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All posts by Eric R. Olson

Eric is a writer and producer specializing in science and natural history. He is the former digital producer for NATURE on PBS. Originally from Seattle, Eric now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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 ...


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 ...


Featured Creature: The Vaquita

The vaquita (pronounced VA-Keeta) is the smallest, and most endangered, whale species in the world. It reaches a maximum length of 5 feet and weighs less than 120 lbs. Vaquitas are easily distinguished by the dark markings around their lips and eyes, which look a ...


The Weed-Munching Goats of Brooklyn

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped through the northeastern U.S., flooding coastal areas and causing an estimated 75 billion dollars of damage. Brooklyn’s scenic Prospect Park wasn’t immune–Sandy destroyed more than 300 trees. Some more than 150 years old. Where trees disappear, fast-growing weeds move in. ...


Animal Experts Weigh-In on the Death of Harambe

Over the Memorial Day weekend, a four year-old boy climbed over a barrier and fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. The episode ended with Harambe, a male lowland gorilla, shot dead by the zoo’s dangerous animal response team. Harambe was part of ...



The series concludes with Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks, which explores sneaky mating techniques. For example, a lusty low-ranking male in a mob of red kangaroos considers possible plan A and plan B options when only the alpha male has the right to mate with ...


Featured Creature: Kiwi

Which came first: the kiwi or the kiwifruit? Was the bird named for the fruit or the fruit named for the bird? As it turns out, it was the latter. In the 1950s, commercial growers of the “Chinese gooseberry” noticed that their fruit bore a ...



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