note: Hit by a car? Really? Are

Scientists removed the first-ever murder hornets nest in the United States. Here’s what they found.

Asian Giant Hornets, aka "murder hornets", don't belong in the United States. They accidentally made their way here from Asia, probably by hopping a ride on a sea vessel. And yeah, we don't want them here. Not just because of their scary name, but because the invasive species kills native bee populations which are critical to the nation's crops and ecosystems. In order to keep an eye on the little rascals, scientists tied tiny little radio transmitters to the waists of three murder hornets in Washington state. Then let them go. When telemetry from the transmitters showed a possible murder hornet nest in Blaine, Washington, they donned their bee suits, grabbed their vacuum cleaners, and headed out the door. According to scientists, they got there "just

With climate change, US ecosystems have shifted hundreds of miles north.

Researchers in Nebraska analyzed 46 years’ worth of bird data collected for the North American Breeding Bird Survey, a program designed to track bird populations. The survey discovered the areas where specific species of birds lived had changed across the United States. Researchers found that coinciding with climate change, the habitats of birds have shifted. The northernmost ecosystem shifted more than 366 miles north – the length of an entire state. The southernmost boundary moved about 160 miles northward. The northernmost ecosystem shifted more than the southernmost area because of a well-known phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Arctic amplification, or polar amplification, is a phenomenon that any change in the balance of solar radiation across the plant tends to produce a larger change near the earth’s

An eagle has amazing eyes – it can even see UV light which lets it track an animal by its urine trail.

Eagles are regal, powerful animals. At the top of the bird food chain, they can grow up to 7-foot wide and weigh up to 15 lbs. They can carry their weight (15 pounds) while flying. This lets them carry an animal about the weight of a baby mule deer. Their eyes are extremely powerful, about 3-times more powerful than a human’s eye (their eyesight is about 20/5 vs. 20/20 for a human). An eagle’s eye fills a large portion of its head. Unlike a human, their eyes are fixed – they cannot move their eyes in the eyeball socket. To look around, they must turn their head. When hunting, they swivel their head back and forth looking for prey. Their fixed eye design gives the eye

The shiny cocoons of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly look like beautiful gold jewels.

No, these golden beauties are not fine jewelry or decorative trinkets. Although they look metallic, they are actually made of chitin, the material that gives some insects their shiny look. And inside these chitin containers, are baby butterflies! The orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly (or mechantis polymnia) lives in the jungles from Mexico down to the Amazon forests. They are colorful orange, yellow, and black butterflies, similar to a monarch butterfly, and grow to about 3-inches wide. The shiny golden cocoons they spin contain pupae, the third stage of baby butterfly’s development. Since pupae cannot move and are unable to defend themselves, they often rely on the appearance of their cocoon to deter predators. It is believed that the shiny surface of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing’s cocoon scares

Here’s why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others.

It’s true. Mosquitoes prefer biting some people over others and now scientists know why. As it turns out, about 20% of people are especially yummy to mosquitoes. Here’s why. Mosquitoes smell carbon dioxide Mosquitoes find victims by smelling carbon dioxide. They can smell it from across a large yard. People who exhale more carbon dioxide than others become targets. This is why children, who breathe smaller breaths, are bitten less often than adults. Mosquitoes prefer dark colors Just as we see with human beings, to a mosquito, certain colors stand out more than others. If you wear black, dark blue, or red, mosquitoes will swarm your way. Mosquitoes smell lactic acid Mosquitoes can also smell lactic acid, the chemical excreted when you exercise. They also are attracted to heat. Thus, sweaty

Unable to find food in it natural habitat, this starving polar bear roamed into a town in Russia looking for food.

Residents of Norilsk, Russia woke to a strange site. A starving polar bear was roaming the streets looking for food. The animal would normally be in the Kara Sea area, about 300 miles from Norilsk, but climate change has forced animals such as this, to roam far from home looking for food and habitat they require to survive. The polar bear was photographed roaming throughout the city looking for food. Its paws are blackened with mud accumulated during its long trek. Authorities in the area say the polar bear may be sedated and transported to a zoo. World Wildlife Fund's Russia office told reporters: "It’s not normal for them to walk so far south, but the unusual situation can happen because of the lack of natural food and ice." The

Why malaria-spreading mosquitoes are so hard to kill – and how scientists found a way to kill them without impacting the environment or other living creatures.

Almost half of the people in the world live in an area where malaria parasites can infect and kill them. Malaria parasites enter the body via a mosquito. The parasites travel to the liver where they it can remain undetected for as long as a year. While in the liver, malaria parasites develop and release toxic substances that infect red blood cells. These toxins are dumped into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body. This is when symptoms begin to show. Symptoms of someone infected with malaria include fever, chills, headache, vomiting, sweating, cough, and chest, stomach, and muscle pain. Often these symptoms appear in waves or “attacks” that come and go. Fighting the mosquitoes that transfer malaria to humans has been difficult. Mosquitoes have developed

Natures way to spread plant life – birds, bees, and… goats in trees that spit seeds?

It’s not unusual to see birds in trees. Pigeons in trees are a common sight in New York City. In Texas, noisy finch crowd trees along scenic roadways. In Washington, D.C., vultures loom in trees waiting the opportunity to swoop down on unassuming middle-class citizens. But in south-western Morocco, hungry goats perch with acrobat-like agility high above the ground eating fruit and leaves and spitting out seeds. Goats? In trees? Spitting seeds? Goats in the boughs of trees are a common site in dry, arid areas like Spain and Mexico where edible ground-plants are harder for the goats to find. But the goats in trees in Morocco tower above all others. Locals say it’s common for 10-20 goats at a time to climb argan trees 20-40