by Jazmin Becerril Gonzalez, age 13
Sauropods, some of the largest animals to ever roam the earth, were long-necked and long-tailed dinosaurs often portrayed in movies eating from the top of the trees. The Brontosaurus, also known as the “thunder lizard,” is part of the sauropod family, but until recently many thought it didn’t exist.
Othniel Charles Marsh was the paleontologist who named the Brontosaurus genus in 1879 describing it as a separate species of sauropod. In 1903 another paleontologist, Elmer Riggs, believed that the Brontosaurus was part of the same genus as the Apatosaurus which had been identified in 1877. Since the Apatosaurus study was published first, the name Brontosaurus was removed as a type of dinosaur species.
But that is not the end of the story, a recent study looked at the differences between the Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils. Emanuel Tschopp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, concluded that the neck is where differences between the Brontosaurus and the Apatosaurus are most noticeable. The Apatosaurus has a wider, shorter neck compared to the Brontosaurus, suggesting they were from different species.
by Zale Thoronka, age 12
Burmese pythons are truly a fascinating and interesting species. Their eating habits and the incredible size of these snakes are remarkable. These are some of the wonders of the Burmese python.
Did you know that the Burmese python can stretch its jaw to consume prey five times the size of its head? This reptile is one of the world’s largest snakes and is capable of eating an alligator.
The Burmese python is a species that is native to the jungles and grassy marshes of Southeast Asia. It can also be found in the Florida Everglades, where it has been categorized as an invasive species, with tens of thousands of snakes living there by estimates from the National Park Service. These snakes live for 20-25 years, weigh up to 200 pounds (90kg), and reach a length of 16-23 feet.
by Destany Jackson, age 15
There are about 2,000 long-nosed, inquisitive-faced tree shrews that reside in Yunnan, China in the Kunming Institute of Zoology. These tree shrews are the only mammal besides humans known to consume hot chili peppers.
Tree shrews are known for being good animal models for the studying of human diseases. An email from Shilong Yang, Kunming Institute biologist, said, “We were trying to find the favorite food of the tree shrew.” Yang and his colleagues found the answer - chili peppers.
Scientists were surprised when they found out the favorite food of the tree shrews was chili peppers because most mammals dislike the taste and heat of chili peppers or spicy foods in general. The reason chilis are hot is because of the capsaicinoids they contain. While keeping a group of tree shrews in the lab for studying, the researchers increased the amount of capsaicinoids in their food over time. They found that it caused a slight increase in the amount of food the tree shrews consumed. A mutation in a particular protein, called the capsaicin receptor, lowers sensitivity to the capsaicinoids in peppers which makes it easier for tree shrews to eat them.
by Ayden Ross, age 14
A dog-sized lizard, the Argentine black-and-white tegu, is rapidly taking over the Everglades National Park. This lizard, native to South America, is spreading throughout South Florida and the southeastern region of the U.S. Biologists are concerned because these lizards will eat almost anything that will fit into their mouths, from berries to small animals such as birds and reptiles, as well as the eggs of animals that nest on the ground such as endangered sea turtles.
These dog-sized lizards can make very calm pets for those who like exotic reptiles. Unfortunately, people have let them loose into the wild where they have bred prolifically. Official estimates of the tegu lizard population in the U.S is unknown, however, a 2018 study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey stated that, “the entire southeast portion of the United States is at risk.”
Once in the wild, the tegu lizards are able to thrive in regions containing grasslands and in other areas that have a significant amount of rain, such as in hardwood and subtropical pine forests.
by Zale Thoronka, age 11
Did you know that the African egg-eating snake can eat a bird’s egg faster than you can say “omelette”? The snake has a strong sense of smell and will only eat fresh eggs. Unlike other creatures that use their noses to smell, the snake’s nose lacks sensors therefore it uses its tongue as a guide to find food.
Once the snake finds a fresh egg, it uses its flexible jaw to swallow the egg. Its built-in food processor then collects the contents of the egg. After swollowing, two bones in its spine drill into the eggshell, while other bones crack the shell down the middle.
Contents from the egg drain into the snake’s throat, known as its gullet. Further movements from the snake’s gullet break the shell down even more. Once the snake has eaten all the contents of the egg, it spits out the shell as a tiny pellet.
by Dani Williams, age 13
Crows are common black birds well known for their intelligence. They are found all over the world. Some crows are solitary while others stay in groups. A group of crows is called a murder. When a crow dies, the murder will surround the deceased one. This behavior can be interpreted as a way of mourning their dead and also to find out what killed them.
There are nearly 40 species of crows in many different sizes. An American crow measures around 17.5 inches (45 cm). A fish crow is 19 inches (48 cm). American crows and ravens are different in multiple ways. Ravens are bigger, their voices are hoarser, and they have heavier bills than American crows according to the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web (ADW). The common raven is much larger and is 27 inches (69 cm). They eat small animals such as mammals, amphibians, mollusks, worms, and other types of birds. Crows sometimes have been found eating in garbage cans according to ADW.
These birds are extremely smart and some things they are known for their problem-solving skills and communication skills. Crows even play an important part in mythology. In Greek mythology, crows are seen as a symbol of bad luck. But their amazing skills and intelligence shows that they are not bad luck.
by Stephanie Perez, age 11
There are 21 types of foxes around the world. A particularly interesting one is the fennec fox.
Fennec foxes live across desert areas in North and Middle East Africa. They can be found in deserts like the Sahara and the Arabian. These foxes have a distinct diet. They feed on insects, small rodents, birds and their eggs, and plants.
Fennec foxes are rather small foxes. Their coat has a pale coloration that helps them camouflage against the sand. Their big ears make up about 20 percent of the fox’s total body surface area, and they help them detect prey from afar. Their ears are so sensitive that they can hear prey moving from underground. They have a big fluffy tail along with fully furred soles on the bottom of their paws. The fur helps to get a better grip on loose sand, preventing the fennec fox from sinking while running.
Sauropods, some of the largest animals to ever roam the earth, were long-necked and long-tailed dinosaurs often portrayed in movies eating from the top of the trees. The Brontosaurus, also known as the “thunder lizard,” is part of the sauropod family, but until recently many thought it didn’t exist. [read more...]
Burmese pythons are truly a fascinating and interesting species. Their eating habits and the incredible size of these snakes are remarkable. These are some of the wonders of the Burmese python. [read more...]
A dog-sized lizard, the Argentine black-and-white tegu, is rapidly taking over the Everglades National Park. This lizard, native to South America, is spreading throughout South Florida and the southeastern region of the U.S. Biologists are concerned because these lizards will eat almost anything that will fit into their mouths, from berries to small animals such as birds and reptiles, as well as the eggs of animals that nest on the ground such as endangered sea turtles. [read more...]
There are about 2,000 long-nosed, inquisitive-faced tree shrews that reside in Yunnan, China in the Kunming Institute of Zoology. These tree shrews are the only mammal besides humans known to consume hot chili peppers. [read more...]
Did you know that the African egg-eating snake can eat a bird’s egg faster than you can say “omelette”? The snake has a strong sense of smell and will only eat fresh eggs. Unlike other creatures that use their noses to smell, the snake’s nose lacks sensors therefore it uses its tongue as a guide to find food. [read more...]
Did you know that the Arctic fox can outsmart predators like wolves or polar bears? [read more...]
There are many interesting things about lizards. For example, did you know that some lizards can detach and grow new tails? Believe it or not, this is just one unique ability of lizards. [read more...]
Have you ever seen a wolf? Hundreds of years ago, you would have seen wolves in many parts of the world. [read more...]
Snakes can live in almost any environment, but have you ever wondered how snakes live in the desert? [read more...]
Graceful, quick-footed and powerful, the puma is an incredible species of cat. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of the Gila monsters? They are one of the laziest lizards. Gila monsters are carnivores, meaning they only eat meat. Since they are lazy, their prey is always easy to catch: eggs, newborn mammals, frogs, rodents, insects, lizards, worms, and carrion (dead animals). [read more...]
Joel Sartore, a wildlife photographer is spending 25 years taking pictures of 12,000 to 13,000 captive [read more...]
Crows are common black birds well known for their intelligence. They are found all over the world. Some crows are solitary while others stay in groups. A group of crows is called a murder. When a crow dies, the murder will surround the deceased one. This behavior can be interpreted as a way of mourning their dead and also to find out what killed them. [read more...]
There are 21 types of foxes around the world. A particularly interesting one is the fennec fox. [read more...]
One of the world's rarest rattlesnakes, the Massasagua rattlesnake, was spotted in Wisconsin this past week. The snake, one of two species of rattlesnake that can be found in Wisconsin, was discovered by a Jackson County Forestry and Parks employee. This has been the fifth sighting in the past three years. Before that, the snake was missing for over 30 years, and for this reason, scientists are very excited about this uncommon encounter in Jackson County. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered how pandas live or what they do? Giant pandas are very popular animals in China. [read more...]
The highly-poisonous black widow spider received its name from its black color and because female black widows eat the males after mating. [read more...]
While it has been known for a long time that crows are smart birds, we may have underestimated their brainpower until recently. One example that demonstrates this is that they can tell the difference between friend and foe, and pass that information on to other crows. [read more...]
Today’s technology affects more than just humans. It helps endangered animals including the black-footed ferret and the painted dog, too! [read more...]
Dolphins are very intelligent creatures who can do incredible things. One of the most interesting facts about dolphins is their extra sense, echolocation, also known as sonar. [read more...]
Imagínate un mundo sin tortugas marinas. Ciertamente el mundo no sería un lugar tan interesante. Las tortugas marinas son seres asombrosos pero se encuentran en peligro de extinción. De hecho, investigadores estiman que sólo 8,500 de estos animales acuáticos viven hoy. [read more...]
Snowy owls live up to nine years and, as their name suggests, their fur is snow white—but only sometimes. These resourceful creatures rely on smart mating habits to survive as a species. [read more...]
The gloomy octopus, a species who resides in subtropical waters off eastern Australia and northern New Zealand, is usually an antisocial creature. In fact, the octopus meets with other octopuses only once a year to mate. But new discoveries may change what scientists thought they knew about the introverted octopus. [read more...]
The sand cat, or Felis margarita
, may look like a typical house cat. However, it is actually a diminutive predator whose unique characteristics allow it to survive in the harsh deserts of the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa. [read more...]
The brown hyena is a dog-like animal found in southern Africa. The hyena’s strong bite, varied diet, and recognizable smell are is not the only amazing facts about these animals, however. [read more...]
The forests of Madagascar, an island located off the east coast of Africa, are host to many unique plants and animals. Madagascar was first discovered by humans approximately two thousand years ago. Now, less than ten percent of the lush forest remains – the sole habitat of many indigenous animals. [read more...]
Imagine a world without sea turtles. It would certainly be a less interesting place. The sea turtle is amazing, but it is also endangered. In fact, researchers estimate that only 85,000 of these aquatic animals are alive today. [read more...]
Think about how often you see rocks every day. Have you ever imagined that one could be alive? Unless you are in Chile or Peru, this probably isn’t the case. But then again, after reading about this creature, you may believe anything is possible. [read more...]
Both King Penguins and Emperor Penguins are fascinating subspecies of the adorable and intelligent penguin. So what makes these two creatures different? [read more...]
Mayflies are a sub-species of dragonfly that live underwater for three years before emerging as adults and dying within hours. These fascinating insects lose their digestive systems upon becoming adults, hence their inevitable deaths. But mayflies are only one of about 8,600 dragonfly-related bugs, each with their own unique features. [read more...]
Sea pigs live in all the world’s oceans, but most of us will never see them. These pigs can make up to 95 percent of the total weight of animals on the ocean floor. [read more...]
African wild dogs used to be widespread across the southern Sahara in Africa, but they are now limited to scattered localities in eastern and western Africa. [read more...]
The snow leopard is an endangered animal. In fact, only 4,500 to 7,500 of these creatures are estimated alive today. [read more...]
The Spectacled Bear's ancestors arrived in North America approximately two million years ago. Originally from Central and South American countries including Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, these ginormous mammals are one of eight in the bear family. [read more...]
What creature is smaller than an ocelot and bigger than a wildcat, but looks like both? The margay, that's what! [read more...]
A species of arachnids, spiders are widely unique creatures.
Spiders have a number of interesting physical features. [read more...]
What is the ugliest, strangest, grumpiest looking animal? According to the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, it’s the blobfish. [read more...]
The red panda is a mammal famous for its resemblance to panda bears.
Red pandas typically weigh between six and 13.2 pounds and measure 51 to 63 centimeters long. They tend to mate in January through March and can have up to four babies, though on average they only have two. [read more...]
Did you know that several generations of the giant forest hog’s offspring live with their families in extended family groups just like humans do? [read more...]
The Burmese python is an invasive species currently causing severe problems in Florida. In recent years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other organizations have spent more than six million dollars trying to find a solution to curb this problem. [read more...]
Bald eagles rule the North American skies with amazing eyesight. In fact, their vision is four to eight times stronger than the average human being's. [read more...]
Jaguars are not only strong swimmers – they're also the only wildcats that enjoy going in water. This is just one of their many unique characteristics. [read more...]
Many vertebrates use their teeth, jaws, or breaks to capture and eat their prey. The type of tooth, beak, or jaw depends on where the vertebrae lives and what exactly it eats. [read more...]
Organisms as different as penguins, cacti and zebras all share planet earth based on rainfall and temperature, they each occupy different habitats. The habitats that make up planet earth are oceans, wetlands, forest, grasslands, deserts, mountains, and polar habitats. [read more...]
Over 3,400 snake species exist on planet Earth-about 50 in America and 21 in Wisconsin. Both, major differences and similarities can be found among the species. [read more...]
About 100,000 years ago tigers roamed the Indochinese region. Thus deemed “Indochinese Tigers,” these powerful beasts are said to be the ancestors of all other tiger subspecies. [read more...]
The Malayan tiger, or panthera tigris jacksonipanthera tigris jacksoni
, is a subspecies of the Indochinese tiger. Though this subspecies is more numerous than other types of tiger, its population is dwindling. , is a subspecies of the Indochinese tiger. Though this subspecies is more numerous than other types of tiger, its population is dwindling. [read more...]
For hundreds of years during the age of exploration, western scientists heard stories about giant dragons living on jungle islands in southeast Asia. Sailors and explorers from Europe and America didn't believe the tales. Today, however, scientists know that the seemingly ridiculous myths are actually true. [read more...]
>Every year, scientists discover close to 20,000 new species of animals, most of which are insects. The discovery of a mammal is much rarer. For that reason, scientists were recently surprised to find a new species of mole rat in Africa. [read more...]
La Western Diamondback serpiente de cascabel (crotalus atrox
) es la única serpiente que actualmente traquetea. Estas serpientes de cascabel son “generalistas,” que significa que no son tan delicadas respecto a su hábitat. Se pueden encontrar en el suroeste de los Estados Unidos y México en los desiertos, llanuras, bosques, laderas rocosas y áreas a lo largo de la costa. [read more...]
Eight years ago, the smallest breed of rabbits in North America -- the pygmy rabbit -- was close to extinction. Currently, scientists are trying to help this species survive. [read more...]
Carnivorous animals all have one thing in common: they eat meat to survive. However, the strategic ways in which they capture their meat differs vastly. [read more...]
What crawls on eight legs and hunts to stay alive? Spiders, scorpions, ticks, and mites all fit this description. [read more...]
¿Cómo afecta el cambio climático a los animales del Norte en el Ártico? [read more...]
¿Sabías que hay aproximadamente 400 tipos de ranas en el grupo de anfibios? Los anfibios respiran con sus branquias cuando son renacuajos y con sus bronquios cuando son adultos. Dentro de los anfibios existe el grupo de anuros que incluye las ranas y los sapos. Los anuros cuentan con mas de 5.000 especies, de las cuales 400 son ranas y 300 son sapos. [read more...]