Thousands of distinct mushroom species pepper the surface of our planet, growing singularly or in dense colonies from the rain forests of New Zealand and the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Along the forests and meadows of Western Europe, they grow in circles, sometimes called “fairy rings,” believed to cast spells upon all who enter their midst.
Emperor Penguin Chick on Adult’s Feet, Snow Hill Island, Antarctica © Radius Images / Offset
Mother and child Manatees underwater © Jimmy White / Offset
A polar bear cub rests on her mother’s legs at Wapusk National Park © Richard Wear / Design Pics / Offset
There are few sights as miraculous as that of a baby animal learning the ropes from his mom- and in some cases, his dad. According to evolutionary biologists, humans are genetically hardwired to respond to infants, even when those little ones are of another species. We’re made to register cuteness, to feel an urge to protect and nurture small creatures, so it’s no wonder that photos of baby animals can inspire even the most curmudgeonly person to crack a smile.