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Close-up shot of sea surface with small waves
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface
The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface

The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.

The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.

animals
Neuston
Slideshow: Meet the Neuston, the Diverse Organisms Living at the Ocean’s Surface
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 2 min read
The ocean’s surface harbors an ecosystem of colorful, understudied life, ranging from protists and cnidarians to insects.
Illustration showing where neuston reside
Infographic: Neuston Drift Atop the World’s Oceans
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 1 min read
The sea surface is home to a diverse group of animals adapted to life in the open ocean, but increasingly, they’re sharing that space with plastic debris.
stone panel depicting a horselike animal led by ropes around the neck
Ancient Mesopotamians Bred Horselike Hybrids
Chris Baraniuk | Jan 14, 2022 | 4 min read
A genomics study reveals the parentage of a long-mysterious creature called a kunga, the earliest-known hybrid animal bred by humans.
shrew
Researchers Identify 14 New Shrew Species 
Chloe Tenn | Jan 5, 2022 | 2 min read
The discovery, made on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, constitutes an exceptionally high number of new mammals to be described in a single paper.
Two vaccine syringes on a baggy labelled with San Diego Zoo and Bonobo
The Rise of COVID-19 Vaccines for Animals
Chris Baraniuk | Dec 9, 2021 | 6 min read
Thousands of animals have had their shot already. How many more really need it?
a colorful ctenophore/comb jelly swimming
Genome Spotlight: California Sea Gooseberry (Hormiphora californensis)
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Nov 24, 2021 | 3 min read
The first chromosome-level genome assembly for a ctenophore may allow scientists to finally resolve the roots of the animal family tree.
The lungfish has a beige face and grey spotted body with a darker tail fin, as well as four long, spindly appendages. It is on a white background.
Lungfish Cocoons Are Alive, Sort Of
Abby Olena, PhD | Nov 17, 2021 | 4 min read
Researchers find that the protective outer layer that lungfish make to survive extended dry periods—once thought to be a simple mucus shell—contains immune cells that trap bacteria and protect the animals from infection.
a long room lined with metal cages with chinchillas
Chinchilla Supplier Loses License over Animal Welfare Violations
Shawna Williams | Oct 11, 2021 | 1 min read
Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, the main US source of the animals for research, had a years-long history of disturbing findings in USDA inspections.
a kitten looks up at a person listening to its chest with a stethoscope
Tracking Companion Animal Disease
Anthony King | Aug 3, 2021 | 5 min read
Surveillance networks set up to detect outbreaks among pets could one day have public health uses too.  
a micrograph of putative sponge fossils with small tunnel-like structures in white on a black background
890-Million-Year-Old Fossils Are Sponges, Oldest Animals: Study
Abby Olena, PhD | Jul 28, 2021 | 4 min read
If confirmed, the findings indicate that animals appeared on Earth millions of years earlier than previously believed.
A Song of Spider Silk
Lisa Winter | Apr 15, 2021 | 2 min read
Scientists from MIT reveal the hidden music in spiderwebs.
an illustration of multiple animals, including a parrot, flamingo, zebra, and leopard
Book Excerpt From How to Be Animal
Melanie Challenger | Apr 1, 2021 | 3 min read
In Chapter 1, “The Indelible Stamp,” author Melanie Challenger addresses the idea of human exceptionalism.
Opinion: Facing Assumptions About the Duality of Human and Animal
Melanie Challenger | Apr 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Since Darwin published his landmark work on natural selection, we’ve understood that we’re animals. But that doesn’t mean we really believe it.
Herbivore Body Size Influences Grazing Behavior, Poop Quality
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2020 | 3 min read
Researchers disentangle complex connections among vegetation, herbivores, and dung in the South African savanna.
Infographic: Herbivore Dung Nutrients Vary Across the Savanna
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2020 | 1 min read
In South Africa, the composition of droppings varies by species’ body sizes, and which animals are found where depends on vegetation density.
Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus
Ashley Yeager | Jul 13, 2020 | 3 min read
While concern over SARS-CoV-2 in dogs and cats has captured attention, scientists have also been investigating whether pets can transmit multidrug-resistant bacteria to us.
Another Ancient Primate Lineage Sailed to South America
Lisa Winter | Apr 10, 2020 | 3 min read
A new fossil discovery indicates a second primate group also traversed the Atlantic millions of years ago on a raft of vegetation.
Unhatched Gulls Shake Their Shells to Warn Siblings of Danger
Nicoletta Lanese | Jul 23, 2019 | 2 min read
The unborn chicks translate auditory alarms from adult birds into quaking vibrations.
Cats recognize their names
Cats Perk Up at the Sound of Their Own Names
Carolyn Wilke | Apr 5, 2019 | 2 min read
The familiar word elicits a twitch of the ears or swish of the tail, suggesting felines can distinguish their names from other words.
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