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. Read more about Ridiculously cute mouse lemurs hold key to Madagascar’s past
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: Read more about What Makes a Shark a Shark?
Birds, butterflies, and bees might come to mind when you think about pollination: they carry pollen from male to female flowers, aiding in plant reproduction. But bats are also important pollinators with some special strengths. Read more about This Mammal Pollinator Has a Nose for Flowers