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. microscope image of archaea
    Paleontology

    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.

  2. mother bonobo sitting with her adopted baby
    Animals

    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.

  3. illustration of an anteosaur chasing a Moschognathus
    Paleontology

    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.

  4. mice cuddling
    Neuroscience

    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.

  5. Arctic ground squirrels
    Animals

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Mount Everest
    Environment

    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.

  8. Neogobius melanostomus
    Animals

    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.

  9. Hainan gibbon on a rope bridge
    Animals

    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.

  10. Mouse mom with pups
    Neuroscience

    A mother mouse’s gut microbes help wire her pup’s brain

    The pups of mice lacking gut microbes, and the compounds they make, have altered nerve cells in part of the brain and a lowered sensitivity to touch.

  11. a female hyena and her cub
    Animals

    Female hyenas kill off cubs in their own clans

    Along with starvation and mauling by lions, infanticide leads as a cause of hyena cub death. Such killings may serve to enforce the social order.

  12. mouse eating
    Neuroscience

    Newly discovered cells in mice can sense four of the five tastes

    Some cells in mice can sense bitter, sweet, sour and umami. Without the cells, some flavor signals don’t get to the ultimate tastemaker — the brain.