Heroin cure works
[T]he drug methadone appears to have fulfilled its promise as an answer to heroin addiction. Some 276 hard-core New York addicts … have lost their habits and none have returned to heroin — a 100 percent success rating. Methadone, a synthetic narcotic, acts by blocking the euphoric effect of opiates. Addicts thus get nothing from heroin and feel no desire to take...
Life on Earth has survived at least five major extinction events, but it is the dinosaurs’ mass die-off that most captures our imagination. It appears to have been a dramatic one, as Thomas Sumner writes in "Devastation detectives try to solve dinosaur disappearance" (SN: 2/4/17, p. 16). A fiery asteroid impact carved out a chunk of what’s now below the Caribbean Sea, killing many...01/25/2017 - 15:06 Animals, Paleontology, Evolution
Letters to the Editor
Critter calculations01/25/2017 - 15:05 Animals, Astronomy, Evolution
Savvy for judging quantities is turning up across the animal kingdom — even among spiders and other invertebrates, Susan Milius reported in “Animal math” (SN: 12/10/16, p. 22).
Some astute readers pointed out that designing experiments to test animals’ quantitative skills takes great ingenuity, but sometimes human bias may skew the results.
For dinosaurs, the end of the world began in fire.
The space rock that stamped a Vermont-sized crater into the Earth 66 million years ago packed a powerful punch. Any animal living within about a thousand miles of the impact zone was probably vaporized, says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
“Everything would have been toast.”
The asteroid strike (or was it the roiling volcanoes?) that triggered dino doomsday 66 million years ago also brought an avian apocalypse. Birds had evolved by then, but only some had what it took to survive.
Biologists now generally accept birds as a kind of dinosaur, just as people are a kind of mammal. Much of what we think of as birdlike traits — bipedal stance, feathers, wishbones...
Below the shimmering turquoise waters of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula lies the scene of a prehistoric mass murder. In a geologic instant, most animal and plant species perished. Drilling through hundreds of meters of rock, investigators have finally reached the footprint left by the accused: Earth’s most notorious space rock impact, Chicxulub. The dinosaur killer.
Sleuthing scientists are...
Dinosaur fashion, like that of humans, is subject to interpretation. Bony cranial crests, horns or bumps may have served to woo mates or help members of the same species identify one another. While the exact purpose of this skull decor is debated, the standout structures tended to come with an even more conspicuous trait: bigger bodies.
Terry Gates, a paleontologist at North Carolina...
Have you ever felt weighed down by your material possessions? The boundless variety of stuff that humans manufacture — tractors, buildings, ballpoint pens, Hello Kitty backpacks — has serious heft: 30 trillion metric tons, a new study estimates. That’s about 50 kilograms for every square meter of Earth’s surface.
The human-made “technosphere,” all the manufactured goods around today,...
Dinosaurs might live on today as birds, but they hatched like reptiles. Developing dinos stayed in their eggs three to six months before emerging, far longer than previously suspected, researchers report online January 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
With few clues to dinosaurs’ embryonic lives, scientists assumed that young dinosaurs shared modern birds’ swift...
Reviews & Previews
The Lost City of the Monkey GodDouglas PrestonGrand Central Publishing, $28
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, a rich, powerful city stood in the jungle of what is now eastern Honduras. Then, suddenly, all of the residents vanished, and the abandoned city became a cursed place — anyone who entered risked death.
In a captivating real-life adventure tale, journalist and...