Nature

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Stinging trees grow in rainforests throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales in Australia. The most commonly known (and most painful) species is Dendrocnide moroides (Family Urticaceae), first named “gympie bush” by gold miners near the town of Gympie in the 1860s. My first sting was from a different species Dendrocnide photinophylla (the shiny-leaf stinging
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An international team of scientists has discovered evidence of common bacteria living so far underground and away from sunlight that we may have to re-evaluate the habitability of deep subsurface ecosystems – including those of alien worlds. There’s a deep terrestrial environment – sometimes called the ‘dark biosphere’ – that extends hundreds of metres into
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Animals don’t always stick to traditional menus, and they certainly don’t read the descriptions of their diets we include in textbooks. When it recently emerged that a notorious carnivore (a shark) was actually selecting the vegetarian option, scientists were intrigued. We’ve known for some time that bonnethead sharks consume large quantities of seagrass, but this
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A magnitude 7.5 earthquake has struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a 1.8-metre (6-foot) tsunami. The wave tore through several of the island’s coastal cities and towns, including the capital Palu, on Friday. The devastating quake has been followed by multiple strong aftershocks, and comes shortly after a magnitude 6.1
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Clever and strange, octopuses are fascinating creatures with incredible problem-solving skills and breathtaking camouflage. But overall, they are short-lived, typically around for just one to two years. That’s because they’re semelparous, which means they reproduce just once before they die. With female octopuses, once she’s laid her eggs, that’s it. In fact, the mother even stops
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For the first time, scientists have discovered all-female termite colonies, living and flourishing in Japan. While we know of several insect species that easily thrive without any males, this is an exciting new development in our understanding of asexual reproduction. Most species on this planet reproduce sexually, requiring both male and female gametes in order
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Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the nation’s largest protected area, stretches over half-a-million square miles of sea and land in Hawaii. It also includes wonderfully odd and stretchy critters, as a research team aboard the exploration vessel Nautilus observed Thursday. The Nautilus, operated by the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust, has been streaming excursions online since 2012. (The Nautilus team
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For centuries, humans have endeavoured to discover and describe the sum of Earth’s biological diversity. Scientists and naturalists have catalogued species from all continents and oceans, from the depths of Earth’s crust to the highest mountains, and from the most remote jungles to our most populated cities. This grand effort sheds light on the forms
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Early on the night of May 5, a team of scientists snuck out onto the white beaches of south Florida to attach a transmitter in the shell of a nesting leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). They nicknamed her Isla, and for months, members of the non-profit organisation Florida Leatherbacks, Inc. have been following this turtle as
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In coming weeks, long after Hurricane Florence’s winds and rains have faded, its aftermath will still pose life-threatening hazards: snakes, submerged sharp objects, bacterial infections and disease-carrying mosquitoes. People are trapped by floodwaters and facing dwindling supplies of medicines, food and drinking water. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a danger as people crank up portable generators,
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Hurricane Florence may affect the operations of several of the 16 nuclear reactors located in the Carolinas and Virginia, raising concerns about safety and power outages. Ted Kury, director of energy studies at the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, explains why nuclear power stations must take precautions during big storms. 1. Keeping cores
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Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut orbiting Earth from 250 miles (402 kilometres) up, has a warning for humans on the planet below him. “Watch out, America!” Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station in June, said Wednesday in a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence. “This is a no-kidding nightmare coming
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[embedded content] Dolphins have refined their precision killing over millions of years of evolution, roaming oceans in pods to funnel fish into their jaws. That daily ritual usually occurs far from land. But this week, something far more rare happened. Hundreds of common dolphins in a ‘superpod’ sliced through slate-gray waters off Monterey Bay, California while