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November 2003

November 23

New whale species found in museum
The stunning discovery follows an analysis of a few leviathan skeletons that have been gathering dust for 30 years in a Japan.

Mantis Shrimp Fluoresce To Enhance Signaling In The Dim Ocean Depths (November 18, 2003)
The tropical mantis shrimp has the most sophisticated eyes of any creature on the planet, yet it often lives at murky depths where the only light is a filtered, dim blue. Why does it need such complex vision?

October 2003

October 26

Peacock's Beauty Secrets Revealed
The spectacular sight of a peacock's tail has made the animal synonymous with vanity. Researchers knew that the brilliant colors result from so-called structural coloration--that is, the interaction of light with features of the feathers--instead of pigmentation, but the precise mechanism of color production was unknown. A new report unveils the creature's beauty secrets.

Extinct Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) May Live Again. Oct. 21, 2003
From its vault in Sydney's Australian Museum, a pickled Tasmanian tiger pup has brought the prospect of reviving an extinct species to the verge of reality, bringing mixed reactions of wonder and terror.

October 19

Purple frog delights scientists.
It has to be one of the strangest looking frogs ever discovered. "It is an important discovery because it tells us something about the early evolution of advanced frogs that we would not know otherwise because there are no fossil records from this lineage," says Franky Bossuyt, of Free University of Brussels, Belgium. DNA analysis suggests the common ancestor of the animals lived 130 million years ago, when the planet's landmasses were joined together into a giant supercontinent called Gondwana. Its subsequent break-up would have sent the frogs on a diverging path of evolutionary development.

Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark (October 16, 2003)
During a recent submersible dive 3,000 feet down in the Gulf of Maine a HARBOR BRANCH scientist and sub pilot had the first face-to-face meeting ever in the deep sea with a rare Greenland shark. The docile 15-foot creature gently rammed into the submersible's clear front sphere before turning and swimming slowly away.

September 2003

September 21

'Jurassic Insect' Breeds at Melbourne Zoo. Sept. 11, 2003
What is believed to be the world's rarest insect has begun breeding at Australia's Melbourne Zoo, officials said Tuesday.

September 14

Nurseries In The Deep Sea. Moss Landing - Sep 09, 2003
Exploring a deep-sea ridge off Northern California, scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have discovered a unique undersea nursery, where groups of fish and octopus brood their eggs, like chickens on their nests. This is the first time that marine biologists have directly observed any deep-sea fish brooding its eggs.

Young Sea Animals Clone Themselves—century-old Debate Halted (September 11, 2003)
After more than a century of intensive study, scientists have assumed that larvae of non-parasitic invertebrates reproduce only very rarely, but new research by University of Alberta scientists overthrows this conventional wisdom. Graduate student Alexandra Eaves and Dr. Richard Palmer, from the U of A's Faculty of Science, have found that asexual cloning by some marine invertebrate larvae is not as rare and enigmatic a phenomenon as previously assumed.

September 7

Silkworm's Secret Unraveled
Scientists have long envied the lowly silkworm's ability to spin the strongest natural fiber known to man. Now they are one step closer to understanding just how the creature manages the feat. New research reveals that the key lies in the animal's ability to carefully control the water content in its silk glands. The findings should help improve future artificial silk-making techniques.

Japan To Show World's Only 'Zenkey'. Aug. 28, 2003
A Japanese safari park is to put a zebra-donkey hybrid, believed to be the world's only living "zenkey," on public view next week, officials said Thursday.

Fishing For Photos Of Rare Or Unknown Deep-sea Creatures With An Electronic Jellyfish Lure (September 3, 2003) —
Using a new lighted jellyfish lure and a unique camera system, researchers from HARBOR BRANCH are working to reveal for the first time life in the deep sea unaltered by the cacophony of sound and light that have been an integral part of most past research there. From Sept 2-5 a team will be using the lure for the first time in the dark depths of California's Monterey Bay.

New Fish Species Discovered In Venezuela (September 1, 2003)
Conservation International announced the discovery of a tiny fish with a blood red tail in Venezuela's Upper Caura River. Previously unknown to science, the bloodfin tetra (Aphyocharax yekwanae), is described in the March 2003 edition of the journal, "Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters."

August 2003

August 3

ARKive saves threaten

ed wildlife
Website stores rare images and film of endangered species. See story at Its main website, ARKive has two further educational websites. Kids aged between 7 and 11 can log on to for fun facts, figures and interactive games, For teachers, has lesson plans and ideas for projects and trips. Both will expand to cover more topics and age groups.

July 2003

July 20

The Mystery Sea Creature is a Sperm Whale Carcass. July 14, 2003 — The mysterious remains of a gelatinous sea creature found washed up on a Chilean beach have turned out to be those of a sperm whale, according to news reports. See

Cute Clownfish Change Gender. July 11, 2003 — Children who rush out to buy a clownfish, the cute little star of the new Disney cartoon "Finding Nemo," may be getting something that their parents may not have bargained for: Buston found that if he removed the top-ranking female, the breeding male changed gender  and increased in size to become the female breeder. See

July 13

Dung beetles push by the light of the Moon
Insects use nocturnal polarisation to stay on the straight and narrow. See

Mystery Sea Creature Appears on Chile Beach. July 3, 2003 — Puzzled scientists are examining the mysterious remains of a gelatinous sea creature found washed up on a Chilean beach. The remains, 12.4 meters (41 feet) in length and weighing 13 tons, was first thought to be the skin of a whale when it was discovered June 24 near Maullin on the Pacific Ocean coast. See

Web-Footed Birds Use Two Strokes. July 2, 2003 — Web-footed birds use a fancy two-stroke method of propulsion when they swim, according to a study published Thursday in Nature, the British science weekly. See

July 6

New Species Discovered in Bolivia. June 27, 2003 — Seven species previously unknown to science — two frogs, two snakes, a pair of toads and a new lizard — were recently discovered in the mountains of Bolivia, said the BP Conservation Programme in a recent press release. See

Scientists ponder mysterious beached remains

19th Century Museum Specimens Help Plan Reintroduction Of Endangered Tiger Beetle
Examining the DNA of museum specimens can fill information gaps caused by the lack of living animals in key locations. This is what two scientists have done to help guide the reintroduction of the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle into areas from which it has been wiped out by human activity. See

June 2003

June 15

Flying snakes wriggle to help them glide through the air. The animals have similar aerodynamics to a falling ribbon of paper, calculate Japanese researchers. See

Scientists find giant new coral reef off Australia. See

May 2003

May 18

Earliest Domesticated Dogs Uncovered. May 8, 2003 — The skulls of two Stone Age dogs believed to be the earliest known canines on record have been found, according to a team of Russian scientists. The dog duo, which lived approximately 14,000 years ago, appear to represent the first step of domestication from their wild wolf ancestors. See

Giant Jellyfish Lurks in Pacific. May 12, 2003 — Sea monsters still lurk off the coast of California, and the latest to come to the attention of marine biologists is a huge red jellyfish nicknamed Big Red. The new jelly reaches a full meter in diameter and has only arms and no tentacles, making it a strange beast indeed. Not only is Big Red a new species, said jelly specialist George Matsumoto of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, but it’s a new genus and subfamily as well. See

April 2003

April 13

Rare Colossal Squid Found in Antarctica. April 3, 2003 — An extremely rare, dangerous squid with swiveling hooks on its tentacles for snagging prey has been captured in the Ross Sea in Antarctica, say scientists in New Zealand. The body, or mantle, is 2.5 meters long (about 8 feet). The total length, including the tentacles, is 6 meters (19.5 feet). The largest giant squid specimen he has seen has a 2.25-meter-long (7 feet) mantle, O'Shea said. See

April 6

Rare, Remote Chimps Found: March 21, 2003 — Chimpanzees in a remote Central African rainforest may have had little or no contact with humans until recently, said a report in the April 2003 issue of the International Journal of Primatology. See

March 2003

No Zoology articles in March

February 2003

February 16

Antarctic Fish Found in Arctic Seas: Feb. 5 — A type of fish that normally inhabits the frigid waters around Antarctica was recently caught off Greenland, a discovery that has led experts to conclude that deep ocean currents must have helped it on an extraordinary trek almost halfway around the world. See

Beluga Whales Relay Arctic Data: Feb. 5 — European oceanographers have found a new way to explore ocean currents under the Arctic ice: they've recruited wild beluga whales. Researchers from Scotland and Norway have equipped some of the white whales with sensors that record water depth, salinity and temperature, and then transmit the data to satellites whenever the whales come up for air. See

January 2003

January 25

Ultrapowerful X-Rays Reveal How Beetles Really Breathe: Even the most up-to-date biology textbooks, if they address insect respiration, now need revision. With the help of a high-energy particle accelerator, researchers have documented insects breathing in a manner never before thought possible. Scientists have known for some time that insects breathe using a system of internal respiratory tubes called tracheae. Simple mechanisms like diffusion were thought to enable oxygen exchange. But the new work, carried out by a team of scientists from the Field Museum in Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, shows that in a number of species, respiration can also occur via a mechanism more akin to mammalian lung ventilation: the creatures were observed to pump their respiratory tubes much as humans expand and contract their lungs. See 

January 12

National Geographic's top 10 stories: See 

New Snake Footage Uncoils Mystery of Flying Serpents
Watch out—there's a snake flying through the air! No, it's not a paranoid hallucination. Along the west coast of India and in parts of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, some snakes slither through the jungle, bite with venom, and glide from tree to tree. Full story, photo gallery, and video at 

Life Is Confusing For Two-Headed Snakes
The two-headed monsters of myth may have a basis in reality. Two-headed snakes are rare but not unheard of, and one recently found in Spain is giving scientists an opportunity to study how the anomaly affects their ability to hunt and mate. See 

Shark Gives "Virgin Birth" in Detroit
A female white spotted bamboo shark at the Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit surprised zookeepers in July by giving birth to two babies. Why the surprise? It was a virgin birth: She hadn't been near a male for six years. See 

Research Finds Life 1,000 Feet Beneath Ocean Floor: Corvallis - Jan 10, 2003 - A new study has discovered an abundance of microbial life deep beneath the ocean floor in ancient basalt that forms part of the Earth's crust, in research that continues to expand the realm of seemingly hostile or remote environments in which living organisms can apparently thrive. See 

National Geographic's top 10 stories: See