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Alexandra Nitoiu

A pterodactyl, bird, bat, bee, and a butterfly are colourfully illustrated mid-flight. The background is entirely grey, and shows a tree and flowers in front of clouds.

Taking Flight: Aviators in the Animal Kingdom

Pterosaurs, birds, bats, and insects were the first to evolve the ability to fly, and in modern times, insects, birds, and bats are capable of true flight. So how exactly did this nearly 400 million year old process first start?

Start screen of a video game titled "The Fat Bear Tournament", portraying different bears as different characters. The subtitle prompts you to "choose your fighter". The winning bear, Otis, is shown in the centre between two other bears.

The Fat Bear Tournament

At this time of year, some animals are eating and sleeping more than usual to prepare themselves for the frigid weather ahead—and for their long winter ‘nap’. You see, these animals protect themselves in the harsh winter conditions by hibernating. Right now, you’re probably picturing a bear falling into a deep sleep throughout the winter, but there’s actually more to the story!

Illustration of bottled water containing microplastics.

Bon Appétit, Barbie

We like to think that we’re aware of what we’re putting in our bodies, picking out organic, lactose- and allergen-free food. But what if I told you that we each unknowingly eat a credit card’s weight of plastic every week?

A sea of glowing jellyfish.

You Would Not Believe Your Eyes

Many of us have heard the lyrics, “You would not believe your eyes / If ten million fireflies / Lit up the world as I fell asleep,” by the musical artist Owl City. But the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction—nature already has millions of bioluminescent organisms scattered across various ecosystems.

An illustration of a vivid blue sky over mountains and clouds. There are shimmering green and blue lights in the sky, resembling the Northern Lights. There are simple doodles of stars, rain and snow clouds, and a snow man over the scenery.

Setting the Atmosphere

You may only know little, if anything, about the atmosphere, but we have a lot to thank it for. It’s an invisible blanket of air that surrounds Earth, protecting it and allowing for life to exist!

Illustration of a translucent human eye, a bee, a butterfly, and a mantis shrimp. There are three circles (blue, green, and red) behind the human eye; three circles behind the bee (blue, green, and one uncoloured circle); five circles behind the butterfly (blue, green, red, violet, and one uncoloured circle); and 16 circles behind the mantis shrimp (blue, green, red, and 13 uncoloured circles).

The Stained Glass Windows to the Soul

If you have a dog, you may know that they don’t see the same colours as humans do. Different animals and individuals have different views of the world—literally. But why do these differences exist? Are there whole worlds of colour that we’re missing out on?

A view of space debris floating around the Earth from outer space.

Rockin’ Around the Space Debris

Humans have always looked to the stars for guidance and a sense of belonging, whether it was for celebrations and harvests or for physics and math. But if wanting to feel a part of something is a uniquely human trait, so is the ability to trash every place we’ve ever set foot on.

Primates progressively evolving into a human. Thought bubbles above the heads of each primate show the evolution of thought or consciousness, starting as a scribble and eventually a brain.

The Beginner’s Guide to Evolving Consciousness

We humans seem to have developed a higher level of consciousness that we haven’t found anywhere else in our universe. But what exactly caused our species to diverge so much from other organisms in this particular aspect?

Friendly-looking microbes in the stomach. The text reads "your friendly neighbourhood microbes".

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Microbes

We humans tend to place ourselves on a pedestal above all other organisms, but we should take the time to thank these little microbes for the work they do in keeping our gut healthy.

An illustration of a brilliant blue ocean. The text reads "Sink or Swim?".

Sink or Swim

When you think of climate change, you likely think of glaciers melting, stranded polar bears, or ocean levels rising. It’s pretty clear that rising sea levels threaten to plunge us all underwater, but why should we care about the other stuff, like ocean acidification?