McKenzie Prillaman

Science Writing Intern, Spring 2023

McKenzie Prillaman was the Spring 2023 science writing intern at Science News. She holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a minor in bioethics from the University of Virginia. She also studied adolescent nicotine dependence as a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. After figuring out she’d rather explain scientific research than conduct it, she worked at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and then earned a master’s degree in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in NatureScientific American, Mongabay, Eos and the Mercury News, among other publications.

All Stories by McKenzie Prillaman

  1. Animals

    Eavesdropping on fish could help us keep better tabs on underwater worlds

    Scientists are on a quest to log all the sounds of fish communication. The result could lead to better monitoring of ecosystems and fish behavior.

  2. Animals

    Daddy longlegs look like they have two eyes. That doesn’t count the hidden ones

    Despite its two-eyed appearance, Phalangium opilio has six peepers. The four optical remnants shed light on the arachnids’ evolutionary history.

  3. Health & Medicine

    More than 1 billion people worldwide are now estimated to have obesity

    A new analysis suggests that the prevalence of obesity has doubled in women, tripled in men and quadrupled in children and adolescents from 1990 to 2022.

  4. Animals

    Parrots can move along thin branches using ‘beakiation’

    The movement involves swinging along the underside of branches with their beaks and feet, similar to how primates swing between trees.

  5. Archaeology

    Human footprints in New Mexico really may be surprisingly ancient, new dating shows

    Two dating methods find that human tracks in White Sands National Park in New Mexico are roughly 22,000 years old, aligning with a previous estimate.

  6. Health & Medicine

    The thymus withers away after puberty. But it may be important for adults

    The thymus is considered somewhat unnecessary in adults. But a new study finds that its removal is associated with heightened risks of death and cancer.

  7. Climate

    Canada’s Crawford Lake could mark the beginning of the Anthropocene

    The mud of a Canadian lake holds an extremely precise record of humans’ influence on Earth. But the Anthropocene isn’t an official geologic epoch yet.

  8. Animals

    Bottlenose dolphin moms use baby talk with their calves

    When their babies are near, bottlenose dolphin moms modify their signature whistles, similar to human parents speaking in baby talk.

  9. Neuroscience

    Brain cavities that swell in space may need at least 3 years to recover

    MRI scans of astronauts show that duration in space and time between flights affect how much the brain’s fluid-filled cavities expand during missions.

  10. Chemistry

    19th century painters may have primed their canvases with beer-brewing leftovers

    Several paintings from the Danish Golden Age contain remnants of brewer’s yeast, barley and other grains commonly used to brew beer.

  11. Health & Medicine

    WHO declares an end to the global COVID-19 public health emergency

    Global COVID-19 deaths are down and immunity is up. But with the virus here to stay, it’s time to shift to more long-term health measures.

  12. Health & Medicine

    The U.S. COVID-19 public health emergency is ending. What does that mean?

    The declaration, made early in the pandemic, made tests, vaccines and treatments free to all. On May 11, the proclamation ends.