Yosemite and Climate Change with Wildlife Filmmaker Joe Pontecorvo

In the latest episode of the InsideNATURE podcast, I spoke with filmmaker Joe Pontecorvo, producer of the recent NATURE film Yosemite. As the name suggests, Joe’s film is about Yosemite National Park, one of America’s oldest parks, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. The film features a diverse cast of animal characters including […]

The Crab with the Kung Fu Grip

Poking around on the beach, you may have encountered a hermit crab — a typically petite crustacean whose home is the shell it carries around on its back. Now imagine that tiny crab grew bigger and bigger until it could no longer find a large enough shell. With no means of defense, it develops a […]

Meet the Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing Mantis Shrimp

Contrary to their name, mantis shrimp aren’t actually shrimp. They belong to another group of shelled critters called stomatopods that split from other crustaceans about 400 million years ago. However, like their land-based namesake, the preying mantis, they use their lightning-fast forelimbs to snag a meal. Mantis shrimp apply two main strategies — spearing or […]

Could We Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon (or Other Extinct Species)?

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from “The Unnatural World: the Race to Make Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age” by journalist and broadcaster David Biello. The excerpt is from a chapter that describes a ‘de-extinction’ talk given by biologist Ben Novak and others at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Novak’s plan is to bring back […]

Rat Giggles Point to New ‘Joyous’ Area of the Brain

We’ve known for a decade or so that humans aren’t the only animals who are ticklish. In 2003, researchers learned that rats “giggle” when tickled. They don’t move their mouths or shake their stomachs, but they do let out a high-pitched, ultrasonic sound. A study published last week in Science follows up on that research […]

The Making of the Cat

From the tall grass savanna of Kenya to the forested slopes of the Rockies, from the steaming jungles of Indonesia and the crags of the Himalayas to your very own living room, cats prowl our planet. Some are large and imposing, celebrated for their predatory power. Others are small and elusive, their spots blending into […]

How Many Giraffe Species Are There Really?

This September, Earth’s single giraffe species suddenly became four. “A Quadruple Take on the Giraffe: There are Four Species, Not One,” wrote The New York Times. “Giraffes aren’t just giraffes,” reported The Washington Post. A study published in Current Biology, a prominent science journal, had reshuffled Africa’s nine recognized giraffe subspecies into separate species:the southern, […]