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  • News

    Newfound fossils in China highlight a dizzying diversity of Cambrian life

    Along the banks of China’s Danshui River lies a treasure trove of fossils that may rival the most famous Cambrian fossil assemblage of all, Canada’s Burgess Shale. The roughly 518-million-year-old site contains a dizzying abundance of beautifully preserved weird and wonderful life-forms, from jellyfish and comb jellies to arthropods and algae. 

    So far, researchers led by paleontologist...

    03/21/2019 - 14:36 Paleontology
  • News

    Saving monkey testicle tissue before puberty hints at a new way to preserve fertility

    A technique with the potential to preserve fertility for prepubescent boys stricken with cancer has passed a key test in experiments conducted in monkeys: the birth of a healthy infant.

    Testicle tissue samples from rhesus macaques that hadn’t reached puberty were removed, frozen and then grafted back onto the monkeys. Over the following year, as the monkeys went through puberty, the...

    03/21/2019 - 14:26 Health
  • News

    A new ketamine-based antidepressant raises hope — and questions

    With great fanfare, a new antidepressant entered the U.S. market in March, the first fundamentally new medicine for depression in decades. Based on the anesthetic ketamine, the drug — called Spravato — is intended to help people with severe depression quickly, taking effect within hours or days instead of the weeks that typical antidepressants take. But for all the hubbub, big questions have...

    03/21/2019 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Ryugu is probably a chip off one of these two other asteroids

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The asteroid Ryugu is a chip off the old block. Planetary scientists on the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft team have narrowed down the near-Earth asteroid’s parent body to one of two larger, more distant asteroids: Polana and Eulalia.

    “Based on links to those specific asteroids, we can talk about the longer history of Ryugu,” said planetary scientist Seiji Sugita of...

    03/20/2019 - 15:20 Planetary Science
  • News

    X-ray ‘chimneys’ connect the Milky Way to mysterious gamma-ray bubbles

    Two towering “chimneys” glowing with X-rays extend from the center of the Milky Way. The newly discovered structures could help explain the source of two even larger features: giant bubbles that emit gamma rays, or high-energy light, found above and below the plane of the galaxy.

    Stretching hundreds of light-years, the X-ray chimneys seem to connect the gamma-ray bubbles to the center of...

    03/20/2019 - 14:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    In a first, a fossilized egg is found preserved inside an ancient bird

    About 110 million years ago, a sparrow-sized bird died with her egg still inside her body. That egg, crushed and flattened by pressure over time, is the first unlaid bird egg known to be preserved in a fossil, researchers report March 20 in Nature Communications. 

    The fossil was unearthed 11 years ago in northwestern China. In 2018, paleontologists led by Alida Bailleul of the Key...

    03/20/2019 - 06:00 Paleontology
  • News

    Surprising astronomers, Bennu spits plumes of dust into space

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Like the “Peanuts” character Pigpen, the near-Earth asteroid Bennu moves around in a cloud of its own dust.

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has watched Bennu spit out plumes of dust 11 times since the spacecraft arrived at the asteroid in December 2018. And some of that dust is caught in orbit around the asteroid, scientists announced March 19 at the Lunar and...

    03/19/2019 - 14:55 Planetary Science
  • News

    The learning gap between rich and poor students hasn’t changed in decades

    The average performance of the lowest income students in the United States lags about three to four years behind that of the highest income students — an achievement gap that has remained constant for more than four decades, a new study finds.

    An analysis of standardized tests given to more than 2.7 million middle and high school students over almost 50 years suggests that federal...

    03/19/2019 - 10:11 Science & Society, Human Development
  • Reviews & Previews

    How a tiger transforms into a man-eater

    No Beast So FierceDane HuckelbridgeWilliam Morrow, $26.99

    At the heart of No Beast So Fierce is a simple and terrifying story: In the early 20th century, a tiger killed and ate more than 400 people in Nepal and northern India before being shot by legendary hunter Jim Corbett in 1907. Rather than just describe this harrowing tale, though, author Dane Huckelbridge seeks to explain how...

    03/19/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, History of Science
  • News

    Ultima Thule may be a frankenworld

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Ultima Thule’s history may be written in the sum of its parts.

    New analyses suggest that the tiny space rock formed from a rotating cloud of even smaller rocks that collapsed into two individual objects. Those objects then gently collided in the early days of the solar system, creating the distant double-lobed world studied by the passing New Horizons spacecraft,...

    03/18/2019 - 17:35 Planetary Science