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Exoplanets May Help Us Understand How Venus Turned Into a Hell Planet

Exo-Venus analogs orbiting other stars can help us learn about how Venus came to resemble the hellscape we know today.<p>The planet Venus is by all accounts a pretty hellish place. Pressures at its surface are 92 times greater than the air pressure on Earth, its temperatures soar to over 900 degrees …

Science

How This New Probe Will Hunt for 'Alien' Earths

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will find whole new worlds at the right distances for us to spot signs of life.<p><b>Editor’s Note:</b> <i>This story was updated at 7:05 p.m. ET on April 18</i>.<p>This evening, NASA’s next planet hunter took to the skies aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape …

Universe

These seals haven’t lost their land ancestors’ hunting ways

Clawed pawlike forelimbs help true seals hunt like their land-dwelling ancestors.

Seals

This meteorite’s diamonds hint that it was born in a lost planet

Bits of metal nestled inside diamonds suggest the space rock could have formed in a Mars-sized protoplanet in the early solar system.

Geology

Museum researchers rediscover animal not seen in 30 years: San Quintin kangaroo rat found in Baja California will be subject of a conservation plan

San Quintin kangaroo rat found in Baja California will be subject of a conservation plan<p>Researchers have rediscovered the San Quintin kangaroo rat …

Conservation

These Newly Discovered Ants Explode Their Guts All Over Their Enemies

Gross but effective weapon.<p>When it comes to defending the nest, ants have developed a whole bunch of unique and painful ways to stop their enemies. …

A Bunch of Bizarre Deep-Sea Creatures Have Been Found in Javan Waters

Go home, ocean, you're drunk.<p>The first scientific expedition to the depths of the Indian Ocean southwest of Java has returned with some amazing …

Zoology

Juno Shows What's Going On Beneath Jupiter's Clouds

Jupiter may be one of the most recognizable sights in the solar system, but it still manages to surprise us. (And not just the everyday folks …

Astronomy

Meet the Fish With a Switchblade on Its Face

Deadly fish known for their spikes and venom may pack a newfound weapon — switchblades on their faces, some of which can fluoresce green, a new study …

Dinosaurs

How Deep-Sea Fish Are So Exceptionally Black

In the darkness of the oceans' depth, fish have evolved a strategy to become nearly invisible to prey.<p>In the vast, featureless darkness of the oceans, fish take camouflage to a new art form. How do you blend in with <i>nothing?</i><p>Viperfish and creatures like it have evolved ever blacker—we're talking …

Fish

Photo: Watch this cute little spider do cute little spider things

We have a soft spot for jumping spiders, which are members of the largest family of spiders, Salticidae. Not only are they just adorable – those big …

Cute

Colorful moth wings date back to the dinosaur era

Microscopic structures that scatter light to give color to the wings of modern butterflies and moths date back almost 200 million years.

Paleontology

Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations

Researchers are asking big questions about animal movements and pest control by tracking tiny insects in flight.

Birds

Weird subterranean plant not seen in 150 years re-emerges from the underworld

This is the first photograph ever taken of the bizarre species.<p>In 1866, an Italian botanist named Odoardo Beccari was scouring through the jungles of …

Nature

New Species of 'Indestructible' Animal Found in Surprising Place

Discovered in a parking lot in Japan, the tardigrade species could provide clues for how the animal has changed over time.<p>Tardigrades are microscopic, resilient organisms that might just outlive the Sun—and their known world just got a little bigger.<p>Kazuharu Arakawa, a researcher at Tokyo's Keio …

4 ways animals sense a world invisible to humans

<b>Humans think we get it all, but there's so much more than meets the eye.</b><p>Biologist Edward O. Wilson says that we sense less of the physical world …

This adorable, thumbnail-sized pygmy squid is a new species

It's a familiar story: when it comes to getting our attention, bigger, more charismatic species have an undeniable advantage. And it's no different …

Zoology

These femmes fatales reveal the dark side of fireflies

<b>Trickster vixens from the genus Photuris lure males of other firefly groups to their gruesome demise.</b><p>Fireflies are magical. They are romantic; …

Six Things That Make Life on Earth Possible

ONE STRANGE ROCK<p>6 THINGS THAT MAKE LIFE ON EARTH POSSIBLE<p>Earth is well equipped as a planet and ideally placed in our solar system and galaxy to support life as we know it. The product of some 4.6 billion years of cosmic construction, our planet is flush with life thanks to a fortuitous set of …

Meet the newest New World canopy beetle species. 'Gazillions' await discovery.

“Somber” is the adjective Smithsonian beetle expert Terry Erwin uses to describe the insects he collects on the forest floor in Peru and Ecuador. …

'Completely new form of 3-D vision' found in praying mantises

Miniature 3-D glasses for praying mantises are a great idea, even if only for the entertainment value. We get to enjoy photos like the one above, …

3D

The wiring for walking developed long before fish left the sea

These strange walking fish might teach us about the evolutionary origins of our own ability to walk.

Venus Flytraps Have Surprising Pollinators ... and They Don't Eat Them

Researchers have identified which species are responsible for pollinating the carnivorous plants, but it's unclear why the plants don't eat them.<p>Out of the more than 600 species of carnivorous plants, the Venus flytrap is one of the most iconic. The arthropod assassins are known to dine on insects …

First New Species of Temperate Conifer Tree Discovered in More Than a Decade

The Ulleungdo hemlock, found on a small Korean island, is likely already endangered, but it may hold the key to fighting invasive species.<p>It's not every day—or even every decade—that a new species of conifer is found in the world's temperate forests. But late last year, researchers announced a new …

Hawaiian crows return from extinction in wild

The 'alalā went extinct in the wild in 2002, but a captive breeding program is preserving hope that this species can still be saved.<p>After living in …

Birds

Eastern Cougars Declared Extinct—But That Might Not be Bad

The elusive big cats vanished from the northeastern U.S. nearly 100 years ago, but their western cousins may be expanding their range.<p>"Cougars are very cryptic animals," says Michael Robinson from the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity.<p>He's referencing the fact that …

Divers just found newest members of the world's rarest fish club

A team of divers has discovered a new community of what could be the world's rarest fish — the red handfish — potentially doubling the fish's …

Seafloor

This sweet-looking kitty is one of Africa's deadliest cats

Don't make the mistake of letting this creature's adorableness fool you: The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) of southern Africa is among the …

Wildlife

The Secret World of Dragonflies

Big-Eyed, Fluffy-Tailed Lemur Species Discovered

The newly identified dwarf lemur is smaller than a squirrel and lives in rainforest canopies.<p>With their giant, round black eyes, nubby little ears, fluffy tails, and grabby hands, Madagascar's newest lemur species is hard not to love.<p>Scientists recently identified and named the new species Groves' …