Environment

Bizarre New Virus Discovered Beneath The Ocean Floor

Photo credit: David Valentine. Submersible used to collect samples

They may seem inhospitable to us, but organisms manage to find ways to survive and even thrive in Earth’s most extreme environments. Deep beneath the ocean floor, for example, scientists have found an abundance of different microbes, including bacteria, archaea—ancient single-celled organisms constituting one of the three major domains of life—and fungi.

Plants and Animals

Rats Recognize Expressions Of Pain

Photo credit: photolinc / Shutterstock

Much like humans, rats can show facial expressions of pain, screwing up their little faces when something is hurting them. Their expressions are actually so telling that one group of scientists even developed a grimace scale that can be used to deduce how much pain a rat is in. While this indicates that rodents are capable of expressing emotions, what remained hazy was whether these are merely products of some physiological reaction, or whether they can be used to communicate information to other rats.

Plants and Animals

What Happens When Hummingbirds Fly In A Wind Tunnel?

Photo credit: Birdiegal / Shutterstock

Hummingbirds are aerial acrobatics that dart, swoop, flit and fly at super fast speeds, their wings flapping up to 80 times per second and their heart racing at 1,200 beats per minute. When feeding, they zip from flower to flower, sipping sugary nectar and dashing off again. This high-energy lifestyle requires lots of calories, which means they need to drink their weight in nectar every day to survive. 

Plants and Animals

Formidable Fire Ants Kill And Munch On Baby Caimans

Photo credit: Elliotte Rusty Harold / Shutterstock

Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are nasty little critters. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever accidentally stood on one of their mounds, because it doesn’t take long for the aggressive insects to swarm up your legs and start striking you en masse, leaving you peppered with painful and irritating stings.

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