Archaeopteryx was a flapper, not just a glider. The shape of the ancient bird’s wing bones suggests it was capable of short bursts of active, flapping flight, similar to how modern birds like pheasants and quails fly to escape predators, a new study finds.
One of the earliest birds, Archaeopteryx lived about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period, spanning the evolutionary gap...
Letters to the Editor
Memory lane03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).
Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.
News in Brief
This baby bird had barely hatched before it died 127 million years ago — and its lack of fully developed bony breastbone, or sternum, suggests it couldn’t yet fly. The tiny fossil, just a few centimeters long, is giving paleontologists a rare window into the early development of a group of extinct birds called Enantiornithes, researchers report March 5 in Nature Communications.
People have evolved to sleep much less than chimps, baboons or any other primate studied so far.
A large comparison of primate sleep patterns finds that most species get somewhere between nine and 15 hours of shut-eye daily, while humans average just seven. An analysis of several lifestyle and biological factors, however, predicts people should get 9.55 hours, researchers report online...
The only fish known to hunt with wolf pack moves may not be true team players, just lemon-yellow me-firsts.
Yellow saddle goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus) do more than school together as they dart over Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Like wolves, the goatfish take different roles in a pursuit. One or two fish may rush straight toward prey as the others shoot to the sides, blocking escape....
A complex coral reef full of nooks and crannies is a coastline’s best defense against large ocean waves. But coral die-offs over the next century could allow taller waves to penetrate the corals’ defenses, simulations suggest. A new study finds that at some Pacific Island sites, waves reaching the shore could be more than twice as high as today’s by 2100.
The rough, complex structures of...
On an expedition to an icy island chain off the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip, researchers discovered a massive supercolony of more than 1.5 million Adélie penguins, according to a study published March 2 in Scientific Reports.
Scientists had known of an Adélie penguin colony (Pygoscelis adeliae) in these Danger Islands, but satellite images revealed more guano on the rocky islands...
Termites are the new cockroach.
Literally. The Entomological Society of America is updating its master list of insect names to reflect decades of genetic and other evidence that termites belong in the cockroach order, called Blattodea.
As of February 15, “it’s official ... that termites no longer have their own order,” says Mike Merchant of Texas A&M University in College...
What a spectacular Easter basket tardigrade eggs would make — at least for those celebrating in miniature.
A new species of the pudgy, eight-legged, water creatures lays pale, spherical microscopic eggs studded with domes crowned in long, trailing streamers.
Eggs of many land-based tardigrades have bumps, spines, filaments and such, presumably to help attach to a surface, says...
News in Brief
Tap — gently — the plump rear of a young Nessus sphinx hawk moth, and you may hear the closest sound yet discovered to a caterpillar voice.
Caterpillars don’t breathe through their mouths. Yet a Nessus sphinx hawk moth, if disturbed, will emit from its open mouth a sustained hiss followed by a string of scratchy burplike sounds. “Hard to describe,” says animal behaviorist Jayne Yack of...