We like to think that human speech is special. It defines our species and separates us from those animals that we’d rather think of as inferior. The trouble is that it’s difficult to know when and how human speech arose because “language expressed via speech leaves no fossils behind.”
Researchers have discovered that Atlantic killifish are now 8,000 times more resilient to high levels of toxic waste than other fish, allowing them to survive extreme levels of pollution that would normally be deadly. It sounds like an evolutionary success story, but examples like this are exceptionally rare in the animal kingdom.
Years ago, Danny Abrams heard about a strange phenomenon: Deer skeletons were being found beside trees in the forests of the Midwest. These male deer had apparently gotten their massive, unwieldy antlers caught in the branches, where they’d found themselves trapped. Unable to find food or flee predators, they quickly met their demise.
DIVE DEEP ENOUGH under the surface of the ocean, and light reigns. Some 90 percent of the fish and crustaceans that dwell at depths of 100 to 1,000 meters are capable of making their own light. Flashlight fish hunt and communicate with a flashing Morse code sent by light pockets that pulse under their eyes. Tubeshoulder fish shoot luminous ink at their attackers. Hatchetfish make themselves appear invisible by generating light on their underbellies to mimic downwelling sunlight; predators prowling below look up to see only a continuous glow.
Plants employ a wide variety of tactics to lure pollinators, but an ornamental plant popularly known as Giant Ceropegia takes it to another level. Its flower smells like a honeybee under attack—an odor that freeloading, meal-seeking flies find absolutely irresistible.
By building a gigantic petri dish, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have produced a jaw-dropping visualization showing bacteria as it mutates to become resistant to drugs.