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E.g., 06/24/2019
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  • News

    Capuchin monkeys’ stone-tool use has evolved over 3,000 years

    Excavations in Brazil have pounded out new insights into the handiness of ancient monkeys.

    South American capuchin monkeys have not only hammered and dug with carefully chosen stones for the last 3,000 years, but also have selected pounding tools of varying sizes and weights along the way.

    Capuchin stone implements recovered at a site in northeastern Brazil display signs of shifts...

    06/24/2019 - 11:00 Archaeology, Animals
  • News

    Parasites ruin some finches’ songs by chewing through the birds’ beaks

    Invasive parasites in the Galápagos Islands may leave some Darwin’s tree finches singing the blues.

    The nonnative Philornis downsi fly infests the birds’ nests and lays its eggs there. Fly larvae feast on the chicks’ blood and tissue, producing festering wounds and killing over half of the baby birds. Among survivors, larval damage to the birds’ beaks may mess with the birds’ songs when...

    06/21/2019 - 11:39 Animals, Evolution, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    U.S. honeybees had the worst winter die-off in more than a decade

    U.S. honeybees just weathered an unusually bad winter.

    About 38 percent of beekeepers’ colonies died between October 1, 2018, and April 1, 2019, the Bee Informed Partnership estimates.  While it wasn’t the worst recent year overall for honeybee losses — that was 2012–2013 — preliminary results released June 19 show it is the worst winter die-off recorded over the University of Maryland–...

    06/20/2019 - 15:02 Animals, Conservation, Agriculture
  • News

    DNA confirms a weird Greenland whale was a narwhal-beluga hybrid

    Researchers have made a whale of a discovery — a hybrid of a beluga whale and a narwhal.

    DNA analysis of the whale’s skull confirmed it to be the male offspring of a narwhal mother and a beluga father, researchers report June 20 in Scientific Reports.

    The animal was one of three unusual whales caught during a subsistence hunt in 1986 or 1987 in western Greenland’s Disko Bay, and...

    06/20/2019 - 09:00 Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Hyenas roamed the Arctic during the last ice age

    Modern hyenas stalk the savannas of Asia and Africa, but the animals’ ancient relatives may have had snowier stomping grounds: the Arctic. Two fossilized teeth, collected in Canada in the 1970s, confirm a long-held hunch that ancient hyenas ventured into North America via the Bering land bridge, scientists say.

    The teeth belonged to members of the extinct genus Chasmaporthetes, also...

    06/18/2019 - 06:00 Paleontology, Animals, Ecology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers boggled by black hole behemoth

    Black hole bonanza

    The Event Horizon Telescope captured the first image of a black hole (shown on the cover of Science News at left). Data from the telescope array revealed that the behemoth, which resides at the center of the galaxy M87, is about 38 billion kilometers across and about 6.5 billion solar masses, Lisa Grossman and Emily Conover reported in “The first picture of a black hole...

    06/17/2019 - 07:15 Astronomy, Physics, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Bats are the main cause of rare rabies deaths in the U.S.

    In the United States, the landscape of rabies transmission has shifted over the last 70 years. 

    Following a massive campaign to vaccinate dogs starting in 1947, rabies deaths linked to dog bites and scratches have dropped, and those from wild animals now carry a greater share of the blame. Since 1960, bats have caused 62, or roughly 70 percent, of the 89 deaths from rabies exposure that...

    06/12/2019 - 13:14 Animals, Health
  • News

    Worms lure two new species of hopping rats out of obscurity

    Two newfound species of shrew-rat have joined a lengthy list of endemic mammals on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago and a hotbed of biodiversity. Researchers made their discovery thanks to wriggling worms and a stroke of luck, and hope the finding might help sway legislators to protect the vulnerable ecosystem before it’s too late (SN: 6/8/19, p. 5).     

    The new...

    06/06/2019 - 10:00 Animals, Conservation, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Tiny plastic debris is accumulating far beneath the ocean surface

    Vast swathes of litter floating on the ocean, like the great Pacific garbage patch, may just be the tip of the trash heap.

    Divers have reportedly spotted plastic bags and candy wrappers as deep as the Mariana Trench. Now, a survey of microplastics at various depths off the coast of California suggests that this debris is most common several hundred meters below the surface, scientists...

    06/06/2019 - 09:00 Oceans, Pollution, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Tiny structures in dragonfish teeth turn them into invisible daggers

    In the deep sea, dragonfish lure smaller fish near their gaping jaws with beardlike attachments capped with a light. But the teeth of the pencil-sized predators don’t gleam in that glow.

    Instead, dragonfish teeth are transparent and hard to see, thanks to nanoscale structures that reduce the amount of light scattered by the teeth, researchers report June 5 in Matter.

    The clear...

    06/05/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution