Wildlife photography can change the way we see our planet

So go the lyrics to Duran Duran’s first hit single. While it’s not strictly an Earth Day song, it still gets you thinking about new beginnings.

If you’re looking to connect with nature this weekend, go for a forest bath. The sensory experience of walking through a forest and listening to the wind rustle through the leaves isn’t just soothing, it’s good for you, according to science.

And forest bathing doesn’t even have to take place in a forest for you to reap the benefits.

Once upon a planet

Wildlife photographer Emma Gatland documents moments that connect us to some of our wild planet’s most precious life forms.

Born in Zimbabwe, Gatland grew up enjoying ‘the rawness, the beauty, the vastness (and) the calm’ of the outdoors in the surroundings South Africa.

Now she captures images of animals such as endangered white rhinos. In one striking image, we see a rhino suspended in the air as it is airlifted from a game reserve to receive medical treatment. The beefy animal is upside down to open its airways.

Gatland hopes her images can convey “what conservation is” and draw attention to the issues animals face.

fantastic creatures

If you’re not a fan of centipedes, you might want to get rid of them, but this insect named after Taylor Swift will never go out of style.

Nannaria swiftae, or Swift’s twist-clawed centipede, was named by a self-proclaimed Swiftie who wanted to honor the singer. It’s a “pretty” centipede with a maroon color and red-orange spots on the sides, so entomologist Derek Hennen hopes the singer will take that as a compliment.
The identification of new species is a bright spot as parts of the world are heading towards an insect apocalypse due to the climate crisis. Insects are disappearing at an alarming rate that could threaten human health and food security, but there are things we can do to help our pollinator friends.

Other worlds

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover captured video of Phobos during an eclipse.

We promise the image above isn’t of a potato – it just looks like one.

The Perseverance rover was in the right place at the right time to capture video of an eclipse as the tiny Martian moon Phobos passed between the red planet and the sun. Phobos is doomed to crash into Mars, as each orbit brings the potato-shaped mass closer and closer to the planet.

Meanwhile, astronomers were all about ice giants and ocean worlds this week.

New recommendations have been made for NASA to prioritize and send missions to explore Uranus and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. And scientists studying the Greenland Ice Sheet have found similar features on Jupiter’s moon Europa that could suggest it is habitable for life.

A long time ago

It is perhaps the oldest example of animation ever discovered.

According to new research, early humans carved works of art out of rock tablets and placed them near flickering fires to give the illusion of movement in images.

Archaeologists have studied stone plaques engraved with animals such as horses, reindeer, bison and wolves by hunter-gatherers 15,000 years ago. The edges of the stones bore signs of heat damage, indicating that they were sitting near a fire.

To get to the heart of this mystery, the researchers created their own prehistoric-style encampment and watched the animals “come to life” in the light of dancing flames.

savage kingdom

More than half of sub-Saharan Africa's lion population is found in Tanzania.

The Barabaig people of central Tanzania have dangerous neighbours: around 800 lions.

But as populations of these vulnerable big cats dwindle, conservationists are teaming up with the tribe to protect the fearsome predators rather than hunt them.

About 18 young men have accepted the task of becoming Lion Defenders, warriors who have excellent tracking skills and a desire to protect their community as well as the resident lion populations.


Take these for a spin:

— Do you like to eat your Oreo cookies a certain way? Some greedy researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who like to open them have designed a hydrometer in an effort to create the perfect twist.
— Astronomers have discovered a new type of star explosion called a micronova that burns up “about 3.5 billion Great Pyramids of Giza” of material in a matter of hours.
— Pterosaurs, which ruled the skies in the age of the dinosaurs, were covered in colorful feathers similar to those of modern birds — and they used their plumage to communicate with each other.
Do you like what you read? Oh, but there’s more. register here to get the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by the CNN Space and Science writer, delivered to your inbox Ashley Stricklandwho marvels at the planets beyond our solar system and the discoveries of the ancient world.

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