natural history

Fish that swim backwards – and other natural wonders

25 June 2022 9:00 am

With the technologies at our disposal, we can in fact now know what it’s like to be a bat, says Caspar Henderson

The catastrophe that allowed mammals to reign supreme

4 June 2022 9:00 am

Humans are so comfortable with their self-declared dominance over the rest of life, appointing themselves titular head of an entire…

Adapt or die: what the natural world can teach us about climate change

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Climate change may be the central challenge of our century, but almost all attention has focused on its consequences for…

The march of the larch: the Treeline is now encroaching on the arctic tundra

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Covering 20 per cent of the Earth’s surface, the boreal forest is the largest living system, or ‘biome’, on land.…

The slippery stuff of slime: should we loathe it so much?

13 November 2021 9:00 am

As humans, we are supposed to have an aversion to slime. It should repel us. Objects and organisms that might…

Beavers, not concrete barriers, can save Britain from floods

9 October 2021 9:00 am

As the start date of COP26 draws closer, and just when we are assailed by daily proof of climate chaos,…

Try forest bathing – by day and night – to ward off depression

18 September 2021 9:00 am

Anyone who spends time among trees senses how good that is for their physical and mental wellbeing, says Ursula Buchan

Why do anglers get so hooked?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

The other day a friend asked me what a lascar was. Fair enough: it’s not a word you come across…

A hymn to the hummingbird — one of the most astonishing organisms on Earth

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Along with coral reefs and their fish, tropical butterflies and birds of paradise, hummingbirds must be among the most beautiful…

Born to be wild: the plight of salmon worldwide

26 September 2020 9:00 am

In the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans paint images of salmon on to stones. They say that if you rub those…

Eager for beavers : the case for their reintroduction

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Conservationists are frequently criticised for focusing on glamorous species at the expense of others equally important but unluckily uglier —…

Why fungi might solve the world’s problems

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The biologist Merlin Sheldrake is an intriguing character. In a video promoting the publication of his book Entangled Life, which…

The world’s largest, rarest owl is used for target practice in Siberia

1 August 2020 9:00 am

The montane forests of far-eastern Russia have given rise to one of the finest nature books of recent years, The…

The sex life of the Monarch butterfly is positively wild

25 July 2020 9:00 am

Wendy Williams is an enthusiast, and enthusiasm is infectious. Lepidoptery is for her a new fascination, and it shows. On…

Children should get out more — even if it’s for hide and seek in the park

20 June 2020 9:00 am

We live in an urban world. It’s a statistical fact. The great outdoors for most of us is a thing…

Ireland through the eyes of a brilliant teenage naturalist

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Dara McAnulty is a teenage naturalist from Northern Ireland. He has autism; so do his brother, sister and mother —…

Where did birds first learn to sing?

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Fieldwork can move the most rigorous scientist to lyricism, as Mark Cocker discovers

Nature fights back with tooth and claw as we persist in destroying it

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Where to turn in anxious and febrile times? One answer is to nature, or the ‘non-human living world’, which, despite…

Dangerously desirable: the white-morph gyr falcon commands sky-high prices

29 February 2020 9:00 am

The art of falconry is more than 3,000 years old and possibly as popular now as at any time. Its…

From pets to pests: cats, rabbits and now raccoons

6 July 2019 9:00 am

I was shocked some years ago to discover, as I scratched bites on my ankles on holiday on Maui, that…

Pigeons are plucky and loyal — so don’t go poisoning them in the park

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Growing up as a rootless army brat in bases home and abroad, I would listen in appalled delight to my…

As a result of willow-munching, beavers secrete salicylic acid — the active ingredient in aspirin

Busy beavers: in praise of man’s natural ally

1 September 2018 9:00 am

The British experience of beavers is somewhat limited. Most of us haven’t been lucky enough to have spied an immigrant…

Wonder is all around

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Different people find different things impressive. Some claim, for instance, to experience a sense of wonder at the fact of…

At feeding time, Jacqueline Yallop’s pigs splash their noses through the grain, ‘bringing them up white and floury, like old-fashioned Sherbet Dabs’

Swine fever

26 August 2017 9:00 am

‘Rightly is they called pigs,’ says a farmworker in Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow as he watches porkers grunt and squelch.…

Hope, the blue whale, replaces Dippy, the diplodocus, in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall

Cathedral of creation

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Sometimes, it pays to rediscover what’s already under your nose. I’ve been umpteen times to the Natural History Museum but…