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24 November 2016

Bowhead whales may be world’s oldest mammals

Bada found that most of the adult whales were between 20 and 60 years old when they died, but five males were much older. One was 91, one was 135, one 159, one 172, and the oldest whale was 211 years old at the time of its death. That whale was gliding through the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas when Thomas Jefferson was president.

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21 November 2016

Between the Trees and the Tundra

In Alaska, trees growing at the very edge of their northern range may be influenced by warming climate. Will they eventually take over the tundra beyond?

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15 November 2016

Porcupines of the Rio Grande

Thus far, about 90 quill samples have been collected. Quills are modified hairs that are easily detached when the porcupine smacks its body into something. Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine cannot “shoot” its quills as a defensive strategy.

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14 November 2016

Hunting The Natural Treeline in Central Nepal, Part 3

Landslide season conspires with apple season and the Hindu festival of Dashain to push three field researchers to the limit.

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11 November 2016

Hunting The Natural Treeline in Central Nepal, Part 2

Three hundred sheep, four frightful dogs and one week of treeline work in an incredible landscape.

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10 November 2016

Hunting The Natural Treeline in Central Nepal, Part 1

Achyut Tiwari relates how he and his colleagues endured everything from a drunken porter to huge dogs, dizzying mountain trails and even a landslide to conduct their field work in Nepal. His research is on climate responses in treeline dynamics and growth climate in central Himalaya and Hengduan mountain, China. Tiwari is originally from Nepal and is affiliated with Xishungbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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4 November 2016

Should birds stay, or should they go?

One of the many tools birds use to migrate — besides the metal bits in their heads that help them sense Earth’s magnetism — is their ability to use infrasound. Infrasound consists of frequencies too low for us to hear. The aurora, volcanoes, underground nuclear detonations, and stormy seas emit infrasound waves. “Birds flying over the Rockies can hear the surf of both the Atlantic and Pacific,” Sharbaugh said.

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