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  • News in Brief

    Texas toolmakers add to the debate over who the first Americans were

    People inhabited what’s now central Texas several thousand years before hunters from North America’s ancient Clovis culture showed up, researchers say.

    Excavations at the Gault site, about 64 kilometers north of Austin, produced a range of stone artifacts that date to between around 16,700 and 21,700 years ago, reports a team led by archaeologist Thomas Williams of Texas State University...

    07/11/2018 - 14:10 Archaeology
  • News

    Cancer cells engineered with CRISPR slay their own kin

    Using gene editing, scientists have hoodwinked tumor cells into turning against their own kind.

    Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream have something of a homing instinct, able to find and return to the tumor where they originated. To capitalize on that ability, researchers engineered these roving tumor cells to secrete a protein that triggers a death switch in resident tumor cells...

    07/11/2018 - 14:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News

    Stone tools put early hominids in China 2.1 million years ago

    Members of the human genus, Homo, left Africa far earlier than thought, reaching what’s now central China by around 2.12 million years ago, a new study finds.

    Some stone tools unearthed at China’s Shangchen site date to roughly 250,000 years before what was previously the oldest Eurasian evidence of Homo, say geologist Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou and his...

    07/11/2018 - 13:33 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Bird poop helps keep coral reefs healthy, but rats are messing that up

    When invasive rats chow down on island seabirds, coral reefs suffer.

    Researchers studied islands with and without the rodents in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. On rat-free isles, there were on average 1,243 birds per hectare compared with about two birds per hectare on rat-infested islands, the team found. And these rodentless islands had healthier coral reef ecosystems. The...

    07/11/2018 - 13:02 Ecosystems, Animals, Oceans
  • Science Visualized

    See this star nursery shine in a stunning new infrared image

    New tech is revealing how young stars have an outsized influence on their environment. In this image from the Very Large Telescope in Chile, hundreds of newborn stars sculpt and illuminate gas and dust in their stellar nursery.

    Released July 11 by the European Southern Observatory, the image shows star cluster RCW 38, which is located about 5,500 light-years from Earth toward the...

    07/11/2018 - 06:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Bloodflowers’ risk to monarchs could multiply as climate changes

    Climate change could make a showy invasive milkweed called a bloodflower even more of a menace for monarch butterflies than it already is.

    Monarch caterpillars, which feed on plants in the milkweed family, readily feast on Asclepias curassavica. Gardeners in the southern United States plant it for its showy orange blooms, yet the species “is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare,” says...

    07/10/2018 - 18:58 Climate, Ecology, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Bobtail squid coat their eggs in antifungal goo

    MADISON, Wis. — When eggs go bad, bacteria usually get the blame. But some bacteria help bobtail squid keep their eggs fresh.

    Bacteria that female Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) deposit in the jelly surrounding their eggs can fight off a fungus called Fusarium keratoplasticum, Spencer Nyholm reported July 9 at the Beneficial Microbes Conference.

    A specialized organ...

    07/10/2018 - 17:32 Microbiology, Animals
  • News

    Long-necked dinosaurs grew to be giants in more ways than one

    For sauropods — the largest animals known to have walked on Earth — there may have been more than one way to get gigantic.

    Most early relatives of the herbivorous dinosaurs have a suite of features once thought to be the essential blueprint for gigantism, such as sturdy pillarlike legs, elongated necks and forelimbs, and bones that grew continuously rather than in seasonal spurts. But an...

    07/10/2018 - 11:49 Paleontology
  • The Science Life

    Surprise! This shark looks like a male on the outside, but it’s made babies

    It’s easy to tell a male from a female shark. Flip it over. If it has a pair of claspers — finger-like extensions jutting from the end of the pelvic fins — it is male; no claspers means female. Like a penis, claspers deliver sperm inside the female.

    That was marine biologist Alissa Barnes’ understanding until she dissected seven bigeye houndsharks (Iago omanesis) with claspers and found...

    07/10/2018 - 10:00 Animals
  • Science Stats

    Air pollution is triggering diabetes in 3.2 million people each year

    Air pollution caused 3.2 million new cases of diabetes worldwide in 2016, according to a new estimate.

    Fine particulate matter, belched out by cars and factories and generated through chemical reactions in the atmosphere, hang around as haze and make air hard to breathe. Air pollution has been linked to chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes (SN: 9/30/17, p. 18), but this...

    07/09/2018 - 17:11 Health, Pollution