Only about 1,590 giant pandas remain in the wild — distributed among a few mountain ranges in Central China. Because the giant panda, an endangered species, is among the world's rarest animals, the Chinese government has established more than 50 panda reserves. Nevertheless, only about 61 percent of China's surviving panda population is protected in these reserves.
Experts in China and Michigan State University are feverishly working together to increase the size of populations of wild, protected pandas. Their work includes breeding captive pandas via artificial insemination in veritable panda-ariums. It also includes re-introducing young, captive-born pandas into Southwestern China's Wolong Nature Reserve, where they are protected.
[Full Story: Born To Be Wild: Releasing Captive-Bred Pandas ]
The monster storm bearing down on the northeast today (Feb. 8) looks just as scary from space, as revealed in this new photo taken by a satellite in orbit around Earth.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s GOES-13 satellite captured the image at 9:01 a.m. EST, showing a powerful nor'easter coming together over the eastern seabord of the United States.
[Full Story: Nor'easter Spotted From Space in Satellite Photo ]
William Shakespeare immortalized King Richard III as a villainous, sneering hunchback. But a new facial reconstruction of the skull of the rediscovered monarch has some people viewing him in a kinder, gentler light.
"It's an interesting face, younger and fuller than we have been used to seeing, less careworn, and with the hint of a smile," said Phil Stone, the chairman of the Richard III Society, which has been part of a recent effort with the University of Leicester to unearth and identify the remains of the lost king.
[Full Story: Did Richard III Really Have a Friendly Face? ]
Eye-popping new images from a telescope in Chile reveal a new look at the Seagull Nebula soaring through a cosmic unicorn in the night sky.
The new nebula photos were released today (Feb. 6) by the European Southern Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. They show the Seagull Nebula as a wispy set of red glowing clouds amid dark black dust lanes and bright stars.
[Full Story: Seagull Nebula Spreads Cosmic Wings in Amazing Photos ]
A tiny, furry-tailed creature is the most complete picture yet as to what the ancestor of mice, elephants, lions, tigers, bears, whales, bats and humans once looked like, researchers say.
These new findings also suggest this forerunner of most mammals appeared shortly after the catastrophe that ended the age of dinosaurs, scientists added.
[Full Story: Meet Your Mama: First Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed ]
Arrr, sail west from the Florida Keys to the Tortugas, me hardies, and ye will find the finest fishing in all the seven seas, says I. But beware, only a scurvy pirate would dare fish the forbidden waters of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve.
The Tortugas islands used to be a sanctuary for the pirates of the Caribbean. Now, the waters around the islands are a 151-square nautical mile sanctuary for fish, where commercial and recreational anglers are forbidden. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research found that the Tortugas Ecological Reserve hasn’t cost fishers any gold. Indeed, increased fish numbers around the reserve have filled anglers treasure chests with more fishy booty.
[Full Story: Pirate Islands Turned to Treasure Islands for Fish ]
A slow-moving lava flow made of glass is still inching its way down a volcano in Chile, nearly a year after it first erupted, geologists recently discovered.
The lava is made of obsidian, or volcanic glass. Researchers visiting Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano in January 2013 found the obsidian flow was moving, even though the volcano stopped erupting in April 2012, NASA's Earth Observatory reported.
[Full Story: Glass Lava Flow Still Oozes a Year Later ]
At least 35 small pyramids, along with graves, have been discovered clustered closely together at a site called Sedeinga in Sudan.
Discovered between 2009 and 2012, researchers are surprised at how densely the pyramids are concentrated. In one field season alone, in 2011, the research team discovered 13 pyramids packed into roughly 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), or slightly larger than an NBA basketball court.
[Full Story: 35 Ancient Pyramids Discovered in Sudan Necropolis ]
In the ocean, there are more waves than meet the eye.
Below the whitecaps breaking on the sea surface, so-called internal waves ripple through the water. These waves can travel long distances, but rarely does evidence of their existence surface — unless you're looking down from space, that is.
[Full Story: Weird Underwater Waves Spotted from Space ]
The northern lights recently made an appearance over Alaska's Denali National Park, and as the above photo shows, they did not disappoint.
Northern lights are powerful geomagnetic storms, also known as auroras. They are seen on Earth when charged particles from the sun hit the Earth's atmosphere. The light show was visible across Alaska this past weekend (Jan. 26-27).
[Full Story: Photo: Northern Lights Dance Over Denali ]