Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

211,902 subscribers and counting ...

Shireen Gonzaga
The first-born baby olm made its debut on May 30, 2016. Image credit: Postojna Cave.

Rare salamander eggs finally hatch

Four months ago, a rare salamander species known as an olm – once believed to be baby dragons – laid 60 rare eggs. Now the eggs have hatched!

Detail from a portrait of a young woman - from a fresco from Pompeii - thought to be Sappho. Via Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples) via Wikimedia Commons.

Pleiades setting through Sappho’s eyes

Sappho, a renowned poet of ancient Greece, wrote of the Pleiades star cluster setting at midnight. Scientists have wondered, what time of year did she see it?

For size comparison, a baby Rapetosaurus is shown next to familiar present-day mammals. Image credit: Demetrios Vital

Baby dino was self-reliant mini-me

But, in the case of the fossil bones examined in this new study, the baby dinosaur lived only weeks, apparently dying of starvation.

embryo_bamboo_shark_-branchial_rays-e1461606369560 (1)

Did human limbs evolve from shark gills?

The Sonic Hedgehog gene drives embryonic development of mammal limbs and shark gills. Could our limbs have evolved from gills?

Moon rocks collected b Apollo astronauts have been found to contain an element created only by supernovae. Here, Apollo 12-astronaut Alan Bean takes a sample of the lunar surface. Photo via NASA.

Moon rocks reveal nearby supernova

Iron-60 found in moon rocks supports an earlier finding that – 2 million years ago – a supernova exploded only 300 light-years away.

The face of a trap-jaw spider, a male, aka Chilarchaea quellon. The long chelicerae are highly maneuverable mouth parts, evolved to rapidly snap prey like a mousetrap. Image via Hannah Wood, Smithsonian.

Spiders with super-fast mousetrap mouths

In the forests of South America and New Zealand, trap-jaw spiders have mouths clamp down on their quarry like a mousetrap, at lightning speeds.

walking_blind_cavefish_Cryptotora_thamicola-sq

Evolution insights from a walking cavefish

Fish evolved into the first land vertebrates 420 million years ago. Clues to that fins-to-limbs transformation may lie in a walking blind cavefish in Thailand.

An artist’s rendition of what the study site at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, where human ancestors searched for food and water, may have looked like 1.8 million years ago, Image cedit: M.Lopez-Herrera via The Olduvai Paleoanthropology and Paleoecology Project and Enrique Baquedano.

Snapshot of early human ancestors’ lives

Scientists used fossil remains and primitive tools to build a vivid description of what life was like for our early human ancestors, 1.8 million years ago.

Image credit: Matt Tillett.

Hummingbirds’ extraordinary migratory marathons

With fat deposits that almost double their weight, the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird can fly non-stop for more than 1,200 miles (2,000 km) during migration.

A close-up photo of a meteorite sample, 0.59 inches (1.5 centimeters) across showing a ceramic-like refractory inclusion (in pink) embedded in the meteorite. Refractory inclusions are the oldest-known rocks in the solar system (4.5 billion years old). The analysis of the uranium isotope ratios of such inclusions showed that a long-lived curium isotope was present early in the solar system when this inclusion was formed.  Image credit: Origins Lab, University of Chicago.

Meteorite reveals rare unstable element

A pink meteorite inclusion nicknamed Curious Marie shows that a highly unstable element, curium, was present in the early solar system.