The current outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has infected 1,720 and killed 1,136, giving the viral disease a whopping 66 percent fatality rate. And the situation is making public health experts on the ground increasingly nervous. Continue reading Second Worst Ebola Outbreak in History Is Now Killing 66 Percent of People Who Become Infected
Spring is in the air, and the animal kingdom is on the move. Vernal migrations feature everything from fish and birds to big, shaggy mammals and tiny insects. These journeys are about as diverse as the species themselves, but Andy Davis, a University of Georgia ecologist and editor of the journal Animal Migration, says the mass wildlife movements have one important thing in common. Continue reading Twelve Epic Migratory Journeys Animals Take Every Spring
Stretching 3.5 million square miles across northern Africa, the vast sand dunes and rocky plateaus of the Sahara cover more ground than the continental United States. Now, a pair of scientists is making a provocative claim that the world’s largest desert has expanded 10 percent since the early 20th century, effectively adding another Texas-sized chunk. Continue reading What’s Going On With the Sahara Desert?
Say hello to Mansourasaurus shahinae, a 14,000-pound titanosaur that rumbled across the African landscape during the final days of the dinosaurs. Its discovery is answering a long-standing mystery about dinosaur evolution at a time when Earth’s continents began drifting further and further apart.
When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life. Everyone knows that classic line from Disney’s “The Lion King”. Kids and parents might have been slightly less charmed by this variation: The wildebeest must cross the river to eat, and a whole bunch of them die in the process. And then everything in the river gets to feast on their rotting remains. Oh, and their bones continue to leech nutrients into the water even after fish and insects have devoured their flesh. Other organisms also eats the algae that grows on the bones. Basically, some wildebeest need to die, Simba.
Wild elephants can’t be bothered with sleep.
Who could blame them? They have good reasons to stay awake. African elephants need to gobble a few hundred pounds of food a day and stay vigilant of cunning predators. After fitting two elephant matriarchs—female elephants that lead their respective herds—with activity monitors, researchers tracked these elephants through the Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana, for just over a month. Their results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, found that they slept around two hours a night. And on five nights, they didn’t sleep at all.
A newly-discovered peatland in the Congo Basin of central Africa contains an estimated 30.6 billion tons of carbon in its waterlogged soils—equivalent to three times the total annual carbon emissions of every human being alive today.