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Susan Milius' Articles

  • Bat signals jammed

    Mexican free-tailed bat
    Mexican free-tailed bats can jam each other’s signals while hunting at night. The interference makes snagging an insect supper even more competitive for the flying mammals.
  • News Brief: No hopping for these ancient ‘roos

    supersized kangaroo illustration
    By hopping, today’s kangaroos can scoot swiftly through the countryside. That was not true for some of their ancient cousins. True giants, those now-extinct kangaroos would have walked on two feet — and relied on their tippy-toes.
  • A fish out of water — walks and morphs

    Senegal bichirs fish
    When this modern ‘walking’ fish was raised on land, its body changed. How it adapted resembles some prehistoric fish. These alterations hint at evolutionary changes that may have made life on land possible.
  • Trees: Koala air conditioning

    When koalas sprawl over a tree branch, they may not be lazy. They just might be taking advantage of some natural cooling — enough to survive a heat wave.
  • Pythons seem to have an internal compass

    The giant, Burmese pythons living in Florida’s Everglades like their adopted home. And new research shows they can find their way back to it if people try to move them somewhere else. Not all snakes will do this.
  • Look ma — no stomach

    Many animals can digest their meals without an acid-producing stomach. And research now shows they jettisoned those stomachs a long, long time ago.
  • These ants boast mighty grip

    This Asian weaver ant can dangle a weight more than 100 times heavier than itself without losing its grip on the surface above it. Credit: © Thomas Endlein

    Asian weaver ants boast not one but two superpowers: an extremely good grasp and a super quick backup strategy to keep from losing that grip during emergencies. Researchers reported their new findings in a scientific journal on February 27.

  • Bloodsuckers get out of bed

    nymph

    This story is being written by a person sitting in a bathtub. It doesn’t have water in it, because the person is fully dressed and typing on a laptop computer. This isn’t the most convenient place to work, with a file folder of notes propped on a soap dish and awkward conversations when someone else in the house thumps on the door and asks what's taking so long.

  • When Darwin got sick of feathers

    A peacock’s tail looks gorgeous to us, and probably to the less-decorated female (in front). Yet the tail doesn’t look as if it helps a male survive, which worried Darwin for a while.

    A peacock’s tail looks gorgeous to us, and probably to the less-decorated female (in front). Yet the tail doesn’t look as if it helps a male survive, which worried Darwin for a while.

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