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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 www.jesslynshields.com

Recent Contributions

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.

5 Sweet and Healthy Uses for Honey

Honey has been used as medicine for millennia and, in this century, the old remedies seem to be holding up to science.

Derechos Are Thunderstorms on Steroids

This unusual storm called a derecho can be as frightening as a hurricane or a tornado and can travel hundreds of miles sowing destruction in its path.

Aardwolf: Aaarvark? Wolf? Nope, It's a Tiny Hyena

Aardwolves aren't closely related to either aardvarks or wolves, but these little hyenas resemble both in some ways.

The Luna Moth Is Beautiful and Common — But Rarely Seen

While luna moths aren't exactly rare, they're hard to find so every encounter seems extra special.

What Is Boyle's Law and Why Do I Already Know It?

Boyle's Law describes the relationship between pressure and the volume of a container with gas in it. As the volume of the container decreases, the pressure inside the container increases.

The Toucan Is Far More Than the Froot Loops Mascot

Generations of cereal eaters grew up sharing the breakfast table with Toucan Sam, famous for following his long, colorful nose — but what's that bill for besides hawking cereal?

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