Reviews & Previews
The Aliens Among UsLeslie AnthonyYale Univ. Press, $30
Remote Bouvet Island, a tiny, glacier-smothered landmass in the South Atlantic rimmed by 500-meter-tall cliffs, has a notable distinction: It’s the only known spot on Earth, scientists say, that has zero invasive species. Every other place, and every person, on the planet is at least indirectly affected by one or more...
A year after the Rosetta spacecraft’s rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko came to an end, the views are still stunning. This montage, released in September by the European Space Agency, includes 210 of the thousands of images taken by Rosetta and the Philae lander and recaps the daring mission to explore the space rock. The images are arranged chronologically (starting at the top...
Finding the chemical basis for the close association between the Attine ants, inhabiting an area extending from Argentina to the southern United States, and the fungus they culture is the aim of research … by Prof. Michael M. Martin of the University of Michigan. Although many animals feed on fungi, the culturing of fungus by the Attine ants is the only known example...
Classification is inevitable. It’s a widespread human tendency and a bedrock of scientific study. From rocks to stars to the stinkbug buzzing against my window, from parts of speech to diseases to the fundamental forces of nature, if an object or phenomenon can be described, it will be grouped with others like it and distinguished from those that differ.11/01/2017 - 12:13 Animals, Evolution, Science & Society
One of the best-known...
Letters to the Editor
Gut feelings11/01/2017 - 12:11 Health, Evolution, Animals
Tests in mice show that microbes in the gut may tamper with the production of tiny molecules in brain regions known to help control anxiety, Maria Temming reported in “How gut bacteria may affect anxiety” (SN: 9/30/17, p. 12).
Online reader Amanda wondered what has more influence: gut bacteria on anxiety, or anxiety on the bacterial makeup of the gut. If bacteria have...
The funniest thing I’ve ever said to any botanist was, “What is a species?” Well, it certainly got the most spontaneous laugh. I don’t think Barbara Ertter, who doesn’t remember the long-ago moment, was being mean. Her laugh was more of a “where do I even start” response to an almost impossible question.
At first glance, “species” is a basic vocabulary word schoolchildren can ace on a...
Joseph Sakran knows more about the horrific impact of firearm-related injuries than the average trauma surgeon. A bullet nearly killed him 23 years ago. He was 17. At his high school’s season-opening football game, a fight broke out and someone fired into the crowd.
“A .38-caliber bullet ripped through my throat and ended up in my shoulder,” he says. He had multiple surgeries and spent...
It’s a tale as old as wine. Two organisms meet over a barrel of alcohol and decide to mate.
Geneticist Maitreya Dunham didn’t see it happen. But she has molecular evidence that two yeast species produced a hybrid in an old warehouse turned microbrewery. The two species had grown apart, evolutionarily speaking, about 10 million to 20 million years ago, Dunham, of the University of...
Reviews & Previews
SpinelessJuli BerwaldRiverhead Books, $27
Jellyfish have gotten a bad rap. In recent years, concerns about rising jellyfish populations in some parts of the world have mushroomed into headlines like “Meet your new jellyfish overlords.” These floating menaces are taking over the world’s oceans thanks to climate change and ocean acidification, the thinking goes, and soon waters...
Less than a year after the World Health Organization declared Zika is no longer a public health emergency, the virus seems to have fallen from public consciousness, at least outside of heavily affected areas. The mosquito-borne virus staged a massive assault on the Western Hemisphere in 2015 and 2016 (SN: 12/24/16, p. 19), but this year, Zika appears to be in retreat....