Animals Animals

Animals

Bai Yun, the mother of newly named panda cub, Mei Sheng, gets a mouthful of bamboo during the cub's first day on display at the San Diego Zoo on Dec. 17, 2003. China is working on sending a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo. Lenny Ignelzi/AP hide caption

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Lenny Ignelzi/AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. Gila monster bites are often painful to humans, but normally aren't deadly, experts say. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

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Ted S. Warren/AP

This 2019 photo provided by the National Park Service, shows a mountain lion known as P-47 in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area west of Los Angeles. A cougar attacked five cyclists in Washington state over the weekend. AP hide caption

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AP
Julius Csotonyi

One woolly mammoth's journey at the end of the Ice Age

Lately, paleoecologist Audrey Rowe has been a bit preoccupied with a girl named Elma. That's because Elma is ... a woolly mammoth. And 14,000 years ago, when Elma was alive, her habitat in interior Alaska was rapidly changing. The Ice Age was coming to a close and human hunters were starting early settlements. Which leads to an intriguing question: Who, or what, killed her? In the search for answers, Audrey traces Elma's life and journey through — get this — a single tusk. Today, she shares her insights on what the mammoth extinction from thousands of years ago can teach us about megafauna extinctions today with guest host Nate Rott.

One woolly mammoth's journey at the end of the Ice Age

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Jason Edwards/Getty Images

Chris Dollar steers his boat on the Ware River in Gloucester, Virginia in September. A charter fishing captain and conservation advocate, Dollar said he sees fewer fish in the bay and its tributaries than he used to. Schools of menhaden that used to be "the size of a football field" have shrunk to "maybe a tennis court," he said. Katherine Hafner/WHRO News hide caption

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Katherine Hafner/WHRO News

A small fish is at the center of a big fight in the Chesapeake Bay

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A stunned iguana lies on the sidewalk after having fallen from a tree on Jan. 6, 2010, in Surfside, Fla. Very cold temperatures can stun the invasive reptiles into a state called brumation. But the iguanas won't necessarily die. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption

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Wilfredo Lee/AP

Manny and Cayenne wrestle and kiss. LA Johnson/NPR hide caption

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LA Johnson/NPR

Manny loves Cayenne. Plus, 5 facts about queer animals for Valentine's Day

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Ninety-seven percent of migratory fish species are facing extinction. Whale sharks, the world's largest living fish, are among the endangered. Ullstein Bild/Ullstein Bild hide caption

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Ullstein Bild/Ullstein Bild

A dog dressed in a Patrick Mahomes jersey and its owner enter the Power and Light Entertainment District as fans prepare to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. Kyle Rivas/Getty Images hide caption

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Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

Clownfish might be counting their potential enemies' stripes

At least, that's what a group of researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University thinks. The team recently published a study in the journal Experimental Biology suggesting that Amphiphrion ocellaris, or clown anemonefish, may be counting. Specifically, the authors think the fish may be looking at the number of vertical white stripes on each other as well as other anemonefish as a way to identify their own species. Not only that — the researchers think that the fish are noticing the minutiae of other anemonefish's looks because of some fishy marine geopolitics.

Clownfish might be counting their potential enemies' stripes

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A sea otter in the estuarine water of Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay, Calif. Emma Levy hide caption

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Emma Levy

California sea otters nearly went extinct. Now they're rescuing their coastal habitat

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An octopus named Oktavius swims in Berlin's Sealife aquarium, July 20, 2021, marking his first birthday. The young octopus' tentacles spanned about two meters. Paul Zinken/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Paul Zinken/AFP via Getty Images
Raimund Linke/Getty Images

Why wolves are thriving in this radioactive zone

In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, releasing radioactive material into northern Ukraine and Belarus. It was the most serious nuclear accident in history. Over one hundred thousand people were evacuated from the surrounding area. But local gray wolves never left — and their population has grown over the years. It's seven times denser than populations in protected lands elsewhere in Belarus. This fact has led scientists to wonder whether the wolves are genetically either resistant or resilient to cancer — or if the wolves are simply thriving because humans aren't interfering with them.

Why wolves are thriving in this radioactive zone

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Kids who have dogs get a boost in physical activity - especially young girls. Kristina Kamburova Photography/Getty Images hide caption

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Kristina Kamburova Photography/Getty Images

Do your kids want a dog? Science may be on their side

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This photo provided by David Lei shows Flaco the owl on April 28, 2023, in New York. As Flaco enters his second year in the spotlight, it can be easy to forget that his freedom is the result of a crime, one that has improbably remained unsolved for a year. David Lei via AP hide caption

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David Lei via AP

Groundhog Day 2024: Trademark, bankruptcy, and the dollar that failed

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Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous of the weather-predicting rodents that emerge on Groundhog Day — but in some areas, female groundhogs are the ones making the call. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

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Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Spiderwebs can act as air filters that catch environmental DNA from terrestrial vertebrates, scientists say. Rob Stothard/Getty Images hide caption

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Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Need to track animals around the world? Tap into the 'spider-verse,' scientists say

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A naked mole rat on display in the Small Mammal House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Roshan Patel, Smithsonian's National Zoo hide caption

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Roshan Patel, Smithsonian's National Zoo

Murder and mayhem at the zoo: a naked mole rat war of succession

An all-out "naked mole rat war" has broken out at Smithsonian's National Zoo, after the queen of the colony was mortally wounded by one of her own children. Short Wave's Pien Huang and Margaret Cirino visit the battleground – a series of deceptively calm-looking plexiglass enclosures at the Zoo's Small Mammal House. There, the typically harmonious, eusocial rodents are now fighting their siblings with their big front teeth to determine who will become the new queen. Pien and Marge talk with zookeeper Kenton Kerns about what led to this violent succession drama, the stress he feels in witnessing his first naked mole rat war and how he hopes it will resolve.

Murder and mayhem at the zoo: a naked mole rat war of succession

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Scientists have found that artificial light can interfere with many insects' ability to position themselves relative to the sky. Scott Linstead / Science Source hide caption

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Scott Linstead / Science Source

'Like moths to a flame'? Here's what's going on with insects and porch lights

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