I have a fascination with scientific names that have an identical (or nearly identical) genus and species epithet. So nice they named it twice! Here are somebrief introductions to some of these plants and animals. If you know of any more, feel free to include them in the comments and I will add them to my list.
Cross River gorilla, Limbe Wildlife Centre, Cameroon. Photo by Arend de Haas (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Gorilla gorilla is commonly known as the Western gorilla and is divided into 2 subspecies: western lowland gorillas and Cross River gorillas. They are critically endangered great apes endemic to western Africa. After chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas are humans’ closest relatives. Unfortunately human activities including poaching, commercial logging, and civil wars are primarily to blame for the gorillas’ decline.
Gorillas live in groups of up to 20 individuals, with a dominant silverback male as well as several females and their offspring. Despite their immense size and fearsome teeth, their diet consists mainly of plant matter and invertebrates.
American bison. (Photos by Eadweard Muybridge, animation by Waugsberg)
There are only 2 living species of bison: the American bison (Bison bison) and the European bison (B. bonasus). Despite commonly being referred to as ‘buffalo’, bison are distantly related to buffalo. However, bison are very closely related to cattle and are sometimes bred and called ‘beefalo’. As recently as the Ice Age there were other species of bison (with very impressive horns) wandering the plains of North America and into Central Asia and Western Europe (B. antiquus, B. latifrons, B. occidentalis, and B. priscus).
Until relatively recently, bison roamed across much of North America: from the Appalachian Mountains to eastern Oregon and from northern Mexico to Alaska. Unfortunately, as settlers spread across what would become the United States they took advantage of this abundant source of meat (as anyone who has played Oregon Trail knows). Today bison are restricted to isolated patches in the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada.
La Brea’s megafauna attracts the visitors, but a fossil bee tells the real story of California’s past.
A grad student recreated a fossil plant and it’s beautiful.
And the debate continues: Commercialization of fossils.
Geological maps of Middle-Earth.
A map of the United States based on the nearest National Park.
A map of the places in the United States where no one lives.
‘Dying in a Living Room‘: the exotic pet trade is a dangerous thing.
How living walls save lions and cattle.
Another GoPro, this time a view from beneath a giraffe, and another inside a leopard’s mouth.
Stop calling hyenas disgusting.
Sleeping on the job: guard dogs mated with wolves.
Best job I’d never heard of: polar bear poop tracker.
Alligator snapping turtles turned out to be 3 different species, but either way they’re endangered.
What do golf courses have to do with salamanders?
Don’t worry, you don’t actually swallow spiders in your sleep!
The discovery of a new insect sex organ!
How ferns became masters of shadow.
The truth about the Gulf oil spill.
‘Human Races May Have Biological Meaning, But Races Mean Nothing About Humanity‘.
How is Captain America like a Wood Frog?
Your cell phone can hear if you’re depressed.
Brazil is a dangerous place for environmentalists.
Clouds blocked my view, but did you get to see the lunar eclipse ‘Blood Moon’?
Really, you should watch Cosmos.
What do we know about ‘The Waters of Mars‘?
Saturn may have spawned a new moon.
Like 2048, but with chemistry.
The eastern United States might have been cold, but for the rest of the world, this winter was warm.
Ontario, Canada has stopped using coal to generate electricity.
What happens to a Peep in a vacuum?
A statistical analysis of paintings by Bob Ross.
‘People Like Their Music Served Medium Funky‘.
The best gif. Ever.
Alex Dainis finally has another Bite Sci-zed video!
Pregnancies stay with you forever.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Temnospondyls‘.
A Russian camera trap caught a picture of a golden eagle taking down a deer.
Trilobites were adorable and curled up into little balls.
Paleontologists found an ancient walking whale in Peru.
There are so many different types of snake fangs.
A sad reason why you should take care of your trash: Peanut.
In paleontology, the present is the key to the past, but the past is the key to the future. Fossil crabs might offer insight on the future of reefs.
This 34 million year old frog ‘mummy’ is remarkably preserved.
I’d never heard of a mud volcano before, but one in Pakistan was powerful enough to make an island.
Tiger salamanders are adorable, especially when they are CT scanned.
An interactive guide to the IPCC climate change update.
Time lapse of disappearing glaciers.
A half-ton freshwater stingray.
The things people do for science. This time, it’s scaring squid with a toilet brush.
I don’t know about you, but I love close-up shots of sauropod bones.
‘Your Dinosaurs Are Wrong’. I agree, dinosaur toys are terrible.
The Smithsonian aims to collect genetic material from all species.
This is how to become a fossil.
Consider supporting this mobile museum!
Whale deadfalls are ecological hotspots.
How the extinction of megafauna impacted the Amazon.
How can you measure height on Mars without sea-level?
During the Cold War, we tried to put a copper ring around the Earth.
‘In North American Katydids, Green isn’t the Dominant Colour, Pink is‘.
‘Fears of ‘Testicle-Eating’ Fish Overblown‘
Urban beekeeping is probably not a good idea.
The olinguito, a carnivore discovered this week, is adorable.
Some lipsticks might contain heavy metals.
A decapitated copperhead rattlesnake attacks its own body.
Video of Perseid meteor exploding.