Animals »

From Billions to Zero in 50 Years: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

From Billions to Zero in 50 Years: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

Matt Blitz February 18, 2014 1

Martha was a very lonely bird. She had once been part of a pair, with her male counterpart George, but he had died several years before. So, for the final years of her life,

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The Creepy Scolopendra Gigantea Centipede

The Creepy Scolopendra Gigantea Centipede

Melissa February 10, 2014 0

Skittering along at about an inch off the ground, one of the most vicious predators on the planet is often smaller than its prey, blind as a bat and utterly freaking creepy. Giant Centipede

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There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

Melissa February 3, 2014 4

Myth: Electric “eels” exist. There are, however, electric fish: eight-foot long, 600 volt, mouth breathing, alligator-killing fish. Electrophorus electricus Although there are a number of fish that produce an electric charge, the species that

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The World’s Most Expensive Cup of Coffee

The World’s Most Expensive Cup of Coffee

Matt Blitz January 27, 2014 7

According to a 2013 survey, over eighty three percent of Americans drink coffee in the morning and the average citizen drinks multiple cups per day. Between the dark brew, the flavored lattes, the frozen

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Why Dalmatians are Associated with Fire Fighters

Why Dalmatians are Associated with Fire Fighters

Emily Upton January 23, 2014 5

Today I found out why Dalmatians are commonly firehouse dogs. Dalmatians as firehouse dogs have become so common in books and movies that it’s practically a stereotype. It turns out that Dalmatians actually really

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The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo

The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo

Emily Upton January 21, 2014 1

Today I found out about the man-eaters of Tsavo. In 1898, the British were in the process of building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River in Tsavo, Kenya. Over the next nine to

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Emus vs. Humans: The Great Emu War of 1932

Emus vs. Humans: The Great Emu War of 1932

Emily Upton January 21, 2014 8

Today I found out about the Great Emu War of 1932. Emus are native to Australia, and as everyone knows, nearly everything in Australia seems capable of killing you. If the sun doesn’t do

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Did Unicorns Ever Exist?

Did Unicorns Ever Exist?

Matt Blitz January 20, 2014 6

Kara asks: Did unicorns ever exist? On November 30, 2012, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s government “news” agency, reported that scientists had “reconfirmed” the existence and location of the final resting place

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Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Karl Smallwood January 17, 2014 2

Seagulls, or gulls depending on how much you dislike syllables, are considered a pest to many, a minor, avoidable annoyance to many more and the harbingers of death OH GOD LOOK AT THEIR COLD

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Robins Can See Magnetic Fields, But Only In One Eye

Robins Can See Magnetic Fields, But Only In One Eye

Karl Smallwood January 8, 2014 12

Despite its unassuming looks and gentle temperament, the humble red breasted robin (Erithacus rubecula) boasts a superhero-like ability. They can see magnetic fields, giving them an almost perfect sense of direction. Just to be

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Do Bats Get Confused by Other Bats’ Sonar?

Do Bats Get Confused by Other Bats’ Sonar?

Melissa January 2, 2014 0

Brian asks: How do bats tell whether it’s their own squeaks they’re hearing or another bat’s? Does this ever confuse them? Seeing with sound, bats can find their way around by bouncing sound waves

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Why Penguins’ Feet Don’t Freeze

Why Penguins’ Feet Don’t Freeze

Emily Upton December 31, 2013 3

Kara asks: A penguin’s feet are always on ice, so why don’t they freeze or have some sort of evolutionary built in insulation? There are many different species of penguin, and while our minds

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Where the Expression “Bust Your Balls” Comes From

Where the Expression “Bust Your Balls” Comes From

Melissa December 20, 2013 2

Whether it’s busting or breaking, balls or stones, this expression has long been used by young men (and not a few women) to express a wide range of emotions brought about by the words

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The March of the Christmas Island Red Crab

The March of the Christmas Island Red Crab

Karl Smallwood December 17, 2013 2

As you can probably tell from its name, the Christmas Island red crab is a species of crab native to Christmas Island. Every year, millions of them will leave their forest burrows and swarm

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Why a Rabbit’s Foot is Considered Lucky

Why a Rabbit’s Foot is Considered Lucky

Matthew Treadwell December 11, 2013 2

Preston asks: Why are rabbits paws lucky? Raccoon penis bones. Vulture heads. Lucky pennies. A vast and eclectic array of amulets, talismans, and charms meant to bring good fortune to their owners have been

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WWII Files: Pigeon-Guided Missiles and Bat Bombs

WWII Files: Pigeon-Guided Missiles and Bat Bombs

Staci Lehman December 4, 2013 16

Today I found out about Project Pigeon and Project X-Ray, WWII plans to use pigeons to guide missiles and (literal) bat bombers. The man behind Project Pigeon was famed American behaviorist and Harvard professor

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The Horse that Could Do Math: The Unintentional Clever Hans Hoax

The Horse that Could Do Math: The Unintentional Clever Hans Hoax

Tegan Jones December 3, 2013 15

Move over Mr. Ed, Clever Hans was the original horse who could communicate with humans in complex ways. Well, at least it seemed that way at the time. This phenomenon began in the late

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The Exploding Anti-Tank Dogs of World War II

The Exploding Anti-Tank Dogs of World War II

Emily Upton December 2, 2013 7

Today I found out about the use of exploding anti-tank dogs during World War II. These dogs, usually Alsatians, were also called “Hundminen” or “dog mines.” They were  trained to carry explosives on their

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