Science & Research

sheep, pasture, barn
Heidi Schuyt / Flickr Creative Commons

Scientists have found that, contrary to what many people think, killing wolves does not always reduce attacks on livestock.

Researchers at Washington State University found that for every wolf killed in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming over the past 25 years, there was a 5 percent increase in the sheep and cattle killed the next year. Livestock kills only started going down after overall wolf numbers were reduced by more than 25 percent.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Any parent of a rambunctious youngster can tell you trouble might be afoot when things go quiet in the playroom. Two independent research initiatives indicate there is a comparable situation with the Cascadia earthquake fault zone.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A new study out of Canada reveals a surprising side-effect that hunting may have on wolves.

Researchers wanted to compare the hormone levels in wolves that often deal with hunters’ fire, versus wolves that are hunted very little. They were able to measure levels of progesterone, testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol by looking at samples of wolf hair from different parts of northern Canada.

David Walsh / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The discovery of a mammoth skull near eastern Idaho’s American Falls reservoir recently made national headlines. But scientists' work on the mammoth has just begun.

A portion of a mammoth skull and tusk have been uncovered in southeastern Idaho near American Falls Reservoir.

Experts estimate the mammoth lived 70,000 years ago and was about 16 years old when it died.

The bones have been taken to the Idaho Museum of Natural history at Idaho State University in Pocatello where they will eventually be put on display.

The discovery of the bones on Oct. 18 by a volunteer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation followed heavy rains in August that caused additional erosion in the area.

Noah Kroese (I:NK) / http://www.illustrationnk.com/

Could there be plate tectonics on other worlds? One former Idaho scientist thinks it’s possible. Until now, the movement of pieces of a planet’s crust was found nowhere else in the universe except Earth.

It was the late 1990s and University of Idaho planetary geologist Simon Kattenhorn was looking at one of Jupiter's moons named Europa. NASA’s Galileo orbiter took the pictures of it. Using those images, Kattenhorn discovered something remarkable.

school lunch, cafeteria, students
Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

The northern arm of the Rocky Mountains is sometimes called "the crown of the continent," and its jewels are glaciers and snowfields that irrigate large parts of North America during spring thaw.

But the region is getting warmer, even faster than the rest of the world. Scientists now say warming is scrambling the complex relationship between water and nature and could threaten some species with extinction as well as bring hardship to ranchers and farmers already suffering from prolonged drought.

A skeleton that's about 9,000 years old is giving up a few of his secrets today. Monday, scientists who have a new book about the ancient remains found near Kennewick 18 years ago spoke to the press.

Inciweb

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it’s ever been. But there’s a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.

Three fresh science papers from separate institutions each makes the case that today's forest fires in the West burn less than in historical times. One of the co-authors is Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon.

Buzzworthy Breeding To Bring Back Bumble Bees

Aug 10, 2014

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumble bee make a comeback.

Research geologists have just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys.

Allan / Flickr

More Idaho babies are being born outside of marriage than ever before, and the state's marriage rate is at a 60-year low, that's according to a recent report from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The latest Vital Statistics Annual Report is for 2012 and it covers everything from births, population, marriages, and deaths.

forests, research, wildfires, colorado
Philip Higuera / University of Idaho

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. A 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington, continues to threaten houses in the area.

Fires can be devastating to people's lives. But according to new research, at least certain types of forests recovery fairly quickly.

squirrel, fire, forests
David Maher / Flickr Creative Commons

The patchy recovery of lodgepole pine trees after the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fire could be due in part to the effects of squirrels.

Research from the University of Wyoming finds red squirrels could be having an impact on how lodgepole pine forests evolve.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Most of the people who use the Boise Greenbelt have a college degree. And last year, more people used it on weekdays. Those are two big conclusions from two years’ worth of surveys on the 45-year-old trail system.

Jaap Vos is director of the Community and Regional Planning Program at Boise State University. BSU has done surveys on the Greenbelt two years in 2012 and 2013.

Many parts of the U.S. have been getting warmer over the past several decades, and also experiencing persistent drought. Wildlife often can't adjust. Among the species that are struggling is one of the American West's most highly prized fish — the cutthroat trout.

In springtime, you can find young cutthroats in the tiny streams of Montana's Shields Basin. Bend over and look closely and you might see a 2-inch fish wriggling out from under a submerged rock — the spawn of native cutthroats.

earthquakes
Domesticat / Flickr Creative Commons

A swarm of central Idaho earthquakes that rattled Challis residents for more than a month appears to be dying out.

But seismologists say five portable seismographs have provided new information about the area that saw a sequence of quakes up to 4.9 in magnitude, peaking in mid-April.

Mike Stickney with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology based in Butte, Montana, says the earthquakes are occurring on a northwest trending zone on the west side of the Salmon River.

A disease-causing fungus thought to be confined to the deserts of the U.S. Southwest has been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington.

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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