Animals

Sleeping northern elephant seals on the beach at Año Nuevo State Park, California.

Elephant Seals Take Extreme Power Naps in the Open Ocean

While foraging on deep dives, the marine mammals sleep for about two hours per day in short, ten-minute bursts

Ellie, an 11-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo, video chats with a friend.

Scientists Taught Pet Parrots to Video Call Each Other—and the Birds Loved It

Wild parrots tend to fly in flocks, but when kept as single pets, they may become lonely and bored

Murphy with his new charge

Eagle Who Thought Rock Was an Egg Finally Gets to Be a Dad

A lucky coincidence has given Murphy the opportunity to nurture an eaglet of his own

One of the animal coffins, topped with a part-eel, part-cobra, human-headed figure

Lizard Remains Found Inside 2,500-Year-Old Coffins from Ancient Egypt

Researchers at the British Museum used neutron tomography to get a look inside the still-sealed metal boxes without damaging the artifacts

A guanaco successfully retrieves food from a cup with a lid.

Outsider Animals May Be the Best at Solving Problems

Researchers tested whether hoofed mammals could retrieve food from a lidded cup, and those lower in the pecking order were the most successful

This worm is genetically engineered so some neurons and muscles are fluorescent. Green dots are neurons that respond to cannabinoids, while magenta dots are other neurons.

Tiny Worms Get the Munchies, Too

When dosed with compounds found in cannabis, nematodes eat more and show an even greater preference for their favorite foods

Many giant animals roamed the Earth after non-avian dinosaurs went extinct.

After Dinosaurs Went Extinct, These Ten Giant Creatures Roamed the Earth

Though we often think of the “terrible lizards” as behemoths, many later reptiles and mammals also grew to massive sizes

One-third of the world’s population can’t see the starry band of light in the night sky that makes up the Milky Way (above). The new show “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky” at the National Museum of Natural History looks at the devastating impacts of artificial light.

Planet Positive

Why It’s Time for a Worldwide Lights-Out Program

A new Smithsonian exhibition delves into the issue of light pollution, with easy solutions offering an immediate change

Ravens prey on juvenile desert tortoises.

For Young Threatened Desert Tortoises, These Technologies Have Arrived to Help

Biologists are deploying 3D-printed replicas of hatchlings, lasers and drones to curb predation

The fossil of Icaronycteris gunnelli

Paleontologists Discover 52-Million-Year-Old Bat

The fossil represents the earliest-known species of the flying mammal

A wild Asian elephant in Sri Lanka

Watch This Elephant Peel a Banana With Her Trunk

Pang Pha likely learned to de-skin the yellow fruits while observing her human caretaker in her youth

Now extinct, thylacines are carnivorous marsupials that once roamed freely around Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.

Extinct Tasmanian Tigers May Have Survived Longer Than Previously Thought

Though the last documented thylacine died in 1936, a new study based on alleged sightings suggests the species lived for decades more

Though this particular Arctic ground squirrel died during the Ice Age, these rodents still live in the Yukon Territory and Alaska today.

Cool Finds

This Mummified Ice Age Squirrel Was Found Frozen in Canada

Scientists identified the curled-up creature as an Arctic ground squirrel that likely died while hibernating some 30,000 years ago

A Colorado checkered whiptail

These Lizards Stress-Eat When Loud Military Aircraft Fly Overhead

Colorado checkered whiptails on a U.S. Army base show increased stress levels and altered behavior after noisy jets and helicopters pass by, a study finds

A monk seal in southern Greece. Females tended to give birth on beaches before human hostility drove them into hiding.

Planet Positive

The Mediterranean Monk Seal Is Making a Comeback

The endangered sea creature, known for its reclusive nature, has re-emerged out of the shadows

A view of the more than 2,000 mummified ram skulls found at the temple in Abydos

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover 2,000 Mummified Ram Skulls in Temple of Ramses II

The skulls were likely left as offerings about 1,000 years after the pharaoh's death

An artist’s reconstruction of Rhinesuchus, a rhinesuchid temnospondyl

Paleontologists Uncover Fossil Impressions of Giant, Alligator-Like Amphibians

The find reveals how the creatures swam and relaxed in prehistoric waterways

David Hockney's Dog Painting 19 (1995)

See How History's Great Artists Painted Their Dogs

A new exhibition showcases portraits of pets by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and David Hockney

Dairy farms like this one run by the Barstow family in Hadley, Massachusetts, make smart use of a substance cows produce in abundance.

How Dairy Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money

These New Englanders have found a way to help the planet and convert more than 9,000 tons of cow waste annually into electricity

Dill, Jalapeño and Gherkin, the three newly hatched radiated tortoises at the Houston Zoo.

90-Year-Old Tortoise Fathers His First Offspring at Houston Zoo

Critically endangered radiated tortoises don’t reproduce often, so this is a win for the species

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