Plants and Animals

Ants Use Scorched Earth Tactics Against Spiders

Photo credit: Bryce McQuillan via Wikimedia

Ferociously attacking with its sting and its jaws simultaneously, the bulldog ant Myrmecia pyriformis holds the world record for “most dangerous ant.” And in the dry forests of eastern Australia, the ants are the mortal enemies of the social huntsman spider, Delena cancerides. The two species forage at the same time -- starting around twilight and lasting throughout the night -- in the same places.

Plants and Animals

Study of 100 Billion Animals Finds GMOs Safe

Photo credit: USDA

Genetically modified (GM) crops have been used to feed livestock since 1996, and it now makes up to 90% of all animal feed in the United States. Since this introduction, there has been massive controversy surrounding the safety of this practice. Unfortunately, the validity of the conversation has been sullied by anecdotal evidence and “studies” in journals not subjected to peer review that claim GM food causes a host of physical ailments, including cancer. 

Space

Monster Galaxies Gobble Smaller Neighbors to Bulk Up

Photo credit: Some of the many thousands of merging galaxies identified within the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey / Simon Driver and Aaron Robotham, ICRAR

Massive galaxies have stopped making their own stars and started engulfing little nearby galaxies instead, according to a new survey of 22,000 galaxies. Remnants of cannibalized galaxies can still be seen in our own galaxy, but the Milky Way will ultimately get its comeuppance too: We’ll all be devoured by Andromeda in just 5 billion years or so like some chocolate nougat candy bar.

Plants and Animals

Meet Rhinorex: The Aptly-Named “King Nose” Hadrosaur

Photo credit: NCSU

Roughly 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous, Rhinorex condrupus lived out its days eating plants in what is now Utah. This species was a hadrosaur, a family commonly regarded as duck-billed dinosaurs that generally had ornamental crests on top of their heads. While Rhinorex didn’t have the decorative crest, it did have a defining facial feature: an extremely large, hook-shaped nose.

Plants and Animals

Why Parrots Have Unusually Large Brains

Photo credit: Monk parakeets / Steve Baldwin, brooklynparrots.com

Researchers analyzing parrot social networks reveal a sophisticated structure of ever-shifting alliances and competitors, behaviors that have only been well-studied in primates and other mammals. Their advanced cognition allows them to live in complex, dynamic social environments, according to a new study published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

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