Biology

World’s Tallest Tropical Tree Found in Malaysia

The world’s tallest known tropical tree, and possibly the tallest flowering plant, has been discovered in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo, measuring a whopping 328 feet (100.8 m). The view from the bottom of ‘Menara.’ Image credit: Unding Jami / University …

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Researchers Reconstruct Evolutionary History of Passerines

An international team of scientists has reconstructed the tree of life for all major lineages of passerines (perching birds). The Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Image credit: Francis Franklin / CC BY-SA 4.0. The team, led by Louisiana State University researcher Carl Oliveros, extracted and sequenced DNA from 221 specimens …

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Researchers Find Coin-Sized Frogs in Madagascar

An international team led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München scientist Mark Scherz has described a new genus and five new species of tiny frogs from the island of Madagascar. Mini mum in Manombo Special Reserve, lateral view on a thumbnail. Image credit: Scherz et al, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213314. “The five new species belong …

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New Species of Short-Tailed Whip Scorpion Discovered

A duo of arachnologists from Brazil has discovered a new species of short-tailed whip scorpion in eastern Amazon. Male of Surazomus saturninoae: (A) lateral, (B) dorsal and (C) ventral views. Image credit: G.R.S. Ruiz R.M. Valente, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213268. “Schizomida (schizomids) are an order of small arachnids that display short-range endemism …

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Sun Bears Can Mimic Facial Expressions of Their Playmates

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides evidence that sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), a typically solitary species, have the ability to mimic the expressions of their conspecifics and that they do so by matching the exact facial variants they interact with. It is the first time exact …

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Microsoft Automates DNA-Based Data Storage

  Technology has made it easier than ever to create content, be it photos, video, or an angsty Tumblr blog. You might have a device in your pocket right now that can record 4K video at dozens of megabits per second. In 2018, humanity created 33 zettabytes (that’s 33 billion …

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First Neuroscientific Evidence that Humans Have Geomagnetic Sense

An international team of neuroscientists and geoscientists from Caltech, the University of Tokyo, Princeton University and Tokyo Institute of Technology has discovered that the human brain can detect Earth-strength magnetic fields. Wang et al report a strong, specific human brain response to ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields. Image credit: …

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Scientists Discover New Stiletto Snake Species in Africa

A new species of stiletto snake has been discovered living in the rainforests of Liberia and Guinea. The Branch’s stiletto snake (Atractaspis branchi) in its natural habitat. Image credit: Mark-Oliver Rödel. The stiletto snakes, also known as burrowing asps, are members of Atractaspis, a genus with over 20 validly described …

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