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  • Science Ticker

    Why seahorses have square tails

    Hammering and squishing 3-D printed seahorse tail segments reveals what’s so great about being square.

    Angled bones hitched together in a flexible string of squares create protective cages that are four times stronger than rounded ones, researchers report July 3 in Science. That’s the conclusion from...

    07/02/2015 - 14:34 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • News

    Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper

    Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science.

    That insight, arrived at in part by balling up sheets of standard-sized A4 office paper...

    07/02/2015 - 14:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Missing enzyme to blame for scentless roses

    Stopping to smell the roses might be a letdown — and now researchers know why.

    The sweet-smelling flowers craft their scent using a surprising enzyme, previously thought to help prune genetic errors, researchers report July 3 in Science. That enzyme — and potent aroma — is missing in many roses bred for...

    07/02/2015 - 14:00 Chemistry, Plants
  • Science Ticker

    Pluto may have spots the size of Missouri

    A chain of enigmatic dark spots mark the surface of Pluto in recent New Horizons images, taken when the spacecraft was about 22 million kilometers from the dwarf planet. Each splotch is about 500 kilometers across and covers roughly the same area as the state of Missouri.

    The...

    07/02/2015 - 12:10 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Genetic tweak hints at why mammoths loved the cold

    A single genetic change may have made woolly mammoths fat, hairy and cold-loving.

    Researchers deciphered the genomes of two woolly mammoths that died about 20,000 and 60,000 years ago. When comparing the mammoths’ DNA to that from three Asian elephants, researchers noted that mammoths had different forms of some proteins involved in sensing temperature.

    The team produced one of the...

    07/02/2015 - 12:00 Molecular Evolution, Animals
  • News

    Smell test may detect autism

    A 10-minute test could help doctors sniff out autism, a new study contends.

    Whether smelling roses or sour milk, children with autism inhale about the same amount of air, researchers report July 2 in Current Biology. In contrast, kids without the disorder breathe in pleasant scents more deeply than stinky ones.

    The...

    07/02/2015 - 12:00 Health, Mental Health, Neuroscience
  • Context

    Science is heroic, with a tragic (statistical) flaw

    First of two parts

    Science is heroic. It fuels the economy, it feeds the world, it fights disease. Sure, it enables some unsavory stuff as well — knowledge confers power for bad as well as good — but on the whole, science deserves credit for providing the foundation underlying modern civilization’s comforts and conveniences.

    But for all its heroic accomplishments, science...

    07/02/2015 - 11:29 Numbers, Science & Society
  • Introducing

    Centipede discovered in caves 1,000 meters belowground

    A newly discovered centipede species takes extreme living to new depths.

    Scientists discovered Geophilus hadesi more than 1,000 meters underground in damp, nearly freezing caves in central Croatia. The centipede is just under 3 centimeters long and has 33 pairs of legs, plus unusually long antennae. Researchers...

    07/02/2015 - 10:44 Animals
  • Culture Beaker

    Your photos reveal more than where you went on vacation

    Summer is upon us and that means clichéd vacation photos are nigh. But that picture of your cousin holding up the leaning tower of Pisa or of Fred from accounting jumping in front of [insert national monument here] could be a data point in a bigger picture. Scientists are tapping into the vast repositories of photo sharing...

    07/01/2015 - 16:40 Science & Society, Technology
  • Science Ticker

    Flatworm can self-fertilize by stabbing itself in the head

    Lonely hermaphroditic flatworms with needle-tipped male organs apparently inject themselves with sperm in whatever body region is easy to stab.

    If raised alone in the lab, a tiny Macrostomum hystrix flatworm ends up with sperm distributed oddly around its body, researchers report July 1 in ...

    07/01/2015 - 15:11 Animals, Evolution