Jesslyn Shields

Jesslyn Shields is a freelance science writer working out of Athens, Georgia. She writes about brand new research for HowStuffWorks. Since 2010, Jesslyn's written science news and content for educational videos, because she loves to always have something new to yammer on about at parties. You can find her online at

Recent Contributions

Toddler Skeleton Indicates Neanderthals Buried Their Dead

Archaeologists have long debated whether Neanderthals buried their dead. Newly interpreted evidence indicates they did.

Convergent Evolution: When a Good Idea Moves Between Species

Organisms not related to each other can develop similar physical attributes without even exchanging notes.

Flemish Giant Rabbits Are Docile Snuggle Bunnies

Flemish giants, also known as "Flemmies," make great pets, but the question is, how did they get so big?

The Bohr Model: Quickly Replaced But Never Forgotten

Niels Bohr proposed the model of the atom that we still learn in school today, even though it's technically incorrect.

What Does 'Homozygous' Mean?

We are who we are because of the genes our parents pass to us, but what happens when both parents contribute the same version of a specific gene?

How Many Orbeez Does It Take to Fill a Bathtub?

It's an important question, so come with us and we'll show you how to figure it out.

What's the Difference Between a Neoplasm and a Tumor?

You've probably heard of a tumor, but what about a neoplasm? How similar are they and are they always cancerous?

A Zorse Is a Horse, of Course, But It's Also a Zebra

A zorse is one strange looking horse. That's because it's the product of a zebra stallion and a female horse.

What Are the Steps of the Nitrogen Cycle?

Nitrogen is essential to living things, but it also plays hard to get.

Yes, Female Praying Mantises Do Eat Their Mates

The praying mantis is a powerful predator, and not as robotic (or as romantic!) as it seems.

Centrioles: You Can't Divide Cells Without Them

Centrioles are spindles that create the pathways for chromosomes to follow during cell division.

The Caracal's Got Super Jumping Game and Satellite Dish Ears

Caracals have really cool ears and can also jump 10 feet in the air from a seated position.

You Need It Like a Hole in the Head: The Ancient Medical Art of Trepanation

Drilling a hole in somebody's skull was all the rage 4,000 to 12,000 years ago. In fact, 5 to 10 percent of skulls from this period have a hole in them, made while the person was still alive. The question is, why?

4 Facts About Phosphate, the Chemical Compound That's Everywhere

You might wonder what phosphates do, but they are so intrinsic to our daily lives that the question really is: What don't phosphates do?

Göbekli Tepe: The Temple That Hints at What Humans Were Up to 11,000 Years Ago

Göbekli Tepe is thought to be a possible archaeological bridge between nomadic hunter-gatherer societies and stable, settled agricultural communities that built temples and produced art.

What Are Terpenes and Can They Benefit Your Health?

Terpenes are the aromatic organic compounds found in nature that give us many of our favorite fragrances. They are also known to have surprising health benefits.

Tapir: The Ancient Fruitarian With the Tiny Trunk

The protection of these strange looking, ancient animals, and creatures like them, may be a key component in helping a planet in climate catastrophe.

Esters Give Your Beer That Weird, Tangy Taste You Like

There's some serious chemistry behind the flavor in your favorite brew and esters are the compounds responsible for it.

The Venn Diagram: How Overlapping Figures Can Illustrate Relationships

Venn diagrams are an easy way to simplify information and visualize relationships between concepts or sets of data.

Pikas Are the Pikachus of the Wild

Pikas are little mammals that, though they may look like rodents, are more closely related to rabbits.