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E.g., 12/11/2018
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  • News

    The uterus may play a role in memory

    The uterus is best known for its baby-growing job. But the female organ may also have an unexpected role in memory, a study in rats suggests.

    The results, published online December 6 in Endocrinology, counter the idea that the nonpregnant uterus is an extraneous organ. That may have implications for the estimated 20 million women in the United States who have had hysterectomies.

    In...

    12/06/2018 - 14:02 Neuroscience
  • News

    Volcanic eruptions that depleted ocean oxygen may have set off the Great Dying

    A massive series of volcanic eruptions in Earth’s distant past left ocean creatures gasping for breath. Greenhouse gases emitted by the volcanoes dramatically lowered oxygen levels in the oceans, a deadly scenario that may have been the main culprit in the Great Dying, researchers report.

    Earth scientist Justin Penn of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues mapped out...

    12/06/2018 - 14:00 Oceans, Climate, Earth, Paleontology
  • News

    Here’s how geckos (almost) walk on water

    Add water aerobics to the list of the agile gecko’s athletic accomplishments.

    In addition to sticking to smooth walls and swinging from leaves, geckos can skitter along the surface of water. By slapping the water with all four limbs to create air bubbles and exploiting the surface tension of water, the reptiles can travel at speeds close to what they can achieve on land, according to a...

    12/06/2018 - 11:17 Animals
  • News

    A 5,000-year-old mass grave harbors the oldest plague bacteria ever found

    A long-dead Scandinavian woman has yielded bacterial DNA showing that she contracted the earliest known case of the plague in humans.

    DNA extracted from the woman’s teeth comes from a newly identified ancient strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague, the oldest ever found. The woman’s bones, which date from 5,040 to 4,867 years ago, were found nearly 20 years ago in a...

    12/06/2018 - 11:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Microbiology
  • News in Brief

    Pea aphid youngsters use piggyback rides to escape a crisis

    First it’s mammal bad breath. Then it’s babies pestering for piggyback rides. A near-death experience is tough on pea aphids.

    When warm, moist breath signals that some cow or other giant is about to chomp into foliage, tiny green aphids feeding on that foliage drop toward the ground by the hundreds (SN Online: 8/10/10). “It literally rains aphids,” says ecologist Moshe Gish, who in 2010...

    12/05/2018 - 20:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Baboons survive 6 months after getting a pig heart transplant

    For roughly six months, fully functioning pig hearts beat inside the chests of two Anubis baboons. Genetic modifications to the pig hearts along with a new transplant technique are credited with the longest-yet survival after such a transplant, researchers report December 5 in Nature. Previously, the longest a baboon lived after such a procedure was 57 days.

    Another two baboons in the...

    12/05/2018 - 13:08 Biomedicine
  • News

    A controversial sighting of dark matter is looking even shakier

    For years, some physicists have rowed against the tide, controversially claiming that they’ve found the universe’s elusive dark matter, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. A new experiment makes that upstream paddling even more of a challenge.

    Observations of the cosmos indicate that an invisible, unknown type of subatomic particle must pervade the universe. The extra mass this...

    12/05/2018 - 13:00 Particle Physics
  • News

    Astronomers find far-flung wind from a black hole in the universe’s first light

    Scientists have spotted wind from a supermassive black hole blowing at much greater distances than ever before.

    Astronomer Mark Lacy and colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile to observe the universe’s first light, and found evidence of gusts flowing from a type of black hole called a quasar. The wind extends about 228,000 light-years away from the galaxy that...

    12/05/2018 - 06:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • Editor's Note

    Seeking a panacea in the gut’s microbiome

    It almost feels like people think every known disorder could be cured by tweaking the gut microbiome: The list of possibilities includes obesity, liver disease, diabetes, autism, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety. The length of that list alone invites skepticism among those of us who cover science. But there’s enough evidence that gut microbes...
    12/05/2018 - 05:15 Science & Society, Health, Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers inquire about a Neptune-sized moon, nuclear pasta and more

    Exomoonmoon

    A sighting by the Hubble Space Telescope provides more evidence that there’s a Neptune-sized moon, dubbed Neptmoon, orbiting the exoplanet Kepler 1625b, Lisa Grossman reported in “Hubble may have spotted the first known exomoon” (SN: 10/27/18, p. 14).

    “If Neptmoon actually exists, could it possibly have moons of its own?” online reader MAdScientist72 asked. “And what...

    12/05/2018 - 05:00 Physics, Astronomy, Animals