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  • Feature

    Year in review: Gut reacts to artificial sweeteners


    It wasn’t a bittersweet year for saccharin — just bitter. An elaborate study demonstrated that the artificial sweetener messes with the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, a condition that often presages diabetes, obesity and other metabolic problems (SN: 10/18/14, p. 6). The kicker:...

    12/16/2014 - 12:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Year in review: Tectonics active on Europa


    A frozen world hundreds of millions of kilometers away is starting to look a bit like home. This year researchers discovered active plate tectonics reshaping the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The finding marks the first evidence of active plate tectonics on another world (SN: 10/...

    12/16/2014 - 11:00 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Year in review: Life thrives under Antarctica


    An unseen ecosystem flourishes in the darkness, entombed beneath 800 meters of ice. In 2014, researchers shed light on this microbial community.

    Rivers and about 400 subglacial lakes...

    12/16/2014 - 10:00 Earth
  • Feature

    Year in review: Asian cave art got an early start


    Ancient cave art went global in 2014. Scientists reported that Stone Age cave painting began at about the same time in Southeast Asia as in Europe. These findings suggest the need to rethink a decades-old conviction that Western...

    12/16/2014 - 09:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Feature

    Year in review: Genes linked to tameness


    Domesticated animals transitioned from wild beasts into furry friends thousands of years ago, but scientists have not yet fully explained how taming also altered animals’ appearances. In 2014, researchers took steps toward the answer.

    In July, three scientists presented the idea...

    12/16/2014 - 08:00 Genetics, Animals
  • Feature

    Year in review: Insect, bird evolution revisited


    Biologists in 2014 saw what an astronomical amount of data could do for evolutionary questions — and what it couldn’t.

    Bernhard Misof of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany, and 100 coauthors, published an evolutionary family tree of insects and close...

    12/16/2014 - 07:00 Animals, Evolution
  • Feature

    Year in review: Easy stem cells a no go


    An incredibly easy method for making stem cells turned out to be too good to be true, again tainting stem cell research with controversy and stirring up disquiet over some scientific publishing policies.

    In January, scientists claimed to have made ultraflexible stem cells, known as...

    12/16/2014 - 06:00 Genetics, History of Science
  • Feature

    Year in review: The nose knows a trillion odors


    In the movie Roxanne, Steve Martin plays a lovesick guy who mocks his own huge schnoz by declaring: “It’s not the size of a nose that’s important. It’s what’s in it that matters.” Scientists demonstrated the surprising truth behind that joke this year: People can whiff an average of more...

    12/15/2014 - 15:00 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Year in review: Roster of dinosaurs expands


    Dinosaurs roared into the news this year with the discovery of several new species and a few dogma-shaking revelations.

    One skyscraping goliath found in Argentina was a plant eater that reached about as tall as a two-story building at its shoulders and weighed more than seven T....

    12/15/2014 - 14:00 Archaeology, Animals, Evolution
  • Feature

    Year in review: Neutrinos leave tracks in ice


    In the dark depths of an Antarctic glacier, flashes of light triggered by wispy particles called neutrinos are providing rare clues about the universe’s most extreme environments. After discovering the first high-energy neutrinos from beyond the solar system late last year, researchers...

    12/15/2014 - 13:00 Particle Physics