tech and geek stuff
Three amazing nature areas shortlisted for World Heritage status
Qinghai Hoh Xil: home to antelopes, yaks, bears and wolvesIUCN Chimed Ochir BazarsadBy Andy CoghlanThree sites of outstanding biodiversity could soon be granted World Heritage status, and so receive new...
Frog skeleton allows them to jump horizontally or vertically
Royal Veterinary College/PA Wire By New Scientist staff and Press AssociationFrogs have a unique skeleton made for jumping that evolved over hundreds of millions of years, new research has shown. Precise...
Hundreds of newly-discovered plants may yield new crops or drugs
By New Scientist staff and Press Association Kew More than 1,700 new plants have been discovered in the past year, including species that could help provide food in the future, a major report reveals....
Time flies: Insect fossils in amber shed light on India's geological history
Researchers have identified three new species of insects encased in Cambay amber dating from over 54 million years ago. Researchers describe the new species of fungus gnats, which provide further clues...
Tiny invasive sea creatures hitch a ride in rabbitfish guts
All aboard for a trip to the Mediterranean SeaWaterFrame/Alamy Stock PhotoBy Chelsea WhyteIt’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Suez Canal. Tiny invasive creatures thumb a ride inside the gut of rabbitfish,...
Fossil 'winged serpent' is a new species of ancient snake, doctoral student finds
An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper,...
Hanging on: In search of the bat that returned from the dead
The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat was thought to be extinctOliver Wearn/ZSLBy Oliver WearnIn the pitch dark, the beam of a head torch illuminates hundreds of bats encircling a silhouetted figure in front...
Eggs four times bigger than ostriches’ reveal a giant dinosaur
Zhao Chuang/PA WireBy New Scientist staff and Press AssociationA clutch of enormous fossil eggs from China has led to the discovery of a new species of giant bird-like dinosaur. Flightless Beibeilong...
Meet ‘Neo’, the most complete skeleton of Homo naledi ever found
Meet Neo – a rising starWits University/John HawksBy Colin BarrasIt’s the cave that keeps on giving. Almost four years ago, researchers recovered 1500 ancient human bones and teeth from a rocky chamber...
Ancient humans: What we know and still don’t know about them
The story of human evolution is a complicated oneDonSmith/Alamy By Colin BarrasIn recent weeks, we have explored the brain of a species called Homo naledi, speculated on the idea that Neanderthals might...
'First arrival' hypothesis in Darwin's finches gets some caveats
Being first in a new ecosystem provides major advantages for pioneering species, but the benefits may depend on just how competitive later-arriving species are. That is among the conclusions in a new study...
Homo naledi is only 250,000 years old – here’s why that matters
Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Colin Barras In 2013, Lee Berger at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues made an extraordinary discovery – deep inside a South African...
This newly-discovered ant species is named after Radiohead
Myrmecologists from the Smithsonian Institution's Ant Lab in Washington DC have discovered three new species of ant, one of which is named after British band Radiohead."We wanted to honor their music"...
Mystery human hobbit ancestor may have been first out of Africa
The tiny Indonesian hominin may have descended from a species that left Africa 2 million years agoKatrina KennyBy Alice KleinThe identity of the mysterious Homo floresiensis, aka the hobbit, has once...
Pesticide maker Dow Chemical tries to kill risk study
WASHINGTON — Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration that’s open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful...
Bears breed across species borders
Scientists have sequenced the entire genomes of four bear species, making it now possible to analyze the evolutionary history of all bears at the genome level. It shows that gene flow, or gene exchange,...
Signs of trouble for birds in one very green state
MONTPELIER, Vt. — The bird population in Vermont’s forests has declined 14.2 percent over 25 years, largely due to several factors, including invasive species, climate change, and the natural cycle of...
The bright lights of big cities help blackbirds thrive
Cut out for city life?Arterra/UIG via GettyBy Julianna PhotopoulosLight pollution is a problem for many animals, but at least one bird seems to welcome it. European blackbirds choose to nest near street...
Three new species of extinct South American marsupials discovered
The discovery of three extinct species and new insights to a fourth indicates a little-known family of marsupials, the Palaeothentidae, was diverse and existed over a wide range of South America as recent...
Deep learning tells giraffes from gazelles in the Serengeti
Caught on camerahttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/By Matt ReynoldsComputers are playing spot the difference in the Serengeti. An image-recognition algorithm that can identify different...
World’s largest canary discovered on island of giants and dwarfs
Large beak led to confusionAlexandre VazBy Sandhya SekarSpecies: São Tomé grosbeak (Crithagra concolor) Habitat: Endemic to the rainforests of São Tomé island, Gulf of Guinea, West Africa Deep within...
New species evolve faster as mountains form
Mountains, like rainforests, are hotbeds of biodiversity. But scientists aren't sure why. For years, they've thought that it might be related to the new environments that arise when mountains form -- as...
Tyrannosaurs show their sensitive side
A team of researchers has found a new species of tyrannosaur dinosaur -- the most popular of the prehistoric creatures. After the fossils were pulled out of the muddy banks of a Montana river, the team...
Scientists investigate Tasmanian tiger sightings
Is Australia’s extinct thylacine — a striped, dog-like marsupial commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger — not extinct after all? Recent alleged thylacine sightings convinced scientists at James Cook University...
UK plans to bring 20 species back from brink of extinction
Chequered skipper butterfly is on the ‘to save’ listIain Leech/Heritage Lottery Fund/PA WireBy New Scientist staff and Press AssociationEfforts to save some of the UK’s rarest species from extinction...
Flying foxes are facing extinction on islands across the world
Hunted for foodClaude Balcaen/FLPABy Brian OwensFlying foxes are in deep trouble. Almost half the species of this type of fruit bat are now threatened with extinction. The bats face a variety of threats,...
Weird T. rex forerunner had small horns and crocodile-like snout
We weren’t kidding when we said the horns were smallDino PuleràBy Chelsea WhyteThere’s a new tyrannosaur on the block, and it seems it was quite sensitive. This predecessor of T. rex, Daspletosaurus horneri,...
Biologists find surprising variability in courtship behaviors of wolf spiders
Studies of wolf spiders found that courtship displays help preserve genetic isolation between closely related species. Another study found that the species Gladicosa bellamyi used multi-modal communication...
Bird-eating spiders?! New tarantula species found
Three new species of massive, furry “birdeater” spiders have been discovered, with dozens more stricken from the grouping.In a new paper published in the open-access journal ZooKeys, researchers cleaned...
Translucent helmeted cockroach looks like an alien with a halo
Slovak Academy of SciencesBy Karl Gruber Species: Helmablatta louisrothi Habitat: Lava caves in Vietnam Advertisement It’s one of the weirdest-looking cockroaches ever known, sporting a huge head with...
Neanderthal teeth tell tales of diet and medicine
Enlarge / The jaw of the El Sidron individual found to be consuming poplar and Penicillium-containing vegetation.Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC reader comments 2 Share this story Around 50,000 years...
Sociable woodpeckers that cooperate have evolved smaller brains
Cooperation may ease the strain on woodpeckers’ brainsWilliam Leaman/Alamy Stock PhotoBy Andy CoghlanIn primates such as humans, living in cooperative societies usually means having bigger brains — with...
Species appears to evolve quickly enough to endure city temperatures
Urban acorn ants collected in Cleveland appear to have taken no more than 100 years -- no more than 20 generations -- to evolve and thrive in their heat-trapping city home. The capability suggests the...
First underwater video footage of the True's beaked whale
The True's beaked whale is a deep-diving mammal so rarely seen that it often defies recognition at sea by researchers. As a result, we have little data about its distribution, abundance and calving rate...
The Amazon forest is the result of an 8,000-year experiment
Brazil nuts scattered at the base of trees in the Amazon. These trees are so common in the Amazon today as a result of human cultivation that began over 8,000 years ago.Lior Golgner reader comments 10...
WW2 bomb craters are a home to rare and vulnerable animals
Useful microhabitatZsófia HorváthBy Kata KaráthSome bombs can help create life. A rich mix of rare saline water species have been found thriving in ponds formed in second world war bomb craters in Hungary....
Study sheds new light on how species extinction affects complex ecosystems
Research has found that methods used to predict the effect of species extinction on ecosystems could be producing inaccurate results. This is because current thinking assumes that when a species vanishes,...
De-extinction dilemma: reviving dead species may doom the living
The resurrection of extinct species may soon be feasible – but expensiveMoviestore Collection/REX/ShutterstockThe resurrection of extinct species, as depicted in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, was until...
New species of bushbaby found in disappearing forests of Angola
What big eyes you haveElena BersacolaBy Sam WongIt’s a dwarf with big eyes, big ears and a big voice. The newly discovered Angolan dwarf galago belongs to the bushbaby family, members of which are found...
Tiny new frog species found in India
Some of the smallest known frogs were recently discovered following a five-year survey in India. Seven new species of “night frogs,” in the Nyctibatrachus genus, include four species that are among the...
Harvard scientists aim to bring back the woolly mammoth
The woolly mammoth went extinct thousands of years ago, but Harvard scientists say they may be inching closer to bringing the beast back to earth — or at least a genetically altered hybrid version.Speaking...
Ant odd couple work together to build and keep a healthy nest
Strange nest-matesPatrick Landmann/GettyBy Karl GruberOne is a massive black ant, the other is a tiny, only distantly related, brown ant. But together they form a perfect team to build and guard a shared...
New Mosquito Trap Smart Enough to Keep Just the Bad Bugs
A smart trap for mosquitoes? A new high-tech version is promising to catch the bloodsuckers while letting friendlier insects escape — and even record the exact weather conditions when different species...
These tiny beetles have evolved to ride ants like horses
reader comments 5 Share this story When army ants stream into the jungles of Costa Rica, they leave death and destruction in their wake. These nomadic group predators eat everything from millipedes to...
Climate threat to wildlife may have been underreported
More than 700 of the world’s threatened and endangered animal species may be directly affected by climate change, according to a new study — vastly more than the number of animal species scientists initially...
Climate change is already battering hundreds of animal species
Under pressureBy Anita MakriClimate change is already harming around 700 species of mammals and birds. That means that warming is not just a theoretical future threat, and conservation work must focus...
Trump admin delays protection for "endangered" bees
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Trump administration on Thursday delayed what would be the first endangered designation for a bee species in the continental U.S., one day before it was to take effect.The U.S....
New beetle species bites army ant’s butt and hitches a ride
Secret hitcherD. KronauerBy Sean MowbraySpecies: Nymphister kronaueri beetle Habitat: Army ant abdomens and nests in rainforests of Costa Rica Moving around the rainforest floor can be tough if you’re...
A new species of gecko with massive scales and tear-away skin
Many lizards can drop their tails when grabbed, but one group of geckos has gone to particularly extreme lengths to escape predation. Fish-scale geckos in the genus Geckolepis have large scales that tear...
How carnivorous plants developed their taste for prey
A new study sheds a bit more light on the unusual, and a bit bizarre, species of carnivorous plants that trap and kill food, instead of drawing their nutrition from sunlight and soil. A large team of...
Crab species gets magical name inspired by "Harry Potter"
A new crab species has been named after two “Harry Potter” characters, and its discovery is an interesting tale in the search for fantastic beasts.Harryplax severus, as the crab has been dubbed, was actually...
Small honor: Tiny moth named for Trump
A miniscule moth with a wingspan of just 0.4 inches is the first species to be named for the soon-to-be president of the United States, Donald Trump.Yellow and white scales topping the moth’s head resemble Trump’s...
Majority of primate species may vanish in next 25 to 50 years
All apes are under threatConservation International/photo by Russell A. MittermeierBy Andy CoghlanThe majority of the world’s primates are in deep trouble. There are as few as 20 or 30 Hainan gibbons...
Does it fart? There’s now a database—and a hashtag—for that
Enlarge / GREAT BRITAIN - JUNE 16: Cows feeding in a cattle pen, Dorset, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)Getty | Tim Graham reader comments 0 Share this story There are loads of interesting...
New global evidence of the role of humans, urbanization in rapid evolution
A new study that examines 1,600 global instances of phenotypic change -- alterations to species' observable traits such as size, development or behavior -- shows more clearly than ever that urbanization...
New species of fish in Hawaii's waters named after Obama
HONOLULU -- When scientists discovered a new species of fish in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, they noticed a distinctive, colorful spot near the tail that bore a striking resemblance...
Klingon newt and Ziggy Stardust snake species discovered
A newt that resembles a Klingon from “Star Trek” and a snake with iridescent rainbow scales that calls to mind David Bowie’s colorful extraterrestrial alter ego Ziggy Stardust are two of 163 new species...
New prehistoric bird species discovered
A new species of bird has been discovered in the Canadian Arctic. At approximately 90 million years old, the bird fossils are among the oldest avian records found in the northernmost latitude, and offer...
Bloody great: Evolution: Climate is a board game “red in tooth and claw”
EnlargeNorth Star Games reader comments 1 Share this story Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com. Evolution:...
New spider species' name inspired by "Harry Potter"
A new spider species has just been discovered, but it already has a doppelganger — the sorting hat from the “Harry Potter” series.Three scientists in India discovered the new spider species and named it...
Google can now track your offline purchases
Google runs the world's largest and most profitably online ad network, but the lion's share of ad dollars still go to TV. The search giant is looking to change that by associating online ads with purchases...
The race to $1,000 – Alphabet and Amazon hit new record highs
Amazon and Alphabet both hit new record highs on Wednesday, as shares of both companies race to $1,000 a pop. Shares of Alphabet are trading up about half a percent, likely on the tail of the company's...
Google’s AlphaGo is playing the world Go champ in China, but nobody can watch it there
WUZHEN, China -- China is hosting a hotly anticipated tournament of Go – a complex, ancient Chinese board game – against a powerful Google computer program, but nobody inside the country can watch. Ke...
Google makes it easier to share photos, notes and more with family members
Because constantly swapping passwords and usernames can be a pain, (if not also a security risk) Google is adding new ways for families to share with each other while still staying logged-on to their...
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its component fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark