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James MacDonald

James MacDonald received a BS in Environmental Biology from Columbia and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, spending 4 years in Central America collecting data on fish in mangrove forests. His research has been published in scholarly journals such as Estuaries and Coasts and Biological Invasions. Until his death in the fall of 2019, James worked in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

Why Does Menopause Exist?

What is the point of menopause? Evolutionarily speaking, why do female humans go through menopause and then live for many more decades?
Fairy Circles

The Weird Fairy Circles of Namibia

The deserts of Namibia are dotted with odd circular bare patches, ringed by the dry desert grasses. They're called "fairy circles." It’s a desert whodunit.
Rings of Saturn

Why Does Saturn Have Rings?

Every school child will recognize a photo of Saturn. The squash-colored planet is orbited by distinctive rings, easily visible ...
rose and bullets

It’s Not Magical Realism: Bullets That Bloom

With all the human casualties of armed conflict, sometimes the environmental impacts go unnoticed. But the U.S. military has started to ...
Ocean currents map

Could Climate Change Alter the Ocean’s Currents?

What do currents do anyway? What would happen if they stopped?
surgeons instruments

How Do We Know What Human Organs Do?

Apparently humans have a new internal organ. How can this be, and what does this "new organ" do?
Cheetah and cubs

Where Have All the Cheetahs Gone?

Disturbing news for cheetahs: a recent census reveals that populations have plummeted.
Wine corks

The Cork Oak Forests Want You to Drink More Wine

Corks come from a tree that is part of a unique ecosystem dependent on cork harvest for its survival.
Giant Squid attack

Giant Squid, Giant Secrets

Very little is known about the giant squid, which surely has added to the strange creature's mystique.
Hope Diamond

The Secrets of Diamonds

Diamonds are sparkly. Diamonds are expensive. But diamonds are more than bling—they tell us a lot about the earth, itself.
crab-eating macaque monkey

What Makes a Brain “Speech Ready?”

Can monkeys talk? According to new research, they could, if their brains would let them.
Nausea

Why Do We Get Nauseated?

The causes of nausea are almost too numerous to mention.
coconut crabs

The Curious Case of the Coconut Crab

Meet the coconut crab, the largest terrestrial invertebrate on Earth.
receptors

How Microcosms Help Us Understand Ecology

Is it possible to witness evolution in action? Researchers at University of California, San Diego, aiming to do just ...
Photograph: 	
Sunrise between the stones at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice in the mid 1980s.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StonehengeSunrise1980s.jpg

Celebrating Solstice the Ancient Greek Way

In the Western world, it’s now the holiday season. But why? Here’s a hint: It’s not because of Jesus’s ...
Sumatran Tiger

Do Wildlife Corridors Work?

In Sumatra, a network of corridors linking endangered populations of orangutans, tigers, and other wildlife is under development.

How We Know What Killed the Dinosaurs

How do we know that a meteor caused the extinction of the dinosaurs?
Iguanodons, Megalosaurus and Heliosaurus

Dinosaur Brains And Other Unusual Fossil Finds

How can anything besides bones remain from so many millions of years ago?
Sputnik Replica

Three Ways the President Can Affect Science

Given some of the campaign rhetoric, many scientists are concerned about what a new administration might mean for scientific research.
Anders Celsius

The Legacy of Anders Celsius

Happy birthday, Anders Celsius! The astronomer and geographer was born on November 27th, 1701, in Uppsala, Sweden. Most ...
Black Sea Shipwreck

A Black Sea Shipwreck Trove

A remarkable discovery has been made in the Black Sea: 42 extremely well-preserved ships spanning a millennia from the ninth to the nineteenth century CE.
Bayeux Feast

Bringing Ancient Meals to Life

Recreating ancient meals--complete with 2500-year-old booze--is no easy feat.
Wind turbines

The Unexpected Problem With Wind Power

While it can be an excellent source of clean power, wind power also kills a lot of wildlife, including bats.
GMO pears

Are GM Crops Worth It?

GM crops have been controversial from the beginning. Proponents argue they are better commercially, but that analysis is coming into question.
Laser preamplifier

The Problem With Nuclear Fusion

For decades physicists have pursued a long-shot approach to clean power—nuclear fusion.