20 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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Grandmas may be key to species survival, says new study

New research on killer whales may shine a light on the evolutionary power of menopause.

Photo Credit: Dan Antoche-Albisor / Getty Images
  • New research on killer whales suggests that post-menopausal grandmothers play a powerful role in the survival of generations that follow them.
  • "The Grandmother Hypothesis," theorizes that by surviving long past menopause, a woman improves the survival and reproduction of her children's children and, thus, her own genes.
  • Not only do grandma whales help raise and share their own food with their grandoffspring, they bequeath decades of foraging wisdom onto the next generation, guiding them to the best feeding spots.
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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Is the way we choose which animals to protect out of date?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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World’s oldest forest found in New York state​

The 385-million-year-old fossils show that trees evolved modern features millions of years earlier than previously estimated.

  • The world's oldest forest fossils were located in an abandoned quarry near Cairo, New York.
  • Research of site specimens suggests that the forebearers to modern plants evolved much earlier than expected.
  • The findings help scientists better understand how trees advanced life's evolutionary trajectory to land during a critical period.
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Is it possible to have too many trees?

Thinning forests in the Western United States can save billions of gallons of water per year and improve conservation efforts.

  • Recent research indicates that dense forests in the Sierra Nevada drain billions of gallons of water from the watershed each year.
  • Unusually dense tree stands degrade the vitality of the land, plants, animals, and even the trees.
  • Experts recommend managing forest restoration through controlled fires and the thinning of small, fire-prone trees.
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