Bees are vital to the world’s food supply. To educate schoolchildren about the importance of honeybees, the Sweet Virginia Foundation is using a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. The kids get up close and personal with the insects, donning beekeeper suits and actually interacting with a buzzing hive.
Every dog owner is familiar with the ‘puppy dog eyes’ expression. As the inner brow lifts, the eyes get bigger and bigger … It’s tempting to interpret this as a plea from a sad dog for a scrap of the family dinner. Now, a small study provides support for the idea that dogs do indeed produce facial expressions to communicate with people — although perhaps just to engage us, rather than to manipulate us.
Two ultradense cores of dead stars have produced a long-awaited cosmic collision, showering scientists with riches.
The event was the first direct sighting of a smashup of neutron stars, which are formed when aging stars explode and leave behind a neutron-rich remnant. In the wake of the collision, the churning residue forged gold, silver, platinum and a smattering of other heavy elements such as uranium, researchers reported October 16 at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Such elements’ birthplaces were previously unknown, but their origins were revealed by the cataclysm’s afterglow.
“It really is the last missing piece” of the periodic table, says Anna Frebel, an astronomer at MIT who was not involved in the research. “This is heaven for anyone working in the field.” After the collision, about 10 times the Earth’s mass in gold was spewed out into space, some scientists calculated.
It’s easy to think that the globe’s vast oceans would be effective barriers to the movement of land animals. An elephant can’t swim across the Pacific, after all. But it turns out that plenty of plants and animals — and even people — have unintentionally floated across oceans from one continent to another. Now comes evidence that tiny, sedentary trapdoor spiders made such a journey millions of years ago. That voyage took them from Africa all the way across the Indian Ocean to Australia.
Moggridgea rainbowi spiders can be found on Kangaroo Island. It sits off the south coast of Australia. These trapdoor spiders build a silk-lined burrow in the ground with a secure-fitting lid, notes Sophie Harrison. She is a biologist in Australia at the University of Adelaide. The burrow and trapdoor provide these spiders with shelter and protection. It also offers them an out-of-sight spot from which to await approaching prey. And it means that the spiders don’t really need to travel more than a few meters (yards) over the course of a lifetime.
A Neandertal child whose partial skeleton dates to around 49,000 years ago grew at the same pace as children do today, with a couple of exceptions. Growth of the child’s spine and brain lagged, a new study finds.
It’s unclear, though, whether developmental slowing in those parts of the body applied only to Neandertals or to Stone Age Homo sapiens as well. If so, environmental conditions at the time — which are currently hard to specify — may have reduced the pace of physical development similarly in both Homospecies.
Scientists have discovered a small octopus city – dubbed Octlantis – a find that suggests members of the gloomy octopus species (Octopus tetricus) are perhaps not the isolated and solitary creatures we thought they were.
Octlantis features dens made out of piles of sand and shells, and is home to up to 15 of the cephalopods, according to marine biologists. They recorded 10 hours of video footage of the site, which lies 10 to 15 metres (33 to 49 feet) under the water and measures 18 by 4 metres (59 by 13 feet).