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E.g., 11/24/2017
E.g., 11/24/2017
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  • Feature

    How Asian nomadic herders built new Bronze Age cultures

    Nomadic herders living on western Asia’s hilly grasslands made a couple of big moves east and west around 5,000 years ago. These were not typical, back-and-forth treks from one seasonal grazing spot to another. These people blazed new trails.

    A technological revolution had transformed travel for ancient herders around that time. Of course they couldn’t make online hotel reservations....

    11/15/2017 - 12:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    This deep-sea fish uses weird eyes to see in dark and light

    Light-sensitive cells in the eyes of some fish do double-duty. In pearlsides, cells that look like rods — the stars of low-light vision — actually act more like cones, which only respond to brighter light, researchers report November 8 in Science Advances. It’s probably an adaptation to give the deep-sea fish acute vision at dawn and dusk, when they come to the surface of the water to feed....

    11/09/2017 - 15:25 Animals, Evolution
  • Reviews & Previews

    Invasive species are a growing global threat

    The Aliens Among UsLeslie AnthonyYale Univ. Press, $30

    Remote Bouvet Island, a tiny, glacier-smothered landmass in the South Atlantic rimmed by 500-meter-tall cliffs, has a notable distinction: It’s the only known spot on Earth, scientists say, that has zero invasive species. Every other place, and every person, on the planet is at least indirectly affected by one or more species...

    11/05/2017 - 07:00 Ecology, Animals, Plants
  • Wild Things

    Alligators eat sharks — and a whole lot more

    Alligators don’t just stick to freshwater and the prey they find there. These crafty reptiles can live quite easily, at least for a bit, in salty waters and find plenty to eat — including crabs, sea turtles and even sharks.

    “They should change the textbooks,” says James Nifong, an ecologist with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University in...

    11/03/2017 - 09:00 Animals
  • Feature

    Hybrids reveal the barriers to successful mating between species

    It’s a tale as old as wine. Two organisms meet over a barrel of alcohol and decide to mate.

    Geneticist Maitreya Dunham didn’t see it happen. But she has molecular evidence that two yeast species produced a hybrid in an old warehouse turned microbrewery. The two species had grown apart, evolutionarily speaking, about 10 million to 20 million years ago, Dunham, of the University of...

    10/31/2017 - 10:00 Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Animals
  • Feature

    Scary as they are, few vampires have a backbone

    Halloween horror aside, vampires are really pretty spineless.

    Most have no backbone at all. By one count, some 14,000 kinds of arthropods, including ticks and mosquitoes, are blood feeders. Yet very few vertebrates are clear-cut, all-blood specialists: just some fishes and three bats. Why hasn’t evolution produced more vertebrate vampires?

    The question intrigues herpetologist Harry...

    10/30/2017 - 16:00 Animals, Physiology, Evolution
  • News

    New CRISPR gene editors can fix RNA and DNA one typo at a time

    New gene-editing tools can correct typos that account for about half of disease-causing genetic spelling errors.

    Researchers have revamped the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editor so that it converts the DNA base adenine to guanine, biological chemist David Liu and colleagues report October 25 in Nature. In a separate study, published October 25 in Science, other researchers led by CRISPR pioneer...

    10/25/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Health
  • Feature

    Being a vampire can be brutal. Here’s how bloodsuckers get by.

    Jennifer Zaspel can’t explain why she stuck her thumb in the vial with the moth. Just an after-dark, out-in-the-woods zing of curiosity.

    She was catching moths on a July night in the Russian Far East and had just eased a Calyptra, with brownish forewings like a dried leaf, into a plastic collecting vial. Of the 17 or so largely tropical Calyptra species, eight were known vampires. Males...

    10/18/2017 - 12:00 Animals, Physiology
  • Science Visualized

    Here’s a breakdown of the animals that crossed the Pacific on 2011 tsunami debris

    Life’s great diversity has revealed itself in more than 600 pieces of floating tsunami debris that have landed on the western coast of North America. Of nearly 300 living animal and protist species documented on the debris, which crossed the Pacific Ocean following Japan’s destructive 2011 tsunami, researchers analyzed in detail 237 species, which include larger invertebrates and two fish. The...

    10/17/2017 - 11:00 Oceans, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Europe’s Stone Age fishers used beeswax to make a point

    Late Stone Age people got a grip thanks to honeybees. Northern Europeans attached a barbed bone point to a handle of some kind with a beeswax adhesive around 13,000 years ago, scientists say. The result: a fishing spear.

    Using beeswax glue to make tools was common in Africa as early as 40,000 years ago (SN: 8/25/12, p. 16). But this spear is the first evidence of its use in cold parts of...

    10/06/2017 - 16:17 Archaeology, Human Evolution