Animals »

Why Penguins’ Feet Don’t Freeze

Why Penguins’ Feet Don’t Freeze

Emily Upton December 31, 2013 1

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

Read More »
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

Read More »
The March of the Christmas Island Red Crab

The March of the Christmas Island Red Crab

Karl Smallwood December 17, 2013 1

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

Read More »
Why a Rabbit’s Foot is Considered Lucky

Why a Rabbit’s Foot is Considered Lucky

Matthew Treadwell December 11, 2013 1

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

Read More »
WWII Files: Pigeon-Guided Missiles and Bat Bombs

WWII Files: Pigeon-Guided Missiles and Bat Bombs

Staci Lehman December 4, 2013 1

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

Read More »
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 14

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

Read More »
The Exploding Anti-Tank Dogs of World War II

The Exploding Anti-Tank Dogs of World War II

Emily Upton December 2, 2013 4

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

Read More »
Parrots Name Their Chicks

Parrots Name Their Chicks

Emily Upton November 21, 2013 5

Today I Found Out that parrots name their chicks. Scientists have known for a while that, in addition to saying things like “Polly want a cracker” (see Bonus Facts below) to entertain humans, parrots

Read More »
The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

Karl Smallwood November 19, 2013 0

Myth: The Candirú fish can swim up your urine stream if you pee into the Amazon. If you’ve never heard of the Candirú, also known as the pencil fish, the toothpick fish, the vampire

Read More »
Leviathan Files: The Sperm Whale

Leviathan Files: The Sperm Whale

Melissa November 15, 2013 0

Immense, stretching up to nearly 70 feet long and weighing over 50 tons, the sperm whale is the seventh largest animal, and the largest with teeth, in the world. Prized for centuries because of

Read More »
What’s Wrong with Giant Pandas?

What’s Wrong with Giant Pandas?

Melissa November 6, 2013 1

With the possible exception of boozy, reckless ingénues, there is no animal more bent on its own ruin than the giant panda. With its low population (only 1600 remain in the wild and 300

Read More »
Do Moths Really Eat Clothes?

Do Moths Really Eat Clothes?

Karl Smallwood November 5, 2013 10

Gracen asks: Do moths really eat clothes? The common “clothes moth”, “clothing moth” or to give its street name, Tineola bisselliella, doesn’t actually eat clothes. In fact, clothing moths don’t even possess the ability

Read More »
Do Earwigs Really Lay Eggs in Your Ears?

Do Earwigs Really Lay Eggs in Your Ears?

Melissa October 17, 2013 8

Nathan asks: Do earwigs really burrow into your brain and lay eggs? Let me just say I hate earwigs. Small, slimy-looking, fast moving, and always popping out of some dark place when I least

Read More »
Whales Don’t Spray Water Out of Their Blowholes Nor are Their Throats and Blowhole Connected

Whales Don’t Spray Water Out of Their Blowholes Nor are Their Throats and Blowhole Connected

Emily Upton October 15, 2013 19

Myth: Whales spray water out of their blowholes. Contrary to what you may have seen in such movies as Pixar’s otherwise extremely entertaining Finding Nemo, whales don’t  spray water out of their blowholes.  Further,

Read More »
The Parasitic Sacculina That Bends Its Host to Its Own Will

The Parasitic Sacculina That Bends Its Host to Its Own Will

Melissa October 7, 2013 0

Falling into the category of “you can’t make this up,” is the parasitic barnacle Sacculina. Shedding its hard shell and injecting itself into the body of a host crab, Sacculina becomes its puppet master,

Read More »
Mind Control: From the Inside Out

Mind Control: From the Inside Out

Melissa October 4, 2013 4

The term “mind control” conjures up visions of someone manipulating people from the outside, such as an evil, brainwashing scientist or a supernatural being that takes dominion of a person just with the power

Read More »
The Bear Who was Officially a Member of the Polish Army During WWII

The Bear Who was Officially a Member of the Polish Army During WWII

Staci Lehman September 26, 2013 9

After being invaded by Germany in the west and later by Soviet Russia in the east, the Polish government fled Warsaw but continued to fight from abroad. After Germany attacked Russia, the Russians decided

Read More »
The Animal Where the Male Becomes Pregnant and Gives Birth

The Animal Where the Male Becomes Pregnant and Gives Birth

Staci Lehman September 13, 2013 4

Today I Found Out that female seahorses impregnating their male mates, rather than the other way around. The reproductive process of a seahorse begins when a male and a female meet up and “dance”.

Read More »