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Science Ticker


Science Ticker

Old barn owls aren’t hard of hearing

barn owl

Barn owls’ hearing may not deteriorate over time the same way human hearing does, a new study suggests.

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Barn owl ears age well. Unlike other animals, the birds don’t suffer from hearing loss as a hallmark of aging, a new study suggests.

Beyond people, age-related hearing loss has been documented in mice, gerbils and chinchillas. Those deficits are linked to deterioration of the tiny hair cells that line the sensory layer of the eardrum. But some evidence hints that birds may not suffer from dips in hearing.

Bianca Krumm and her colleagues at the University of Oldenburg in Germany tested the ear sensitivity of seven barn owls (Tyto alba) grouped by age. There weren’t significant differences in what 2-year-old owls could hear versus those age 13 or older, suggesting the birds’ ears remain intact despite age, the researchers conclude September 20 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

While the exact mechanism for this apparent ear agelessness remains elusive, the researchers suspect that the birds must continuously regenerate sensory ear tissue — a process that wanes with age in other species.

Astronomy,, Planetary Science

These are Cassini’s parting shots of the Saturn system

By Lisa Grossman 12:09am, September 15, 2017
In its last hours before plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, the Cassini spacecraft turned its cameras to some of the system’s well-known features.
Planetary Science

The Cassini probe dies tomorrow. Here’s how to follow its end

By Helen Thompson 2:30pm, September 14, 2017
Science News is on the scene at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the big finish of the Cassini mission to Saturn.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

So long, Titan. Cassini snaps parting pics of Saturn’s largest moon

By Lisa Grossman 4:05pm, September 13, 2017
The last swing past Saturn’s largest moon sent Cassini heading directly towards the planet — and showed how future spacecraft will explore other moons.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Final flyby puts Cassini on a collision course with Saturn

By Lisa Grossman 4:00pm, September 11, 2017
A “last kiss goodbye” with Saturn’s largest moon sent the Cassini spacecraft on its final trajectory into the planet’s atmosphere.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Pluto’s pits, ridges and famous plain get official names

By Lisa Grossman 6:05pm, September 7, 2017
From Adlivun to Voyager, the International Astronomical Union officially names 14 surface features on the dwarf planet.
Animals,, Biophysics

Why bats crash into windows

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, September 7, 2017
Smooth, vertical surfaces may be blind spots for bats and cause some animals to face-plant, study suggests.
Particle Physics

The results from a slew of experiments are in: Dark matter remains elusive

By Emily Conover 8:00am, September 6, 2017
Scientists continue the search for particles that make up the universe’s missing matter.
Archaeology,, Anthropology,, Human Evolution

People may have lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago

By Bruce Bower 7:00am, September 5, 2017
Stone Age humans left behind clues of their presence at a remote Brazilian rock shelter.
Anthropology,, Psychology

Spiritual convictions and group identities inspire terrorist acts, study finds

By Bruce Bower 11:00am, September 4, 2017
Sacred values and becoming one with comrades fuels terrorist acts, a report finds.
Planetary Science

Rings of Uranus reveal secrets of the planet’s moon Cressida

By Ashley Yeager 2:00pm, September 1, 2017
By studying variations in the rings of Uranus, researchers have determined the mass and density of the planet’s moon Cressida.
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