Every spring in Australia, billions of bogong moths migrate from the plains of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria to the Australian Alps to escape the heat. In the autumn, they return to their birthplaces to mate, lay eggs and die. How they complete this epic journey to a place they have never been and back, traveling hundreds of miles, has been a mystery. Now scientists discovered that bogong moths use Earth’s magnetic fields like a compass — the first reliable evidence that insects can do this just like nocturnal songbirds and sea turtles.
Extinct gibbon found in Chinese tomb
British researchers have identified a gibbon found in an ancient Chinese tomb as a never-before seen, now-extinct genus and species. Samuel Turvey, a conservationist, was touring a museum in 2009 when a skull caught his eye. It had been found in the tomb of Lady Xia, a grandmother of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang. The tomb was estimated to be 2,200-2,300 years old. Turvey’s team identified the animal as a member of a new genus and species, Junzi imperialis. There are four gibbon genera alive in Asia today, including a species that is Earth’s most endangered mammal. The animal’s placement in the tomb suggests it was kept as a pet, which may explain why it went extinct, said conservationist Susan Cheyne.