The platypus is headed for extinction, warn Australian scientists

Australia's beloved and bizarre egg-laying mammal could start vanishing in coming years if current trends continue.

  • Platypuses are nocturnal, semiaquatic animals that are endemic to Australia and Tasmania.
  • A new study suggests that the species could lose half its population over the next 50 years, due mainly to drought, human development and climate change.
  • In 2019, the United Nations reported that some 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction.
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Some shark species have evolved to walk

The relatively quick evolution of nine unusual shark species has scientists intrigued.

Image source: Mark Erdmann
  • Living off Australia and New Guinea are at least nine species of walking sharks.
  • Using fins as legs, they prowl coral reefs at low tide.
  • The sharks are small, don't be frightened.
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15 inspiring nature words you didn't know you needed

Hundreds more are documented in Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks.

Photo: Ahmed Saeed / Unsplash
  • In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane revives hundreds of nearly-forgotten words to remind us of our relationship with nature.
  • New dictionaries are deleting nature words while adding technology terms, which Macfarlane states further separates us from the environment.
  • The words we speak shape the reality we understand, making it essential to aptly describe what is happening on the planet.
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Choosing new 'umbrella' species in Australia could save many others

Is the way we choose which animals to protect out of date?

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
  • "Umbrella" species are animals selected for protection because doing so protects other species in the habitat.
  • However, there may be a better, more efficient way of picking umbrella species: ignoring shared habitats and focusing instead on shared threats.
  • Using this new methodology, researchers discovered that seven times as many species could be protected using the same budget.
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The formula that predicts every animal’s life story

Life forms on Earth are wildly varied, but scientists discover a single formula that predicts every one's life cycle.

Image source: Winggo Tse/Unsplash; HelloRF Zcool/Komsan Loonprom/Pixeljoy/Shutterstock; Big Think
  • Earth's species diversity is stunning, but there are a couple of battles we all face.
  • Our response to these challenges set the course of our lives.
  • Plug in a couple of variables, and a new formula predicts how we live, reproduce, and die.
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