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40 Years of Bad Science: How Jaws Got Everything Wrong About Sharks

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its original release, Jaws will be shown on the big screen once more on June 21st. Few other movies have cast such a long shadow into the “real” world as the first summer blockbuster. As a marine biologist whose research focuses on shark conservation, I’ve been living in that… » 6/19/15 10:00am 6/19/15 10:00am

"Virgin Births" Won't Save The Smalltooth Sawfish From Extinction

The critically endangered smalltooth sawfish was recently found to be capable of asexual reproduction. It’s an exciting discovery for many reasons, but breathless claims by the media that sawfish could save their species from extinction by resorting to virgin births are wrong, wrong, wrong. Let’s explore why. » 6/18/15 7:10pm 6/18/15 7:10pm

Far From Sterile, Some Hybrids May Start New Species

Your schoolteachers probably told you most species wouldn’t (or maybe couldn’t) successfully interbreed with one another. If some did, their hybrid offspring, like mules, couldn’t have babies of their own. That explanation was a bit oversimplified. Hybridization happens, and it may be one way new species arise. » 6/09/15 6:22pm 6/09/15 6:22pm

Here's What Sharks Do When You Give Them Cameras

Fisheries biologist John Shepherd once said that “counting fish is like counting trees—except you can’t see them and they move.” This can make animal behavior research extremely difficult. And while increasingly advanced electronic telemetry tags can tell us a lot, there’s just no substitute for seeing a behavior on… » 5/20/15 11:10am 5/20/15 11:10am

Top Predators May Be the Most Important Animals on Earth

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with other predators. Grizzly bears, crocodiles, great white sharks—these are among our planet's most awe-inspiring creatures. Still, we'd never want these deadly animals in our backyards. But new scientific evidence suggests that we need them far more than we realized. » 3/09/15 12:30pm 3/09/15 12:30pm

How the Smithsonian Is Restoring the Original USS Enterprise Model 

The USS Enterprise is, in popular imagination, a futuristic spaceship. The actual USS Enterprise model used on the Star Trek show is, in reality, a 50-year-old creaker that has endured at least one misguided new paint job. The Smithsonian is hard at work restoring the model, though, and they've even got the National… » 1/02/15 10:40am 1/02/15 10:40am

United Is Using Its Planes To Track Butterflies and Birds From Above

United Airlines is working with the Smithsonian on a conservation project that will tag and track the smaller members of the animal kingdom. More specifically, the project will use radio receivers mounted on planes to create a low-altitude network of vanishing species like the monarch butterfly. All while you enjoy… » 6/30/14 12:20pm 6/30/14 12:20pm

Dive into This Digital USS Arizona in the Name of Conservation

For nearly three quarters of a century, the USS Arizona has rested practically untouched in the waters of Pearl Harbor, acting as both the final resting place of and enduring tribute to the 1100 marines and sailors that lost their lives aboard it. Today, the National Park Service and Autodesk unveiled the results of… » 5/26/14 5:30pm 5/26/14 5:30pm

Your Old Phone Could Help Eavesdrop on Illegal Rainforest Loggers

How do you catch a logger in the dense, remote rainforest? For a long time, the answer has been satellites, which may sound high-tech, but actually means you're looking at photos of deforested land days after the loggers have made their getaway. A nonprofit called Rainforest Connection wants to turn old smartphones… » 5/12/14 4:40pm 5/12/14 4:40pm

These Incredible Man-Made Highways Are Built Just for Animals

Humans don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to environmental stewardship, but that doesn't mean we aren't trying. Numerous projects around the world are working to rebuild lost habitats, protect vital wildlife highways, and regenerate lost populations. Here are a few man-made structures built on behalf of… » 3/16/14 9:00am 3/16/14 9:00am