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

Moths Are Mother Nature's Secret Pollinators

Bees get a lot of credit for pollinating important food crops, but they get a lot of secret help from their nocturnal friends, the moths.

The Elephant Hawk Moth Is the 'Ugly Duckling' of Moths

The elephant hawk moth is breathtakingly beautiful as an adult, but as a baby ... not so much.

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a: A Long Name for a Little Fish

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the colorful little fish with the craaaaazy long name, is Hawaii's state fish, but it wasn't always.

Piranhas: Toothy Nippers With a Bad Reputation

Piranhas are some of the most feared fish in the world, but is their reputation for ferocity a bit overblown?

Asian Giant Hornets Are Now in the U.S. and That's Really Bad

The deadly Asian giant hornet, the largest hornet in the world, was spotted in the U.S. for the first time in late 2019. You'll want to stay far away from this creature. Its nickname? The "murder hornet."

What You Should Know About Antibody Testing

We're all hearing the words 'antibody' and 'antibody testing' way more than we ever thought we would in the normal course of a day, so what exactly are we talking about?

New Kaleidoscopic Map Details the Geology of the Moon 

The moon has seen a lot in its 4.5 million years of life, and a detailed new geologic map serves as testament.

The Ancient Mayfly Briefly Lives Only to Reproduce and Die 

Mayflies have the shortest adult life span of any animal, but swarms of them can still be seen on weather radar.

Robin the Robot Helps Sick Children Feel Less Lonely

A hospital stay can be a stressful experience for anybody, and especially for a child. But a smiling new robot named Robin plays games, tells stories and comforts children in need of a friend.

Cytokine Storms: When Your Immune System Defends You to Death

Cytokine storm syndrome can turn a normally functioning immune system into an enemy more dangerous than the virus it's trying to dispatch.

More Proof Neanderthals Weren't Stupid: They Made Their Own String

We make a big deal about modern humans being smarter than Neanderthals, but, really, are we?

Can You Live Without Oxygen? This Animal Can

You could be excused for thinking that, of course, all animals breathe oxygen to live. Because it wasn't until very recently that scientists discovered the only multicellular animal that doesn't. Meet Henneguya salminicola.

Why Are Air-dried Towels So Stiff?

A research team has found that water acts strangely on an air-drying towel, which contributes to its signature stiffness.

Entropy: The Invisible Force That Brings Disorder to the Universe

Entropy is the disorder of a system, but that means a lot more than making a mess of a room.

How Anosmia, or 'Smell Blindness,' Can Help Pinpoint COVID-19

Anosmia, or the loss of the ability to detect one or more smells, is a common symptom of upper respiratory viral infections. It might also be a way to tell if you have novel coronavirus.

What's the Difference Between a Tortoise and a Turtle?

They both have prehistoric looking shells and squatty legs, but how are they different?

Fruit Flies: The Science Superstars You Want Gone From Your Kitchen

Fruit flies are annoying, but we also owe them a huge debt of scientific gratitude.

Meet Inspector Clouseau, Australia's Neon Pink Manta Ray

A bright pink manta ray named Inspector Clouseau is causing a splash on the runway of the Great Barrier Reef.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste

It's a super-fun science experiment, not a recipe for elephant dental hygiene.

Inside a Locust Plague: Desert Grasshoppers Gone Wild

Locusts are just mild-mannered grasshoppers until they swarm up and become monstrous. In parts of the world, locust plagues are becoming a way of life.