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  • News in Brief

    Older moms may have options to reduce newborns’ risks

    Older women who get pregnant face a heightened risk of having a baby with congenital heart defects. But exercise might lower that risk, a study in mice shows.

    Researchers designed an experiment to determine what underlies the age-related risk: the age of the mother or the aging eggs she carried. The researchers transplanted ovaries reciprocally between old and young female mice. When the...

    04/01/2015 - 13:01 Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Exoskeleton boot makes for more efficient walking

    Some boots are made for walking, and some are made for walking more efficiently.

    Scientists have developed an unpowered exoskeleton "boot" that reduces the amount of energy spent while walking by about 7 percent. The boot has a passive clutch that activates a spring in parallel with the Achilles tendon when the foot is on the ground. That offloads the effort of the calf muscles, making...

    04/01/2015 - 13:00 Technology, Health
  • News

    ‘Little Foot’ pushes back age of earliest South African hominids

    Lucy’s species, an East African hominid line called Australopithecus afarensis, had a South African counterpart, a new study finds.

    A nearly complete fossil skeleton from South Africa’s Sterkfontein Caves dates to 3.67 million years ago, making it roughly 1 million years older than any other South African hominid, say geochemist Darryl Granger of Purdue University in West...

    04/01/2015 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Wild Things

    How human activities may be creating coywolves

    No one knows for sure exactly how far the range of the red wolf (Canis rufus) might have extended. By the time anyone started wondering, their numbers had severely dwindled, a result of antipredator control programs, habitat destruction and matings with coyotes (C. latrans). By 1980, the wolves were declared extinct...

    04/01/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Conservation
  • Science Ticker

    Songbird crosses the Atlantic in a nonstop flight

    Every autumn, the blackpoll warbler (Setophaga striata) flies nonstop from Canada or New England south across the Atlantic Ocean and lands on the northern coast of South America three days later. In that time, the 12-gram birds travel 2,270 to 2,770 kilometers, and theirs is one of the longest transoceanic flights recorded in a songbird,  researchers ...

    03/31/2015 - 19:05 Animals
  • News

    Plate loss gave chain of Pacific islands and seamounts a bend

    The disappearance of a tectonic plate into Earth’s interior may be responsible for the distinctive bend in the chain of underwater mountains and islands that includes the Hawaiian archipelago.

    A reconstruction of the mantle flowing under the Pacific Ocean about 50 million years ago suggests that the submergence of the Izanagi Plate near East Asia reversed the flow’s direction. This...

    03/31/2015 - 14:14 Earth
  • News

    Ancient hominids moved into Greece about 206,000 years ago

    ST. LOUIS — Greece has long been known as a bastion of research into a civilization that gave birth to democracy 2,500 years ago. Now, the country appears poised to become a key player in the study of European Neandertals and ancient human groups that entered Southeast Europe from Homo sapiens’ African birthplace.

    New geological evidence from a Greek archaeological site...

    03/31/2015 - 12:00 Anthropology
  • Science Ticker

    Some superbugs lurk in Britain’s surf

    A small fraction of Escherichia coli floating at the surface of Britain’s coastal waters are resistant to antibiotics, researchers from the University of Exeter reported March 29 at the Society for General Microbiology’s Annual Conference in Birmingham, England.

    ...

    03/31/2015 - 07:30 Microbes, Health
  • How Bizarre

    Tampons: Not just for feminine hygiene

    Tampons are cheap and highly absorbent, which makes them the perfect tool for testing rivers for pollution. Tampons submerged in contaminated water shine blue under ultraviolet light because of the brightening chemicals they have sucked in, researchers report March 30 in the Water and Environment Journal.    

    Rivers can become...

    03/30/2015 - 20:15 Pollution
  • News

    Egg-meet-sperm moments are equal opportunities for girls and boys

    Girl or boy: For expecting parents, it’s a classic question. For scientists studying human demographics, it’s a head scratcher.

    Statistics seem to favor boys. On average, for every 105 boys born, only 100 girls are born. Scientists have credited the difference to more male embryos being conceived. But that’s not true, a new study suggests.

    Researchers from the United States and the...

    03/30/2015 - 15:24 Human Development, Biomedicine, Genetics