Biological invasion via Suez
The Red Sea is invading the Mediterranean.… So far about 140 life-forms, mostly animal and mostly invertebrate, have crossed the Isthmus of Suez.… It is possible that this … will result in the loss of a few native fish and invertebrate populations to stiff competition from the newcomers. — Science News, March 30, 1968Update
Whether the movement of...
By analyzing the genome of a tiny fetal mummy known as Ata, researchers have learned more about what led to its strange-looking deformities — and that Ata was not an it, but a she.
The 6-inch human mummy, found in 2003 in Chile’s Atacama Desert, contains genetic mutations associated with skeletal abnormalities and joint problems, researchers report online March 22 in Genome Research....
Honeybees and bumblebees have a way to resist toxic compounds in some widely used insecticides.
These bees make enzymes that help the insects break down a type of neonicotinoid called thiacloprid, scientists report March 22 in Current Biology. Neonicotinoids have been linked to negative effects on bee health, such as difficulty reproducing in honeybees (SN: 7/26/16, p 16). But bees...
To quickly unfurl and refold their wings, earwigs stretch the rules of origami.
Yes, those garden pests that scurry out from under overturned flowerpots can also fly. Because earwigs spend most of their time underground and only occasionally take to the air, they pack their wings into packages with a surface area more than 10 times smaller than when unfurled, using an origami-like series...
Science has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Like with mud rocks.03/22/2018 - 10:19 Science & Society, Earth, Plants
We science journalists can be a cranky lot, eternally skeptical as to whether a touted advance is really significant enough to warrant coverage. So when Science News’ managing editor Erin Wayman waxed enthusiastic about a study explaining how ancient plants may have played a key role in making Earth...
Letters to the Editor
Flight of fantasy03/22/2018 - 10:18 Anthropology, Technology, Planetary Science
Similar to their hunter-gatherer counterparts, many children in Western societies prefer play that mimics the things that adults do, Bruce Bower reported in “When it’s playtime, many kids prefer reality over fantasy" (SN: 2/17/18, p. 22). But fantasy play may still be valuable.
Reader Pat Rapp wondered about the implications of an experiment that showed that...
We’re going to need a bigger trash can.
A pooling of plastic waste floating in the ocean between California and Hawaii contains at least 79,000 tons of material spread over 1.6 million square kilometers, researchers report March 22 in Scientific Reports. That’s the equivalent to the mass of more than 6,500 school buses. Known as the great Pacific garbage patch, the hoard is four to 16...
Deep in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, wildlife workers trek up above 9,800 feet to save some of the world’s most rare carnivores, Ethiopian wolves.
“It’s cold, tough work,” says Eric Bedin, who leads the field monitoring team in its uphill battle.
In this sparse, sometimes snowy landscape, the lanky and ginger-colored wolves (Canis simensis) reign as the region’s apex predators....
Earthquake warning systems face a tough trade-off: To give enough time to take cover or shut down emergency systems, alerts may need to go out before it’s clear how strong the quake will be. And that raises the risk of false alarms, undermining confidence in any warning system.
A new study aims to quantify the best-case scenario for warning time from a hypothetical earthquake early...