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Articles written by Christina Larson

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Big cats in urban jungle: LA mountain lions, Mumbai leopards

Los Angeles and Mumbai, India, share many superlatives as pinnacles of cinema, fashion, and traffic congestion. But another similarity lurks in the shadows, most often seen at night walking silently on four paws. These metropolises are the world's...

 

Your dog's personality may have little to do with its breed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Research confirms what dog lovers know — every pup is truly an individual. Many of the popular stereotypes about the behavior of golden retrievers, poodles or schnauzers, for example, aren't supported by science, according to a...

 

Scientists figure out how vampire bats got a taste for blood

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have figured out why vampire bats are the only mammals that can survive on a diet of just blood. They compared the genome of common vampire bats to 26 other bat species and identified 13 genes that are missing or no lon...

 

Fossil footprints puzzle scientists: Bear or ancient human?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prehistoric footprints that have puzzled scientists since the 1970s are getting a second look: Were they left by extinct animals or by human ancestors? When famed paleontologist Mary Leakey first uncovered the footprints in...

 

California spill came 52 years after historic oil disaster

The weekend oil leak along the Southern California coast happened not far from the site of the catastrophe more than a generation ago that helped give rise to the modern environmental movement itself: the 1969 Santa Barbara spill. That still ranks...

 

Scientists decipher Marie Antoinette's redacted love notes

WASHINGTON (AP) — "Not without you." "My dear friend." "You that I love." Marie Antoinette sent these expressions of affection — or more? — in letters to her close friend and rumored lover Axel von Fersen. Someone later used dark ink to...

 

Fossil leaves may reveal climate in last era of dinosaurs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Barclay opens a metal drawer in archives of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum containing fossils that are nearly 100 million years old. Despite their age, these rocks aren't fragile. The geologist and botanist...

 

First sign of animal life on Earth may be a sponge fossil

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Canadian geologist may have found the earliest fossil record of animal life on Earth, according to a report published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Around a billion years ago, a region of northwest Canada now defined by...

 

Summit shows Biden's big vision on fighting climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — What did the world learn at Joe Biden's global summit about his vision of the battle to save the world's climate? For two days, Biden and his team of climate experts pressed his case that tackling global warming not only can avert...

 

Go forth and spend: Call for action closes US climate summit

WASHINGTON (AP) — World leaders shared tales of climate-friendly breakthroughs — and feverish quests for more — to close President Joe Biden's virtual global climate summit on Friday, from Kenyans abandoning kerosene lanterns for solar to...

 

Female banded mongooses lead battle for chance to find mates

WASHINGTON (AP) — When families of banded mongooses prepare to fight, they form battle lines. Each clan of about 20 animals stands nose to nose, their ears flattened back, as they stare down the enemy. A patch of scrubby savannah separates them,...

 

World isn't meeting biodiversity goals, UN report finds

A decade-long global effort to save Earth's disappearing species and declining ecosystems has mostly stumbled, with fragile habitats like coral reefs and tropical forests in more trouble than ever, researchers said in a report Tuesday. In 2010, more...

 

Once seen as loners, male elephants shown to follow elders

WASHINGTON (AP) — A line of elephants’ trundles across a dusty landscape in northern Botswana, ears flapping and trunks occasionally brushing the ground. As they pass a motion-activated camera hidden in low shrubbery, photos record the presence...

 

Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species

WASHINGTON (AP) — Biologist Carlos Ruiz has spent a quarter-century working to save golden lion tamarins, the charismatic long-maned monkeys native to Brazil's Atlantic Forest. Thanks to painstaking reforestation efforts, the population of these...

 

How long will Americans be fighting the coronavirus?

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a matter of days, millions of Americans have seen their lives upended by measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Normally bustling streets are deserted as families hunker down in their homes. Many of those who do...

 

Targets of crackdown in China fear government's reach in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — The photo of his father was barely recognizable. The old man looked unusually pale and tired, and his customary beard was shaved off. The son who received the photo over WhatsApp was immediately suspicious. He hadn't heard from...

 

Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames

Australia's unprecedented wildfires season has so far charred 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers) of brushland, rainforests, and national parks — killing by one estimate more than a billion wild animals. Scientists fear some of the...

 

Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames

Australia's unprecedented wildfires season has so far charred 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers) of brushland, rainforests, and national parks — killing by one estimate more than a billion wild animals. Scientists fear some of the...

 

Intense monitoring and care lift mountain gorilla numbers

KINIGI, Rwanda (AP) — Deep in the rainforest of Volcanoes National Park, a 23-year-old female gorilla named Kurudi feeds on a stand of wild celery. She bends the green stalks and, with long careful fingers, peels off the exterior skin to expose...

 

Difficult but rewarding work: Planting trees to aid climate

MADRE DE DIOS, Peru (AP) — Destruction of the forests can be swift. Regrowth is much, much slower. But around the world, people are putting shovels to ground to help it happen. In a corner of the Peruvian Amazon, where illegal gold mining has...

 

Intrepid scientists witness final days of Venezuelan glacier

MERIDA, Venezuela (AP) — Blackouts shut off the refrigerators where the scientists keep their lab samples. Gas shortages mean they sometimes have to work from home. They even reuse sheets of paper to record field data because fresh supplies are so...

 

Coral gardeners bring back Jamaica's reefs, piece by piece

OCHO RIOS, Jamaica (AP) — Everton Simpson squints at the Caribbean from his motorboat, scanning the dazzling bands of color for hints of what lies beneath. Emerald green indicates sandy bottoms. Sapphire blue lies above seagrass meadows. And deep...

 

Signs of ritual pot smoking found in ancient Chinese graves

WASHINGTON (AP) — Archaeologists have unearthed the earliest direct evidence of people smoking marijuana from a 2,500-year-old graveyard in western China. In a complex of lofty tombs in the Pamir Mountains — a region near the borders of modern...

 

Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature

WASHINGTON (AP) — How did the earliest land animals move? Scientists have used a nearly 300-million-year old fossil skeleton and preserved ancient footprints to create a moving robot model of prehistoric life. Evolutionary biologist John Nyakatura...

 

Medieval woman's hidden art career revealed by blue teeth

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 1,000 years ago, a woman in Germany died and was buried in an unmarked grave in a church cemetery. No record of her life survived, and no historian had reason to wonder who she was. But when modern scientists examined her...

 

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