To Avoid Humans, More Wildlife Now Work the Night Shift

For their first 100 million years on planet Earth, our mammal ancestors relied on the cover of darkness to escape their dinosaur predators and competitors. Only after the meteor-induced mass extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago could these nocturnal mammals explore the many wondrous opportunities available in the light of day. Fast forward to the present, and the honeymoon in the sun may be over for mammals. They’re increasingly returning to the protection of night to avoid the Ea

How Can a Baby Have 3 Parents?

It seems impossible, right? We have been taught from the time we were young that babies are made when a sperm and an egg come together, and the DNA from these two cells combine to make a unique individual with half the DNA from the mother and half from the father. So how can there be a third person involved in this process? To understand the idea of three-parent babies, we have to talk about DNA. Most people are familiar with the double helix-style DNA which make up the 23 pairs of chromo

Vote in Group B of the 2018 Geology World Cup

Yesterday, we started the 2018 Geology World Cup with voting for Group A, so let's move to the next group! Group B Morocco: Much of Morocco's geology is linked with the slow collision of Africa and Europe. The Atlas Mountains rise up on the western side of Africa and represent the the stresses put on the two plates by Africa plowing into Europe over the last 65 million years. The mountain range that pre-dated the Atlas Mountains (called oddly enough the "Anti-Atlas") were formed in the

Vote in Group B of the 2018 Geology World Cup

Yesterday, we started the 2018 Geology World Cup with voting for Group A, so let's move to the next group! Group B Morocco: Much of Morocco's geology is linked with the slow collision of Africa and Europe. The Atlas Mountains rise up on the western side of Africa and represent the the stresses put on the two plates by Africa plowing into Europe over the last 65 million years. The mountain range that pre-dated the Atlas Mountains (called oddly enough the "Anti-Atlas") were formed in the

Flashback Friday: Bumblebees detect electric fields with their body hair.

We've already covered some of the amazing things that bees can do, from making perfectly hexagonal honeycombs to doing "the wave" to scare off predators. And it turns out they even have the power to detect electric fields! Although it was known that bees can detect electric fields around flowers, how they achieve this amazing feat was a mystery... until now! According to these scientists, bees are actually covered with small hairs that respond to electricity. Be sure to check out the video b

Astronomers Catch Black Hole Devouring Star

Astronomers Seppo Mattila and Miguel Pérez-Torres usually study the natural deaths of stars, but they weren’t going to pass up the chance to investigate a stellar murder. A new paper in Science describes how they nabbed photographic evidence that a supermassive black hole in a relatively nearby galaxy tore apart and consumed part of a star in a phenomenon called a tidal disruption event (TDE), spewing jets of material in the process. Scientists have observed these cosmic crime scenes befo

Welcome to the Geology World Cup 2018

The 2018 World Cup starts today! One of the world's largest events of any kind will capture the planet's attention yet again and Rocky Planet will be hosting the first Geology World Cup. Back in 2014, I ran the Volcano World Cup, where I pit each country that qualified for the real World Cup against each other based on their volcanic features and history. You, the reader, got to vote on which country moved on each round until we crowned Chile as the first (and now only) Volcano World Cup win

The Milky Way Just Got Larger

Despite residing in it, it’s hard for us to know exactly how big the Milky Way is. But new research has found that our galaxy is bigger than previously thought. Using a large survey of stars instead of just models (as previous researchers did), astronomers have now determined the disk of our galaxy to be 200,000 light-years across — twice as large as was believed a decade ago. Astronomers know the Milky Way to be a spiral galaxy with a flat central disk composed of spiraling arms and a sp

Earliest Rainforest Frogs Preserved in Amber

Frogs in a rainforest? Sure, rainforests are home to tons of them. Nothing new there — except that researchers just found four, preserved in amber and nearly 100 million years old, that suggest frogs have been hanging out in that environment much longer than previously shown. Anura, the amphibian order that includes frogs and toads, has been around for at least 200 million years. But the frog fossil record is spotty, and the earliest examples of the animals appear to have lived in bodie

Tinder users don’t have more casual sex.

Are certain types of people more likely to use Tinder? These researchers set out to determine which characteristics differentiate people who use "picture-based dating apps" (aka Tinder) from those who don't. By surveying over 600 Norwegian university students, they found a few obvious things -- like men were more likely than women to emphasize "desire for sex" as a reason for using dating apps. But they also found some surprising things, like no evidence that people who used the apps actuall

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