Photo by Lisa Brown via Flickr Environment Zoology 

Citizen Science Informs Bird Feeder Dilemma

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic If you enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving, take a moment to think not about the bird on your plate but rather the birds outside your home. With increasing urbanization taking away more natural habitat, local wildlife is having difficulty finding food. Bird feeders have become a popular way for homeowners to help local wildlife and contribute to conservation efforts. But are these feeders, borne of good intentions, actually helping or hurting wild birds? A recent study has enlisted the help of Canadian citizens to find out. Feeding the…

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grizzly bear Zoology 

Photographer in Alaska: Grazing Grizzly Bears

Did you know that grizzlies eat grass? Grazing Grizzly Bears is the second installment of wildlife photographer Max Goldberg’s latest Alaskan Adventure. By Max Goldberg After spending a few days at Brooks Lodge, my father and I went back to Anchorage, Alaska, and took three flights to our next destination: the Natural Habitat Ursus. The Ursus is an old crab-fishing boat converted into a floating home-from-home, and our base for the next week. Every morning, we would eat breakfast, put on our waders, get into a skiff, and go to…

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Berlin Mounted Dinosaur Skeleton: The huge mounted Giraffatitan in the main hall in Berlin, dwarfing the Diplodocus that stands behind it. (Photo by Steven Spence) Paleontology 

Mounting a Monument to a Mesozoic Monster

Renowned paleontologist Dr. Dave Hone explains how the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world was put together. Photography by Steven Spence. By David Hone Dr. Dave Hone is a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in dinosaurs and pterosaurs. In addition to writing for The Guardian, he blogs at Archosaur Musings, is a contributor to Pterosaur.net, created Ask A Biologist, and has published more than 50 academic papers on dinosaur biology. His latest book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, is now available from Bloomsbury Publishing. Few visitors to the…

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Worms and slugs: A slug Arion spec. commonly found in northern Germany, now known to be used by hitch-hiking nematodes for transportation (Carola Petersen, Hinrich Schulenburg, Kiel University) Biology Zoology 

Worms Use Slugs as Public Transit

By Kate Stone Nematode Worms on the Move Buses and trains may not always be the cleanest ways to get around, but at least they aren’t as messy as slugs, which are a mode of transit in our gardens. According to a new study, slugs and other invertebrates provide essential public transport for small worms in search of food. Nematode worms (including Caenorhabditis elegans) are about a millimeter long and often live in temporary environments, such as a piece of decomposing fruit or other rotting plant material. Because their habitats…

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Cat Videos: Bloomington, Indiana's own Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet. (Photo by Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com) Citizen Science Health Zoology 

Cat Videos Boost Energy, Good Feelings

Do you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cat videos online? If so, that emotional effect may be more profound than you realize. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, apparently does more than simply entertain. It boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions while decreasing negative feelings, according to a new study from Indiana University Media School. Can a Cat Video a Day Keep the Doctor Away? The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of…

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Giant Squid (Photo ©AMNH/P.Rollins) Biology Oceanography Zoology 

Shelf Life Episode 8: Voyage of the Giant Squid

Find out how natural history museum staff transport the body of a giant squid. These animals grow to the size of a school bus, or longer. This episode of the Shelf Life video series focuses on a simple transportation problem– how to  transport the body of a rare giant squid. But long before they were a quandary for customs officials, these mysterious cephalopods fueled fear and folklore all over the world. While they may not breathe fire or devour large ships, the animals that inspired their mythological counterparts are no…

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Hummingbird by Steven Spence Biology Zoology 

Amazing Hummingbirds: Dancing in the Air

Are you wondering how a hummingbird flies? The flight skills of these tiny birds put our airplanes and helicopters to shame. By Steven Spence Dancing in the Air A hummingbird puts fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to shame. Not only can it hover, it can also fly forward, backwards, sideways, and even upside down! During a mating display, the male Anna’s Hummingbird can accelerate up to 385 body lengths (g-force 10) per second during a dive. A Peregrine falcon dives at only 200 body lengths per second, and a Mig-25 fighter…

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A female great spotted woodpecker, photographed in Germany, April 2015 Environment Zoology 

Drumming with the Great Spotted Woodpecker

By Steven Spence Drumroll, Please! May is family time for the great spotted woodpecker. Woodpecker pairs will have begun their courtship at the end of winter, a ritual that involves the male drumming his beak against hollow wood 10 to 20 times in just 2 seconds. This serves to mark his territory and alert a female to his presence. Females will also drum briefly to make themselves known when entering a male’s territory. Click the audio play button below to hear the bird drumming. Great spotted woodpeckers nest in tree…

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Dolphins at sunset along the Indian River Lagoon (Photo courtesy of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University) Biology Oceanography Zoology 

Dolphins and Their Social Networks

By Kate S. They don’t have Twitter accounts, but dolphins are able to form highly complex and dynamic networks of friends, according to a recent study by scientists at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) at Florida Atlantic University. Indian River Lagoon Dolphins Dolphins are known for being highly social animals, so the research team took a closer look at the interactions between bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon and discovered how they mingle and with whom they spend their time. The Indian River Lagoon is a narrow 156-mile long…

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