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  • Feature

    Notorious Bones

    Almost 2 million years ago in what’s now South Africa, a boy and a woman fell through a hole in the ground into an underground cave, tumbling about 50 meters to their deaths.

    Then things got interesting. A storm soon washed the partly decomposed bodies a few meters into a subterranean lake or pool. Much like quick-setting concrete,...

    07/25/2013 - 10:32 Archaeology
  • People

    Atomic ant sand

    During his first visit to New Mexico’s Trinity Site, where the world’s first atomic bomb test occurred, polymer scientist Robb Hermes could feel the military police watching him. Or maybe it was just his nagging conscience. Milling around with other tourists, he had to fight the urge to bend down, pretend to tie his shoes and swipe a piece of Trinitite — a glassy, mildly radioactive substance...

    07/25/2013 - 10:11 Pollution, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Size isn't only mystery of huge virus

    The largest virus ever identified has been found on the seafloor off the coast of Chile. Pandoravirus salinus is about twice as long as the previous record holder, Megavirus chilensis, with a genome that is twice as large. That makes P. salinus larger than the smallest bacteria.

    Beyond its impressive size, the Pandoravirus is strange in some other ways. Rather than...

    07/19/2013 - 11:47 Microbiology
  • News in Brief

    Under magnet's sway, fluids form simple structures

    View the video Dollops of magnetic fluid can assemble themselves into both simple structures and constantly changing complex formations, researchers report in the July 19 Science.

    In nature, molecules such as proteins can autonomously warp and fold themselves into new arrangements. Scientists want to create self-assembling synthetic structures that are as dynamic and versatile as the...

    07/18/2013 - 14:32 Condensed Matter
  • News

    War arose recently, anthropologists contend

    A battle has broken out among scientists trying to untangle the origins of war.

    The fighting is over whether hunter-gatherer communities in recent centuries have tended more toward war — defined as banding together in groups to kill people in other populations — than toward one-on-one attacks within their own communities. A second front has broken out over how to extrapolate from modern...

    07/18/2013 - 13:29 Anthropology