These 9 U.S. biodiversity hotspots urgently need protection

Project to map global 'species richness' highlights the variety of biodiversity itself

Image courtesy of Clinton Jenkins
  • Biodiversity is essential for ecosystems – and humanity – to survive
  • These maps show the diversity of biodiversity itself: the hotspots are all over the place
  • Compounding U.S. biodiversity data produces a list of 9 'Recommended Priority Areas', most in need of protection
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Something weird and wonderful is at a Paris zoo

The blob that's astonishing science gets its own exhibit.

Image source: Simia Attentive/Shutterstock
  • In recognition of its amazing traits, a zoo has just invited slime mold into its ranks.
  • Neither plant, and probably not a fungus, slime molds may represent a major turning point in our understanding of intelligence.
  • Of course, the French zoo is calling it "Le Blob."
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Has Jurassic Park fostered misunderstanding about extinction?

While the blockbuster franchise might have given us a distorted view of science's capabilities to address species extinction, new research might come close to "resurrecting" lost species' DNA.

Image source: Universal / Getty Images
  • Jurassic Park has fueled public misconceptions about science's abilities to bring extinct species back to life.
  • De-extinction technology can resurrect genetic material from extinct species into their living relatives in a way that can assist conservation efforts.
  • Fostering empathy for other-than-human lives through stories might be the key to addressing the current ecological catastrophe.
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Watch: Octopus changes colors while (possibly) dreaming

Octopuses are known to rapidly change colors during sleep, but it's still unclear whether they dream like humans do.

Image source: PBS
  • The clip is from an upcoming PBS TV show called "Octopus: Making Contact."
  • Octopuses have thousands of color-changing cells under their skin called chromatophores that can change colors almost instantly.
  • Scientists, however, still aren't sure exactly how octopuses coordinate all of these color-changing cells to form particular patterns.
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Why elephant hunting has a 'drastic' impact on our global climate

The loss of elephants accelerates climate change.

Image source: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock
  • Elephants help keep the central African forests they live in healthy.
  • Without elephants, the forests see a striking reduction in their carbon dioxide-storage capacity.
  • Study calls elephants "natural forest managers."
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