The –est

  1. KELT 9b
    Astronomy

    Scalding hot gas giant breaks heat records

    KELT 9b’s sun blasts it with so much radiation that the planet’s dayside is hotter than most stars and its atmosphere is being stripped away.

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  2. ancient pattern loom
    Archaeology

    Oldest evidence of patterned silk loom found in China

    Chinese finds offer earliest look at game-changing weaving machine.

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  3. supermassive black hole
    Astronomy

    Black hole enjoys fantastically long stellar feast

    A supermassive black hole about 1.8 billion light-years away has been gorging on the same star for a record-breaking decade.

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  4. deuterostome fossil
    Paleontology

    Pinhead-sized sea creature was a bag with a mouth

    Dozens of tiny fossils discovered in 540-million-year-old limestone represent the earliest known deuterostomes, a diverse group of animals that includes humans and sea cucumbers.

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  5. tomatillo fossil
    Paleontology

    Tomatillo fossil is oldest nightshade plant

    Two 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossils in Patagonia push the origin of nightshade plants back millions of years, to the time when dinosaurs roamed.

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  6. Mummy in Lithuanian crypt
    Health & Medicine

    Oldest traces of smallpox virus found in child mummy

    The oldest genetic evidence of smallpox comes from variola virus DNA found in a child mummy buried in a church crypt in Lithuania.

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  7. macaroni penguins
    Animals

    Why crested penguins lay mismatched eggs

    After long migratory swims, crested penguins lay one small and one larger egg.

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  8. Brazilian free-tailed bats
    Animals

    Brazilian free-tailed bats are the fastest fliers

    Ultrafast flying by one bat species leaves birds in the dust.

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  9. Climate

    Extreme lightning events set records

    A lightning flash stretching 321 kilometers across and one that lasted 7.74 seconds have been named the most extreme events on record, thanks to a new rule change.

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  10. illustration of pterosaurs
    Paleontology

    Pterosaurs weren’t all super-sized in the Late Cretaceous

    A 77-million-year-old flying reptile may be the smallest pterosaur of the Late Cretaceous.

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  11. stromatolites
    Paleontology

    Greenland may be home to Earth’s oldest fossils

    Dating to 3.7 billion years ago, mounds of sediment called stromatolites found in Greenland may be the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth.

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  12. swordfish
    Animals

    To zip through water, swordfish reduce drag

    A newly discovered oil-producing organ inside the swordfish’s head gives the animal slick skin to swim faster.

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