The sting of a box jellyfish can kill a person in minutes. Scientists have long sought to figure out the secret of its fast-acting venom, which also causes agony, inflammation, and heart attacks. A new study may have the answer—and a potential antidote.
The quest for blue pigments—whose complex chemistry makes them rare in nature and difficult to synthesize—dates back millennia. Most were discovered by accident or are merely synthetic versions of blues already found in nature. In 2009, a chemist stumbled on the first new inorganic blue pigment in 200 years. Today, other researchers are continuing that quest by methodically using physics, chemistry, and genetics to create new blues to dazzle us with.
Thirteen new radio-collared wolves are now scouting Isle Royale in Michigan and feasting on moose, whose numbers this winter reached 2060—the second highest estimate since ecologists began to study predators and prey on the island in 1958. The new wolves, imported to help restore the U.S. national park from overbrowsing by moose, are largely avoiding the territory of the remaining two wolves of the original Isle Royale population. Twenty female moose are also sporting radio collars, allowing biologists to watch both wolf and moose movements online.
Amphipods—small, shrimplike crustaceans in most aquatic ecosystems—start to fall apart once they hit depths of 4500 meters. There, a combination of crushing pressures, low temperature, and higher acidity causes the calcium carbonate in their exoskeletons to dissolve, making them vulnerable to pressure and predators. Now, scientists have discovered how one species, Hirondellea gigas, can survive in the deepest part of the ocean: with aluminum suits of armor.
The golden eagle has been hunted and revered by human cultures for thousands of years. Yet this may not have been a uniquely human devotion—Neanderthals, too, may have targeted these impressive birds of prey some 130,000 years ago, according to new research. What’s more, modern humans may have learned their eagle-catching techniques from their hominin cousins.