Plants and Animals

Weasel Takes A Wild Ride On A Woodpecker’s Back

Photo credit: Martin Le-May

The now-viral image of a weasel clinging to the back of a woodpecker is not photoshopped, according to wildlife experts and Martin Le-May, the photographer of the picture-perfect moment.

Mr. Le-May was talking a stroll with his wife Ann when he caught sight of the bird squawking in distress. “I soon realized it was a woodpecker with some kind of small mammal on its back," said Le-May to BBC News.

Space

Methane-Based Life Forms Could Exist On Titan

Photo credit: A representation of a 9-nanometer azotosome, about the size of a virus, with a piece of the membrane cut away to show the hollow interior / James Stevenson

Nearly all living organisms on Earth have water-based structures around their cells called phospholipid bilayers. These keep water in (or out), and they shelter the insides of our cells from the rest of the world. Now, according to a study based entirely on computer modeling, small molecules in oxygen-free environments may be capable of forming compartments that resemble these lipid membranes.

Environment

Long-Lost City Discovered Deep Within Honduras Rainforest

Photo credit: University of Houston. LiDAR mapping of the Honduran rainforest allowed archaeologists to find areas of topography that demonstrate human influence

The first archaeological expedition to a lost ancient city in eastern Honduras has returned with exciting new discoveries. The explorers have come back with a treasure trove of images, yet have barely scratched the surface of what the city has to reveal about a culture so forgotten it lacks even a name.

Plants and Animals

Populations Of Giant Pandas Rebound in China

Photo credit: apiguide/Shutterstock

Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) have been categorized by the IUCN Red List as endangered since 1990. Conservation efforts to boost panda population levels have been met with a number of challenges and making meaningful gains has been slow. However, some good news has come at last, following the release of the fourth National Giant Panda Survey from China. The number of wild giant pandas has increased significantly, along with an increase in the animals’ geographical range as well.

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