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Battles and Behaviors of Prehistoric Beasts

by Iliyan Hoskins, age 10

Dinosaurs in prehistoric times had unique methods to catch their prey and protect themselves from predators. Fossil evidence has unveiled fascinating glimpses of battles among different dinosaur species, shedding light on their behaviors.

One notable fossil pair illustrates a gripping encounter where a dinosaur thrust its tail into the flesh of another. In 1971, Velociraptor and Protoceratops fossils were initially assumed to be victims of a sandstorm. However, paleontologists later discovered that they were engaged in a fierce battle. The Velociraptor was caught in the act of slashing the throat of the Protoceratops, while the Protoceratops was simultaneously biting the right arm of the Velociraptor. This finding represents just one of many such combats unearthed in the fossil record. [Read More]

Giant Turtles Once Roamed Through South America

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The extinct turtle called the Carbonemys roamed around what is now known as Colombia 60 million years ago. It was a massive side-neck turtle. Its scientific name is Carbonemys cofrinii or coal turtle, which is fitting since its fossil was discovered in a coal mine. In 2005, the fossil was discovered in Colombia by paleontologist Edwin Cadena. This turtle was the largest turtle species in the area at the time. Their average length was five foot seven inches. [Read More]

The History behind Famous Iconic Cartoon Hello Kitty

by Sol-Saray, age 10

Many of you may know Hello Kitty, but can you really call yourself a fan if you do not know her history?

Hello Kitty is a famous cartoon character that was created in 1974 by the Japanese company Sanrio. Although she looks like a cat, she is actually a little girl with cat ears, a yellow nose, and no mouth. No one exactly knows why the character does not have a mouth. She has a twin sister who goes by Mimi. You probably would not be able to tell them apart if it were not for their iconic bows—Hello Kitty's bow is red and Mimi’s is yellow. The sisters grew up with their parents in suburban London according to Sanrio. [Read More]

Invertebrates: The Boneless Group of Animals

by Aarosh Subedi age 10

Invertebrates are animals that do not have any backbones; they also have features unique to the specific species.

The species of invertebrates include jellyfish, lobsters, crabs, clams, sea stars, sea urchins, sponges, insects, spiders, worms, centipedes, and millipedes. Invertebrates and vertebrates share features like hemoglobin which makes your blood cells red, poison defense moves, strong eye vision, and gills. However, one feature that vertebrates don’t have but invertebrates do is called radial symmetry. [Read More]

Monarch Butterflies are on The Endangered Species List

by Max Moreno, age 10

On July 21st, 2022 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUNC) placed the most popular butterfly, the monarch butterfly, as an endangered species. Developed in 1964 the IUCN is an organization that protects nature.

There are various reasons why they are endangered. One reason is global warming which has dried out and killed plants causing a lack of food and death from starvartion. Another dangerous thing to butterflies is the use of pesticides. It doesn't end there. In 2016, over 30 percent of butterflies were killed because of overwintering in Mexico and a snowstorm that took down trees that butterflies rested on. [Read More]

Canada’s Great Northern Lake

by Ruben Becerril Gonzalez, age 10

Did you know that the Great Bear Lake is one of the coldest lakes on the planet? Also known as Sahtu, this lake was named by native people living in the area.

Great Bear Lake is both very large and very deep. In fact, it is the fourth largest lake in North America, and the eighth biggest freshwater lake in the entire world! The lake averages 235 feet in depth with a maximum of 1,463 feet. For much of the year, between late November and July, Great Bear Lake is covered in ice. [Read More]

Red Panda? More like Red Raccoon!

by Dalya Alquraishi age 10

The red panda is a cute and fuzzy animal that lives in China and the eastern Himalayas. It is commonly believed that these mammals are related to pandas, however red pandas are instead more closely related to raccoons.

Red pandas are known for their incredible climbing abilities; because of this, they developed a “fake” thumb. This thumb is an extended wrist that improves their climbing and handling of food. Red pandas are mainly recognized for their eye-catching fur color and cuteness. These pandas lick themselves clean and are similar in size to a house cat. Red pandas wrap their tails to keep warm when they are asleep. Besides the mating season, red pandas tend to live solitary lifestyles. Their lifespan in the wild can be up to 15 years and in captivity they can live up to 20 years. They eat small animals, insects, and bamboo. [Read More]

Exploring the Largest Lake in Africa: Lake Victoria

by Juan Esteban Palma Zuluaga, age 10

Africa is known for its many beautiful landscapes, animals, and lakes, one being Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is known to be the biggest tropical lake on Earth, and is the second largest freshwater lake on Earth by land area, following only Lake Superior.

Lake Victoria is about 255 miles long and 155 miles wide. It is only 276 feet deep. Being in the East of Africa close to the equator and between the countries of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, Lake Victoria is one of the most well-known water sources for the Nile River. Other smaller rivers and streams, like the Kagera River, flow into this lake. [Read More]

How Will the Universe End?

by Abigail Gezae, age 10

Nobody knows the fate of the universe, but there are many possibilities. For example, dark energy might become so strong that it overpowers all forces including gravity. If this happens, the expansion of the universe will grow faster and faster as it is pushed apart without any limit. This theory is called the “Big Rip.”

The “Big Rip” results in galaxies, stars, planets, and all life being torn apart, but it’s also possible that the universe just keeps expanding. If dark energy stays indefinitely the same force as it is today, space will keep growing and may never come to an end. Additionally, another possible end for our universe lies trillions of years in the future.

Eventually, after the universe expands too much, no heat will be able to be spread and the temperature could drop to its lowest possible point. This will be known as the “Big Chill,” meaning no life could survive. [Read More]

Arabian Camels: Man's Best Friend?

by Joseph Zheng, age 9

Owning a camel can be a sign of wealth in other countries. Dromedaries, better known as Arabian camels, are unique mammals with distinct characteristics.

Dromedaries are heavy animals weighing up to 1,600 pounds and grow to seven feet tall. A main characteristic you may notice on dromedaries is the big humps on their backs. Their humps are unique because they store 80 pounds of fat which can be used for hydration in the future. The Arabian camel is also able to consume 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes! Because of their strong features, they are able to carry heavy loads for 25 miles a day.

Arabian camels can be found in various places around the world. Many live in Northern Africa, Southwestern Asia and Australia. These locations can reach very high temperatures, but the camel's body is trained to survive temperatures reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit. [Read More]

Nature’s “Vacuum Cleaner:” The Matamata

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The matamata lives in South America and is part of the turtle family. The matamata lives in the northern part of South America, in Brazil, Venezuela, but can sometimes be found in northern Bolivia, Ecuador, eastern Peru, Colombia, the Guianas, and Trinidad. They are about 18 inches in length and weigh around five to six pounds. Other than eating fish, they eat small birds and small mammals. This particular species lives up to 30 years.

Scientists compare this species to a vacuum cleaner, because it swallows its food rather than chews it. Camouflage is a common hunting tactic for the matamata. When in hunting position, it looks like an unassuming mossy rock in the water. They have fleshy appendages close to their mouths that look like weeds hanging and can act as a lure for fish. The nose on the matamata acts as a snorkel, allowing them to breathe air while they wait for food to approach so they can swallow it whole.

The word matamata is a phrase in a Native language that means “I kill” and its scientific name is Chelus fimbriatus which means fringed turtle. A matamata’s neck is almost the size of its back. In comparison, if the same were true for humans, our necks would be about three feet long. The matamata is one of the turtle species that breathes air, unlike other turtle species who get oxygen from water. [Read More]

The Lifecycle of a Wolf Pup

by Joseph Zheng, age 9

In spring, females wolves give birth to newborn pups in dens after nine weeks of pregnancy.

One adult wolf fits perfectly into a single den, which is dug ten feet long prior to pregnancy. During the first month after the pups are born, the mother takes full responsibility for the wolf pack.

The puppies remain in their dens for the first few weeks to stay warm and protected as they are initially deaf. Each pup weighs about one pound. Their mother will start to breastfeed them until they are old enough to eat meat. After their first month, the responsibility of survival shifts from solely the mother to the entire pack. This caretaking method helps form a bond between the newest members and the rest of the pack. [Read More]

Learn About the Vampire Squid

by Abigail Gezae, age 10

Vampire squids don’t actually share many resemblances to Dracula, and they aren’t after your blood. Instead, they are creatures that live deep in the ocean, around 2,000 to 3,000 ft.

Since the vampire squids live so deep in the water, scientists have to use drones to study them. They have very large eyes which are located on the side of their head, and are usually red or blue, depending on the light they reflect. Although they have the characteristics of other squids, they have 8 legs like an octopus and other cephalopods. One notable difference: vampire squids can not change color or use ink to protect themselves, which means they have to use different methods to stay safe. [Read More]

Leopards Are Large and Powerful "Supercats"

by Ian Kosharek , age 10

Leopards are a type of cat that live mainly in Africa, but they can also be found in China, Malaysia, and even Korea. There are more leopards in the wild than any other wild cat—that is why they are called supercats!

Leopards prefer to hunt at night, sitting in tree branches and waiting for their prey to come close. They are patient and let their prey get near in order to successfully attack. Leopards are pretty strong and can even lift prey as big as themselves.

Leopards enjoy eating animals of all sizes, from dung beetles, frogs, and birds, to monkeys and antelopes. Hyenas compete for similar foods, but leopards are selfish and do not like to lose their food to competitors. In order to keep their food safe they hide it in trees, which is known as caching. Some leopards are known as panthers. This name is only given to leopards that are born with black fur instead of their normal brown fur. Although leopards are the most common wild cat, they are quick and quiet so you may never know if one is following you! [Read More]

Is That a Leaf or a Gecko?

by Aloniab Gezae, age 8

The leaf-tailed gecko is a fascinating reptile. It can only be found in the rainforests of Madagascar and can grow up to eight inches long. Since leaf-tailed geckos are extremely rare, their lifespan is still unknown to scientists.

The gecko’s body is small and flat which makes it easier for it to fit in tight spaces for protection. It also has a long and sticky tongue that helps it catch prey, such as insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Since they do not have eyelids, these creatures also use their long tongue to help clean their eyes.

Each toe of the leaf tailed gecko has millions of tiny bristles that help it get a good grip on both big and small surfaces. Similarly, its strong and flat tail also has bristles, which these geckos often use as an extra foot to help with balance. [Read More]

The Arduous Life of Monarch Butterflies

by Sol-Saray, age 10

Did you know that it takes three generations of monarch butterflies to get from Wisconsin to Mexico in a year? It's incredible how long these little butterflies can fly!

The adult monarchs do not care for their babies after they give birth. They give birth on the milkweed plant and the newborn caterpillars survive on their own. After the parents die, the newborn butterflies continue their journey to Mexico. The lifespan of these monarchs is from two to six weeks.

The monarch butterflies stay in Wisconsin for spring and summer. Afterwards, they start their journey to Mexico for the winter to find warmth. They are in Mexico from November to March just in time for Dia de los Muertos. [Read More]

How Bees Make Plants Grow

by Maya Maclin, age 10

Pollinators are very important on our Earth. You would be surprised at how much bees and pollinators help. Did you know that we need pollinators so much that flowers depend 80 percent on pollination?

Wonder where flowers come from? While water and nutrients from soil help them grow, pollinators also help too! You might not notice these small insects, but they come by and play an important role in pollination. If there were no pollinators, the human race would not be alive and the Earth would not have as many beautiful flowers as you see today.

Pollinators don’t just pollinate flowers! They also pollinate plants and vegetables. These plants include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and more. Do you enjoy tea with honey? Well, pollinators such as bees are responsible for honey production! [Read More]

Would You Want to Live on Neptune?

by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

Neptune, the smallest out of all outer planets, is known for its blue color. Methane is the reason for its color. Neptune has less then four percent of methane within its atmosphere.

Neptune is very far from Earth, approximately 2.5 billion miles away. Pluto is usually farther from the sun than Neptune, but once every 248 years, Pluto crosses in front of Neptune. The planet has enormous storms, but they don’t last as long as Jupiter's great Red Spot.

Neptune takes 165 Earth years to orbit around the sun. Due to the planet's orbit being almost a perfect circle, its seasons are all of even length. Neptune’s climate and seasons are different from Earth’s seasons. [Read More]

The Secret Life of Pollinators

by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

A plant has a lot of needs in order for it to be healthy. These needs include water, sun, and soil. Insects like the yucca moths, bumblebees, and honeybees take the pollen and nectar from plants.

In order for insects to get nectar and pollen, they need to feed on the nectar inside a plant. The pollination, yucca plants, and pollen grains are some seeds from different plants that insects take. Female yucca moth impersonators take the yucca pollen from the yucca plant and bring it to their home. However, not all moths do this.

The inside of a flower can be pretty fascinating as it has a stigma, anthers, nectar, and pollen. That's how insects are able to feed on the nectar and pollen. When a bumblebee gets nectar, the flower closes and the bee has to push open the flower. Afterwards, the bee is able to get the nectar as the pollen comes up. [Read More]

Explore the Mighty Congo River in the Heart of Africa

by Sol-Saray, age 10

Africa is home to many great rivers. One of them is known as the Congo. In Africa, the Congo is only slightly shorter than the Nile in length, and is just as important to the people who live along the river.

The Congo has been very efficient for the people of Africa when it comes to transporting goods like food, medicine, clothes, and other items to people living along the river. It is also used for fishing and irrigating crops like peanuts, cotton, and sugarcane.

In the river, there are over 30 waterfalls and many other islands. It is near the equator, meaning it can get very hot and wet. The river receives around 90 inches of rain annually. There are 200 species of fish that live on the river. Many animals eat the tall grass that grows along the river, including buffalo, antelopes, zebras, gazelles, and giraffes. [Read More]

Learn More About Wisconsin's Prettiest Pollinators

by Max Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know butterflies have an important role in pollinating flowers? They especially like flowers that have a strong scent, contain certain colors such as red and yellow, or plants with plenty of nectar.

While butterflies can be easily seen in the air, they didn’t always start out this way. Butterflies begin as caterpillars. Over time, these insects undergo metamorphosis, a process in which they create a cocoon to transform into butterflies. Once they come out the cocoons, it takes time to learn and get used to flying.

An important type of butterfly is the Monarch Butterfly, also known as the Painted Lady. It gets its name from its black and orange colors. Monarch butterflies weigh the same as a paper clip and can grow up to four inches. They also have a lifespan for 15 to 29 days. In the winter, Monarch butterflies migrate 1,700 miles to Mexico to avoid the chilling temperatures of Wisconsin before returning during warming seasons. Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs in May or June on a poisonous plant known as milkweed. When their larvae hatch, this plant serves as a food source and in the process, the butterflies can become poisonous as they continue feeding. [Read More]