The mystery of narwhal behavior, solved by chaos theory

Narwhals are chaotic. At least, that’s what researchers thought until they developed a new math-based method to detect patterns in their seemingly irregular movements. Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) are known as the unicorns of the sea due to their distinctive single tusk, which is actually a feeling, enlarged tooth with up to 10 million nerve endings. […]

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Between six ferns: New tropical fern species described by science

Danaea alansmithii Colombia, Amazonas, Río Caquetá. PHOTO: HANNA TUOMISTOResearchers have described six species of ferns new to science from the tropical forests of Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, all in the genus Danaea. “The described species are no tiny or unnoticeable creatures. They range from 20cm to 2m tall” — from 8-79 inches — “and some of them are very common locally,” Janina Keskiniva, […]

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Inside Sierra Leone’s Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (video)

In the 1970s, there were around 20,000 critically endangered western chimpanzees in Sierra Leone. But by 2008, when the most recent census was carried out, there were only around 5,500 western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) left. Like those of its neighbors in West and Central Africa, Sierra Leone’s chimpanzee habitats are shrinking — and so […]

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Behind viral story of bear visiting Nepal hospital lies bigger ailment

KATHMANDU — A bear walks into a hospital unnoticed at around midnight. It licks bloodstains on the floor. At first, the staffers think it’s a big dog, then realize it’s something else. The hospital is abuzz as people start running outside, yelling, “It’s a bear!” They call the police, who arrive at the scene and […]

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‘Comical’ bat not seen in 40 years is found again in a Rwandan park

“When we caught it, we all just looked at it and said, ‘You look ridiculous. Look how big your nose leaf is,’” Jon Flanders, director of endangered species interventions at Bat Conservation International, told Mongabay. The odd-looking creature in their net was a Hill’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hilli)—the first seen since 1981. “We feared the […]

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Top 15 species discoveries from 2021 (Photos)

With humans sending probes to explore Mars and the sun, one might think we’ve already explored the full extent of our own planet. But scientists say we’ve only begun to find and describe the riches here on Earth. “I think most people believe that we know most species on Earth … but in the best-case […]

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