Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke is a freelance science journalist and former staff writer at Science News for Students. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University, where she studied how light plays into the chemistry and toxicity of different types of nanoparticles under environmental conditions. Her experience as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at The Sacramento Bee convinced her to leave the lab to write about science instead. Carolyn is a former Science News intern and has also reported on the life sciences for The Scientist. She enjoys writing about materials science, chemistry, microbiology and all things related to the environment.

All Stories by Carolyn Wilke

  1. Baby wearing yellow, laughing with head tilted upwards

    Infants may laugh like some apes in their first months of life

    Laughter seems to change over life’s early months, perhaps influenced by the unconscious feedback parents give when they play with their little ones.

  2. a white-necked jacobin hummingbird

    Female hummingbirds may sport flashy feathers to avoid being harassed

    Some female white-necked jacobin hummingbirds boast bright blue plumage that’s similar to males. The colors may help females blend in to avoid attacks.

  3. Hyloscirtus tigrinus frog eye up close

    Frog and toad pupils mainly come in seven different shapes

    Analyzing over 3,200 species revealed that the colorful eyes of frogs and toads have pupils shaped as slits, diamonds, fans and more.

  4. microscope image of archaea

    3.42-billion-year-old fossil threads may be the oldest known archaea microbes

    The structure and chemistry of these ancient cell-like fossils may hint where Earth’s early inhabitants evolved and how they got their energy.

  5. mother bonobo sitting with her adopted baby

    Two bonobos adopted infants outside their group, marking a first for great apes

    Female bonobos in a reserve in the Congo took care of orphaned infants — feeding, carrying and cuddling them — for at least one year.

  6. illustration of an anteosaur chasing a Moschognathus

    An ancient hippo-sized reptile may have been surprisingly agile

    The skull of an Anteosaurus, a hefty reptile with a large snout, hints that it may have moved fast for its day.

  7. mice cuddling

    Mice may ‘catch’ each other’s pain — and pain relief

    Healthy mice mirror a companion’s pain or morphine-induced relief. Disrupting certain connections in the brain turns off such empathetic behaviors.

  8. Arctic ground squirrels

    These Arctic squirrels recycle bits of their own bodies to survive winter

    Arctic squirrels not only slow their metabolism while hibernating, but also harvest crucial substances from their muscles.

  9. People with the genetic disease progeria
    Health & Medicine

    The FDA has approved the first drug to treat the rapid-aging disease progeria

    Children with a rare genetic disorder called progeria age quickly and often die before they are 15. A newly approved drug may give them more time.

  10. Mount Everest

    Plastics are showing up in the world’s most remote places, including Mount Everest

    From the snow on Mount Everest to the guts of critters in the Mariana Trench, tiny fragments called microplastics are almost everywhere.

  11. Neogobius melanostomus

    A fish’s fins may be as sensitive to touch as fingertips

    Newfound parallels between fins and fingers suggest that touch-sensing limbs evolved early, setting the stage for a shared way to sense surroundings.

  12. Hainan gibbon on a rope bridge

    A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons

    When critically endangered Hainan gibbons started making dangerous leaps across a new gully, researchers came up with an alternative route.