Tree Rings Reveal How Ancient Forests Were Managed

Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of […]

Huntsman spiders eat tree frogs after luring them into leaf traps

Huntsman spiders in Madagascar eat tiny frogs, and scientists suspect that the spiders catch their prey by weaving “traps” made of leaves, to lure the frogs inside with a promise of protection from the sun. In 2017, researchers spotted a spider in the Damastes genus clutching a Heterixalus andrakata tree frog — the second time […]

Brown tree snakes use their tails as lassos to climb wide trees

Brown tree snake

Snakes do a lot more than slither. Some swim, while others sidewind across sand (SN: 10/9/14). Some snakes even fly (SN: 6/29/20). But no one has ever seen a snake move the way that brown tree snakes do when they climb certain trees. By wrapping its tail around a tree or pole in a lasso-like […]

Climate warming linked to tree leaf unfolding and flowering growing apart

An international team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang A & F University and the University of Eastern Finland have found that regardless of whether flowering or leaf unfolding occurred first in a species, the first event advanced more than the second over the last seven decades. In the four European tree […]

Study resolves the position of fleas on the tree of life

A study of more than 1,400 protein-coding genes of fleas has resolved one of the longest standing mysteries in the evolution of insects, reordering their placement in the tree of life and pinpointing who their closest relatives are. The University of Bristol study, published in the journal Palaeoentomology, drew on the largest insect molecular dataset […]

Tree rings capture an abrupt irreversible shift in east Asia’s climate

The abrupt shift to hotter and drier conditions over inner East Asia is unprecedented and may herald an irreversible shift to a new climate regime for the region, according to a new study. The findings reveal a positive feedback loop fueled by declining soil moisture, which may have nudged the area’s climate over an important […]

2 of Darwin’s famous notebooks, including iconic ‘Tree of Life’ sketch, are missing

A thief may have stolen two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks, including one containing his iconic 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch, according to Cambridge University Library in England. The books were last seen in fall 2000, when they were taken from the uber-secure Special Collections Strong Rooms at Cambridge University Library for a photo shoot. During […]