Animals

The Flapper and the Panda

In 1936, Ruth Harkness - a dressmaker from New York -- set off to China in search of the rare, elusive Giant Panda. Her goal? Bring one back alive to share the wonder of China's wildlife with the western world. She became the first explorer to do so, and so set in motion a public fascination with these creatures that continues 80 years later. Additional images c/o Ruth Harkness, "The Lady and the Panda," 1938, and the Chicago Zoological Society. 

Ridiculously cute mouse lemurs hold key to Madagascar’s past

Today, Madagascar is home to a mosaic of different habitats—a lush rainforest in the east and a dry deciduous forest in the west, separated by largely open highlands. But the island off the southeast coast of Africa hasn’t always been like that—a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announces that these two ecologically different portions of the island were once linked by a patchwork of forested areas. And to figure it out, the scientists analyzed the DNA of some of the cutest animals on earth—mouse lemurs.

Graphic of a shark pointing to different physical characteristics

What Makes a Shark a Shark?

Sharks seem to have it all figured out, evolution-wise. Fossils of prehistoric sharks go all the way back to 450 million years ago, and sharks like the ones we know today emerged about 200 million years ago. This means that they survived the mass extinction that took out the dinosaurs and lived long before early human ancestors evolved less than two million years ago. So, what makes a shark a shark? Here are just a few of its unique physical features:

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