NOAA discovers a new, beautifully weird sea creature

Exceptionally high-quality videos allow scientists to formally introduce a remarkable new comb jelly.

  • Gorgeous simplicity characterizes the comb jelly recently discovered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
  • The small denizen of the deep was spotted three times beneath the waters off Puerto Rico.
  • Though it's unusual to formally identify an animal strictly based on video observations, the quality of NOAA's video made it possible in a case where there's no better alternative.
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A Chinese plant has evolved to hide from humans

Researchers document the first example of evolutionary changes in a plant in response to humans.

Credit: MEDIAIMAG/Adobe Stock
  • A plant coveted in China for its medicinal properties has developed camouflage that makes it less likely to be spotted and pulled up from the ground.
  • In areas where the plant isn't often picked, it's bright green. In harvested areas, it's now a gray that blends into its rocky surroundings.
  • Herbalists in China have been picking the Fritillaria dealvayi plant for 2,000 years.
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Here’s a map of Mars with as much water as Earth

A 71% wet Mars would have two major land masses and one giant 'Medimartian Sea.'

Image: A.R. Bhattarai, reproduced with kind permission
  • Sci-fi visions of Mars have changed over time, in step with humanity's own obsessions.
  • Once the source of alien invaders, the Red Planet is now deemed ripe for terraforming.
  • Here's an extreme example: Mars with exactly as much surface water as Earth.
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Love avocados? Thank the toxodon

Avocado evolved in the warming climates of Central America during the Neogene period, roughly 10 million years ago.

David McNew/Getty Images

Given avocado's popularity today, it's hard to believe that we came close to not having them in our supermarkets at all.

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Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why.

The planet that we are searching for is a little bit smaller and closer than we originally thought.

  • Years ago, California Institute of Technology professor Konstantin Batygin was inspired to embark on a journey of discovering what lurked beyond Neptune. What he and his collaborator discovered was a strange field of debris.
  • This field of debris exhibited a clustering of orbits, and something was keeping these orbits confined. The only plausible source would be the gravitational pull of an extra planet—Planet Nine.
  • While Planet Nine hasn't been found directly, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. And Batygin is confident we'll return to a nine-planet solar system within the next decade.
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