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  • News

    How a flamingo balances on one leg

    A question flamingo researchers get asked all the time — why the birds stand on one leg — may need rethinking. The bigger puzzle may be why flamingos bother standing on two.

    Balance aids built into the birds’ basic anatomy allow for a one-legged stance that demands little muscular effort, tests find. This stance is so exquisitely stable that a bird sways less to keep itself upright when...

    05/23/2017 - 19:59 Biophysics, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    TRAPPIST-1’s seventh planet is a chilly world

    When astronomers in February announced the discovery of seven planets orbiting a supercool star, details about the outermost planet were sketchy. No more. The seventh planet is chilly and definitely no place for life, the international team reports May 22 in Nature Astronomy.

    The seven-planet system, TRAPPIST-1, is 39 light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Follow-up...

    05/23/2017 - 09:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Tool sharpens focus on Stone Age networking in the Middle East

    A stone tool found in Syria more than 80 years ago has sharpened scientists’ understanding of Stone Age networking.

    Small enough to fit in the palm of an adult’s hand, this chipped piece of obsidian dates to between 41,000 and 32,000 years ago, say archaeologists Ellery Frahm and Thomas Hauck. It was fashioned out of volcanic rock from outcrops in central Turkey, a minimum of 700...

    05/23/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Mouse sperm survive space to spawn

    Mouse sperm could win awards for resilience. Sperm freeze-dried and sent into space for months of exposure to high levels of solar radiation later produced healthy baby mice, researchers report May 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    If humans ever embark on long-term space flights, we’ll need a way to reproduce. One potential hurdle (beyond the logistical challenges...

    05/22/2017 - 15:00 Development
  • Science Ticker

    Older adults may not benefit from taking statins

    The benefits of statins for people older than 75 remain unclear, a new analysis finds. Statins did not reduce heart attacks or coronary heart disease deaths, nor did they reduce deaths from any cause, compared with people not taking statins, researchers report online May 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    Recently published guidelines cited insufficient data to recommend statins for people...

    05/22/2017 - 14:30 Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    European fossils may belong to earliest known hominid

    Europe, not Africa, might have spawned the first members of the human evolutionary family around 7 million years ago, researchers say.

    Tooth characteristics of a chimpanzee-sized primate that once lived in southeastern European suggest that the primate, known as Graecopithecus, may have been a hominid, not an ape as many researchers assume. One tooth in particular, the second lower...

    05/22/2017 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    40 more ‘intelligence’ genes found

    Smarty-pants have 40 new reasons to thank their parents for their powerful brains. By sifting through the genetics of nearly 80,000 people, researchers have uncovered 40 genes that may make certain people smarter. That brings the total number of suspected “intelligence genes” to 52.

    Combined, these genetic attributes explain only a very small amount of overall smarts, or lack thereof,...

    05/22/2017 - 11:00 Biomedicine
  • News

    Even short-term opioid use can set people up for addiction risks

    Even though a sprained ankle rarely needs an opioid, a new study of emergency room patients found that about 7 percent of patients got sent home with a prescription for the potentially addictive painkiller anyway. And the more pills prescribed, the greater the chance the prescription would be refilled, raising concerns about continued use.

    The research adds to evidence that it’s hard for...

    05/19/2017 - 09:00 Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Quantum tractor beam could tug atoms, molecules

    The wavelike properties of quantum matter could lead to a scaled-down version of Star Trek technology. A new kind of tractor beam could use a beam of particles to reel in atoms or molecules, physicists propose in the May 5 Physical Review Letters.

    Scientists have previously created tractor beams using light or sound waves, which can pull small particles a few millimeters or centimeters (...

    05/19/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • Science Stats

    Global access to quality health care has improved in the last two decades

    Health care quality and availability improved globally from 1990 to 2015, but the gap between the haves and the have-nots widened in those 25 years, researchers report online May 18 in the Lancet.

    As an approximate measure of citizens’ access to quality health care, an international team of researchers analyzed mortality rates for 32 diseases and injuries that are typically not fatal...

    05/18/2017 - 18:53 Health