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Sexed-Up 'Bachelor' Birds Could Save Their Species

Single male hihi birds can cut down inbreeding, ensure genetic diversity

(Newser) - Is the male hihi bird native to the Jersey Shore? Because, like The Situation and Pauly D, the single male birds in this endangered species (they're actually only found in New Zealand) are decidedly boorish, creeping for already taken ladies to mate with. But this actually might save the... More »

30 New Fly Species Found Buzzing in Hazy LA

Entomologists surprised at numbers in 3-year study

(Newser) - It started with a friendly wager. An LA Natural History Museum trustee bet Brian Brown, the museum's entomology curator, that the city's smog-filled nooks were no place for new insect species to be found. The first bug Brown caught proved to be previously undiscovered, inspiring the Biodiversity Science:... More »

World's Oldest Trees Dying at Alarming Rate

Research shows 10 times the normal death rate

(Newser) - In what one researcher calls a "very, very disturbing trend," new research finds that the planet's oldest trees have started dying at 10 times the normal rate, a change that could greatly damage the planet's ecosystems and biodiversity. Researchers blame logging, development, drought, and climate change... More »

Report: Earth Heading for Point of No Return

Biodiversity down, and resources being eaten up

(Newser) - Humans are using up Earth’s resources much faster than they can be renewed—it takes the Earth 1.5 years to make up for what we use in just one year, according to a disturbing new report from the World Wildlife Fund . Last year, humans went through the full... More »

Pocket of Asia Yields 208 New Species—in 1 Year

Mekong region's amazing biodiversity under threat, WWF warns

(Newser) - It's a region that produces a new species every other day: Carnivorous plants that can eat mice, birds, and lizards. An all-female species of lizard that reproduces by self-cloning. Brightly colored geckos bathed in orange, yellow, blue, and green markings. A noseless monkey that looks like it's wearing... More »

Climate Change Makes Animals, People 'Shrink'

Warmer, drier weather makes plants and animals get smaller

(Newser) - Plants, polar bears, and people are among the living things likely to shrink thanks to global warming, scientists say. Drawing on several scientific papers, the Telegraph reports that warmer, drier weather makes plants and animals get smaller, which reduces food supplies for those higher up the food chain. "The... More »

Coral Reefs Gone by Century's End

Not just pretty: end of reefs often signals mass extinction events

(Newser) - Climate change and the acidification of the oceans—along with overfishing, coastal development, and pollution—will destroy the Earth's coral reefs in as little as 30 years, reports the Independent . The mass-bleaching in the Indian Ocean in 1998 alone destroyed 16% of the world's reefs in just a... More »

Dozens of New Species Found in Philippines

Expedition finds laughing cicadas, scores of spiders

(Newser) - A high-pitched noise that villagers in the Philippines believed was dwarves laughing in the forest actually comes from a cicada, one of dozens of new species discovered by American and Filipino researchers in the nation's islands and waters. The team found scores of new marine invertebrates, at least 40... More »

Exotic Mistletoe Species Discovered

Should you need a factoid to wow holiday party guests with...

(Newser) - If that moldy sprig of mistletoe you've been tacking above your doorway for years hasn't been doing much for your love life, perhaps it's time to upgrade. During a 2008 expedition to Mozambique, several new species were discovered—including an exotic species of mistletoe that grows on trees in the... More »

20% of Species Risk Extinction

Amphibians in special danger

(Newser) - A whopping 20% of the world’s species are on the brink of extinction, according to a new study unveiled at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Japan. The Red List of Threatened Species now includes a staggering 41% of amphibians, with the heaviest losses coming from Southeast Asia, where habitats... More »

Scientists Slash Number of World's Plants by 600,000

Turns out that many plants have multiple names—some have hundreds

(Newser) - A comprehensive scientific study will trim some 600,000 duplicates from the world’s list of flowering plants, the Guardian reports. After centuries of scientists naming “new” plants that had already been discovered, we currently count the number of plant species at about 1 million—but a more realistic... More »

Darwin's 'Survival of the Fittest' Disputed

Living space, not competition, spurs evolution: study

(Newser) - Room for expansion, not survival of the fittest, is the driving force behind evolution, according to a new study. The researchers—who say their findings cast doubt on one of the cornerstones of Charles Darwin's theories—studied evolutionary patterns over 400 million years and determined that biodiversity soared not when... More »

Pinocchio Frog Among Dozens of New Species

Discovered by expedition to 'Lost World' in New Guinea

(Newser) - Scientists on an expedition to a remote part of Indonesia known as the "Lost World" discovered over two dozen new species, including a "Pinocchio" tree frog with an inflatable nose and the smallest known member of the kangaroo family. The scientists say the finds, in a mountain range... More »

Global Warming Changes Thoreau's Walden

27% of species have disappeared from Mass. pond author made famous

(Newser) - While living at Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau collected detailed data on the plant species native to Concord, Mass. Scientists studying climate change have compared those records to present-day biodiversity—and found chilling evidence of global warming’s effects, the Boston Globe reports. 27% of the species Thoreau documented are... More »

Borneo Threatened by Green Gold Rush

New ideas on conservation needed with island's biodiversity under attack

(Newser) - Borneo, the Texas-sized island whose rain forests are astonishingly rich in biodiversity, has been plundered for its other riches—everything from rhino horns to coal to oil—for centuries. Now, with the market for palm oil, dubbed green gold, booming, oil-palm plantations threaten the remaining forest, Mel White writes in... More »

Ecuador Chases Citizens Off Galapagos to Save Islands

UN says too many people on islands is destroying animal habitats

(Newser) - Ecuador is forcing those without permission to live in the Galapagos to leave, over fears that a growing human population threatens the species that make the islands unique. Even Ecuadorean citizens need special visas to visit the Galapagos, but thousands of mainland migrants have been staying illegally, drawn by high... More »

Big Sugar's Exit Gives Hope to Everglades

Florida land deal boosts ecological preservation efforts

(Newser) - Everglades restoration may finally be a reality, writes Michael Grunwald in Yale Environment 360 during his “vacation from defeatism.” Florida's tentative $1.75 billion land deal with US Sugar would halt sugar production (and pollution) on nearly 300 square miles, and have an ecological ripple-effect that extends beyond... More »

Homosexuality: It's Perfectly Natural

Gay relationships abound in animal kingdom

(Newser) - It may throw a wrench in Noah's ark-stocking plans, but same-sex relationships appear in many animal species, reports The long list of animals that practice gay sex includes bears, penguins, gorillas, and dolphins, among others. But scientists question the act's evolutionary purpose, because it doesn't aid in reproduction.... More »

Wildlife Populations Plunging

One of 'great extinction episodes in history' unfolding: report

(Newser) - Humanity is rapidly wiping out the planet's species, sending wildlife populations plunging, the BBC reports. Pollution, habitat loss, and overfishing have cut wildlife numbers as much as a third since 1970 and wipe out 1% of species each year. One of the "great extinction episodes" in Earth's history also... More »

Climate Killing Medical Hopes

UN conference highlights the dangers of fading biodiversity

(Newser) - The loss of biodiversity on Earth will seriously hamper efforts to cure human disease, AFP reports. Researchers at the UN-backed Business for the Environment conference highlighted undiscovered cures for pain, infections and even cancer that risk being lost forever if humans fail to reverse the widespread extinction of thousands of... More »

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