“Armchair anthropologist” takes on new meaning at FossilFinder.org. The citizen science website is seeking volunteers to look for fossils and stone tools and to classify rocks captured in aerial photos of Kenya’s Lake Turkana Basin. The basin has been home to important discoveries in human evolution, including many hominid fossils and the earliest known...
Reviews & Previews
The Last Volcano
Pegasus Books, $28.95
Since prehistoric times, erupting volcanoes have been both awesome and mysterious. But these days...
News in Brief
The mother of all snakes got its start underground.
X-ray images of snake and lizard skulls suggest that modern snakes’ ancestors burrowed rather than swam, scientists report November 27 in Science Advances.
The study is the latest to suggest that snakes evolved...
Blue hair has evolved independently at least eight times among tarantulas, a new study finds. But the puzzle of what benefits the color might bring has gotten even more mystifying.
Lab measurements show unusually similar hues from species with very different color-causing structures inside the hairs, researchers report...
The Martian atmosphere’s not what it used to be. Solar winds bombard the planet, taking gas molecules (represented by colored streaks in the image above) with them. New measurements of atmospheric loss by NASA’s MAVEN probe should help scientists determine how a planet with rushing water and a temperate climate a few billion years ago transformed...
50 Years Ago
Past, Modern Man Linked — Neanderthal man may have built structures, indicating that he was far more advanced than formerly believed and implying that he may have evolved into Cromagnon man. Evidence uncovered at the Molodova site in the Ukraine … is a circle of...
News in Brief
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, astronomers snagged a two-for-one deal on mysterious blasts of radio waves from other galaxies. An unprecedented double burst recently showed up along with four more of these flashes, researchers report online November 25 at arXiv.org.
Fast radio bursts, first detected in 2007, are bright blasts...
For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving is an excuse to gorge on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, despite the warnings that overeating, even for a day, can be incredibly unhealthy. But for a Burmese python,...
Water bears may be the ultimate borrowers.
The hardy, microscopic animals also known as moss piglets and technically called tardigrades have scavenged about 17.5 percent of their genes from other creatures. The ability to pick up used genes and spare parts from other organisms’ DNA junkyards may allow tardigrades...
News in Brief
It’s not water into wine, but close enough. By stimulating certain nerve cells in the brains of mice, scientists made plain water taste sweet or bitter. The results show that the brain — not the tongue — is the ultimate tastemaker...