Shipworms, which munch through wood and help release essential nutrient stored within it, are incredibly beneficial for other marine animals. However, the saltwater bivalve mollusks have been known to sink boats and cause extensive damage to docks, piers, and other wooden structures. Now, researchers have uncovered a shipworm species of a different kind — one that has the potential to change the course of a river by gnawing through its limestone bedrock!
With self-driving vehicle technology rapidly advancing, many companies are turning to autonomous robots for the final leg — the so-called last mile — of the delivery process, from the store or local distribution center to the customer. The latest to join the trend is e-commerce giant Amazon. Following a successful eight-month test run in Snohomish County, Washington, the company's Scout robots have been making the rounds of Irvine, California, since August 6, 2019.
Bees are essential for the pollination of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Sadly, over the past 15 years, the global population of the industrious insects has been declining at alarming rates. Bee Informed Partnership, a collaboration of American insect experts, estimates that between April 1, 2018, and April 1, 2019, the country's managed bee population decreased by 40.7 percent. The numbers are as dire worldwide. Now, some cities in the Netherlands are coming up with innovative ideas to help stem the population decline of these all-important insects.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, home to over 1,500 fish species and countless other marine animals, is in trouble. Rising ocean temperatures, attributed to climate change, have destroyed about half of its coral since 1998. On August 30, 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded the ecosystem's condition from "poor" to "very poor" and warned that the window of opportunity to save it was rapidly closing. Now, some scientists are hoping that a gigantic piece of pumice stone currently floating towards Australia will aid in the recovery of the world's largest coral reef system.
The Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, had been relatively calm this year, with just one major storm in July. That changed at the end of August, when Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, came screaming through, leaving a trail of destruction all the way from the US Virgin Islands to the Bahamas and the US and Canadian east coasts.
Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, which has been ferrying all astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, typically carries a crew of three. However, the MS-14 capsule that blasted off from a Russian spaceport in southern Kazakhstan on August 22, 2019, had just one passenger — a humanoid robot named Skybot F-850.
When Leigh Love stumbled upon a bird's leg bone at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in New Zealand's South Island in 2018, he suspected that they might be those of an ancient penguin. With four other species discovered there, the area has been a hotbed for penguin remains from the Paleocene Epoch, which spanned between 66 million and 55 million years ago. What the amateur paleontologist did not realize was that the fossil belonged to the largest, hitherto unknown, penguin species ever found.
If you have spent any time observing seals at the zoo or in the wild, you may have seen the mammals swimming, walking, clapping, and even "barking" at one another. Now, scientists in Scotland have proved that with some vocal training, and the right incentive, the talented animals are also capable of mimicking the human language, accomplishing impressive tasks such as "singing" popular tunes like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."