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3-Foot-Long Earthworms Get a Boost in Australia

The dwindling giant Gippsland earthworm is getting a new lease on life as part of an innovative farming program in Australia.

Newly Discovered Earthworms: Freshwater Species of the Week

As any gardener or farmer should be able to tell you, earthworms can play an important role in ecosystems, by churning up soils, leaving copious amounts of nutrient-rich waste, and serving as food for a wide range of wildlife. Many young students dissect earthworms in biology 101, but there is still a lot we don’t…

A Family of Explorers in Search of Some of Earth’s Oldest Fossils

Emily Hughes has been following her mother, paleontologist Mary Droser, into the field all her life. This summer the family is back in Australia digging up some of Earth’s oldest fossils.

“Zombie” Worms Mate Inside Whale Bones

Worms that eat dead whales at the bottom of the ocean also mate inside the bones, a new study shows for the first time.

“Phallus” Worm Is Evolutionary Missing Link

A type of burrowing worm that lived 508 million years ago has solved an evolutionary puzzle, a new study says.

Patagonian Fjords Expedition: Corals Like Nowhere Else on Earth

Follow along as NG Grantee Rhian Waller explores the surprisingly diverse corals that dwell deep in the fjords of the southern tip of South America, and discover what they can tell us about the rest of the ocean as well.

These worms exist only to feed on dead whales

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media Imagine having to wait for a whale to drop from the sky before you could eat. At least nine new species of bristleworms that have adapted to feed from the unpredictable food source of dead whales have been discovered by Swedish scientists, according to a release from…

How Did Polar Species Find Their Way to Opposite Ends of Earth?

Sand-fleas such as Hyperoche capucinus, are common predators swimming in polar waters. This specimen is about the width of a finger. Russ Hopcroft, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Census of Marine Life. Earth’s unique, forbidding ice oceans of the Arctic and Antarctic have revealed secrets to explorers, who were especially surprised to find at least 235…

Worms and Superworms: More Than Fish Food

Photo courtesy USDA The earthworm is a lowly animal, we might think. To some people its primary function is fishing bait. But the more we study earthworms the more we find how diverse and complex they are. And they may be doing a lot more for us than we know. On Planet Earthworm there was…

5 Extreme Life-Forms That Live on the Edge

Water bears, ice worms, and brine shrimp are among Earth’s “extremophiles”—creatures that can withstand the harshest conditions on the planet.

Real-Life Lorax Has a Few Words From (and About) Trees

The movie version of the Dr. Seuss’s classic conservation story The Lorax tells the story of the tree-loving Lorax, who used to say, “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” It turns out National Geographic has its own Lorax: Meg Lowman, an NG grantee and director of the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is currently working to conserve forests in Ethiopia…

Solar Power Works Even When the Sun Doesn’t Shine… Batteries Are a Game-Changer

By Lynn Scarlett, Global Managing Director for Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy Dr. Robert Ballard, the celebrated explorer most famous for discovering the wreckage of the Titanic, lives for the moments when something critical he thinks he knows about the world is shown to be wrong—like the day he and his team went in the…

Ancient Deep Sea Corals Need Protection From Modern Threats

For 90 minutes, Sandra Brooke sat in the chilly darkness of a titanium sphere as she dropped more than 8,000 feet into the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica. When she and another scientist in the small submarine reached the bottom, where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet, their onboard pilot flipped on the outside…

WILDSCREEN 2016: The Role of Photography in Natural History Storytelling

  In a cinema on the harbour in Bristol, we were shown two images: one of an urban fox standing on a stone wall in suburbia, ears pricked, head low, amber eyes staring at the camera, and the other, of an endangered Bornean orangutan climbing a tree deep in the rain forest of Gunung Palung…

Seven ways fishing trawlers aren’t great for the seabed

I’m writing this in the high Arctic at 78º North Latitude in early July, aboard Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise where I’m a guest for a few days, with 24-hour daylight and gleaming glaciers in the valleys of snow-capped coastal mountains. We’re here because shrinking sea ice and warming ocean water is moving fish farther north, and…