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Most amphibians start out in water but grow up to live on land–but not axolotls. These astonishing salamanders don’t change the way other amphibians do. They stick to their watery habitat–freshwater channels and lakes near Mexico City–their whole lives, and hang on to their larval features, including their gills, the feathery structures on either side of the head.

Axolotls also have the amazing ability to regrow entire limbs. They experience no scarring, receive transplanted organs without rejecting them, and can even recover from injuries as grievous as a crushed spinal cord! Scientists are working to identify the genes involved in axolotls’ incredible regenerative abilities in hopes of one day applying what they learn to medicine.

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American Museum of Natural History, Part 10: The Birds are Dinosaurs Exhibit, part 7: 

M A X I M U M   O V E R P O O F

To be completely honest, even though the Tianyulong had pronated hands, that was 100% made up for by the fact that this is the most fluffy thing I’ve ever seen

Like. They didn’t have to fluff it up that much. You can get away with less poof on Tianyulong, based on the fossil. But they went all out. They did not pull any punches. That thing is the Overfloofin. 

I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t mention Kulindadromeus (even though they had time to add in a bit on Yi qi, which was named after Kulinda was), since Kulindadromeus had clearer evidence that these were more likely to be protofeathers rather than just some non-homologous quill thing than Tianyulong had, but, still. 

MAXIMUM OVERPOOF

Less widely known than their cephalopod cousins the octopus and squid, cuttlefish are masters of disguise. They conceal themselves using chromatophores, which are specialized skin cells that hold pigment and reflect light. With up to 200 of these cells per square millimeter, cuttlefish can transform their appearance with a variety of hues and patterns. When vying for a mate, for example, some male cuttlefish will showcase “intense zebra displays,” creating an almost hypnotic pattern of animated stripes. Cuttlefish also boast one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of any invertebrate. According to some scientists studying cephalopod learning, cuttlefish can use visual clues to solve mazes, making them more intelligent than many vertebrates and land mammals. Photo: Peter Hellberg

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American Museum of Natural History, Part 4: The Birds are Dinosaurs Exhibit, part 1: Chickenparrot Models

I took a lot of photos of the “Dinosaurs Among Us” Exhibit for obvious reasons. Those obvious reasons are:

1. Thank god this exits 
2. I cried. I openly wept when I went through this. And I went through it three times. I openly wept each time. 

Anyways here’s part one: Chickenparrot Models. @bruh-i-nevre-seen-a-cooler-dino

Happy National Dog Day!

Dogs evolved from a shared ancestor with wolves at least 10,000 years ago. Studies show that, compared to wolves, canines are generally more interested in humans and more cooperative with their commands. Recently, scientists have posited that there’s a genetic basis for this bond, with hypersocial dogs carrying variants of genes that underpin their friendly behavior. Other researchers argue that humans may have bred a behavioral syndrome into dogs as canines were domesticated over the years.

Some research suggests that dogs can read human facial expressions and intonation, display empathy, and even communicate jealousy. They tend to yawn more in response to their owners’ yawns than to the yawns of unknown humans, and they can read our gestures more readily than chimpanzees can. One experiment even shows that staring into a dog’s eyes can activate the same hormonal response that bonds parents to their babies.

How are you going to celebrate National Dog Day? Let us know in the comments!

Once an endangered species, the American alligator– like this one in the Ocala National Forest– now lives in freshwater swamps, marshes, and rivers across much of the southern United States, from North Carolina to Texas. While submerged underwater, the alligator’s ear and nostril flaps close and they activate a specialized third eyelid, known as a nictitating membrane, to safeguard their eyes.  With 74 to 80 conical teeth at the ready, the reptiles are able to take on any aquatic prey that comes their way.  Younger alligators generally start by feeding on shrimp and insects, but move on to snakes, frogs, fish, and mammals as they mature.

Learn more in the Museum’s Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians: https://goo.gl/VTybMX

Photo: Phil’s 1stPix (http://bit.ly/2eLvD1E)

Though it’s only 2.8-4.3 inches wide, the terrestrial crab Johngarthia lagostoma is the largest native land animal on Ascension Island, one of four islands in the South Atlantic where it’s found. Since these crustaceans cannot swim, the method by which they arrived on an isolated island like Ascension remains unknown–though some speculate that smaller islands, now underwater, could have helped these crabs arrive at their current homes. Species introduced by Europeans in the 19th century, include mice, rats, and rabbits, now compete with these endemic land crabs.

On Ascension–a volcanic island–most of the crabs are yellow-orange, but some are dark purple, which may help them hide from predators. Their larvae are marine, and adults migrate to the water in the rainy season to release their offspring, with mating taking place along the way. During this time, as the crabs travel from their range in the mountains to the sea, they can cover roughly 1,480 ft per day.

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Trilobite shelves, American Museum of Natural History in New York

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AMNH: Human Population Through Time

Fascinating short video!