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  • News in Brief

    Neutrino experiment may hint at why matter rules the universe

    A new study hints that neutrinos might behave differently than their antimatter counterparts. The result amplifies scientists’ suspicions that the lightweight elementary particles could help explain why the universe has much more matter than antimatter.

    In the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts. To tip that balance to the universe’s...

    08/08/2017 - 14:00 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    How humans (maybe) domesticated themselves

    Long before humans domesticated other animals, we may have domesticated ourselves.

    Over many generations, some scientists propose, humans selected among themselves for tameness. This process resulted in genetic changes, several recent studies suggest, that have shaped people in ways similar to other domesticated species.

    Tameness, says evolutionary biologist and primatologist...

    07/06/2017 - 12:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Ancient whale tells tale of when baleen whales had teeth

    A 36-million-year-old fossil skeleton is revealing a critical moment in the history of baleen whales: what happened when the ancestors of these modern-day filter feeders first began to distinguish themselves from their toothy, predatory predecessors. The fossil is the oldest known mysticete, a group that includes baleen whales, such as humpbacks, researchers report in the May 22 Current...

    05/11/2017 - 12:10 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Getting dengue first may make Zika infection much worse

    Being immune to a virus is a good thing, until it’s not. That’s the lesson from a study that sought to understand the severity of the Zika outbreak in Brazil. Experiments in cells and mice suggest that a previous exposure to dengue or West Nile can make a Zika virus infection worse.

    “Antibodies you generate from the first infection … can facilitate entry of the Zika virus into...

    03/30/2017 - 16:26 Biomedicine, Health, Immune Science
  • Feature

    Cancer cells cast a sweet spell on the immune system

    Shrink yourself small enough to swoop over the surface of a human cell, and you might be reminded of Earth’s terrain. Fats, or lipids, stay close to the surface, like grasses and shrubs. Proteins stand above the shrubs, as mighty oaks or palm trees. But before you could distinguish the low-lying lipids from the towering proteins, you’d see something else adorning these molecules — sugars.

    ...
    03/21/2017 - 12:00 Cancer, Immune Science
  • Feature

    With dinosaurs out of the way, mammals had a chance to thrive

    For dinosaurs, the end of the world began in fire.

    The space rock that stamped a Vermont-sized crater into the Earth 66 million years ago packed a powerful punch. Any animal living within about a thousand miles of the impact zone was probably vaporized, says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

    “Everything would have been toast.”

    But...

    01/25/2017 - 14:30 Paleontology, Evolution, Animals
  • Feature

    Some lucky birds escaped dino doomsday

    The asteroid strike (or was it the roiling volcanoes?) that triggered dino doomsday 66 million years ago also brought an avian apocalypse. Birds had evolved by then, but only some had what it took to survive.

    Biologists now generally accept birds as a kind of dinosaur, just as people are a kind of mammal. Much of what we think of as birdlike traits — bipedal stance, feathers, wishbones...

    01/25/2017 - 14:30 Evolution, Animals
  • News

    Ancient cemetery provides peek into Philistines’ lives, health

    SAN ANTONIO — A roughly 3,000-year-old cemetery on Israel’s coast is providing an unprecedented look at burial practices of the Philistines, a mysterious population known from the Old Testament for having battled the Israelites.

    Work at the Ashkelon cemetery from 2013 to 2016 has uncovered remains of at least 227 individuals, ranging from infants to older adults. Only a small section of...

    11/22/2016 - 13:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Context

    Why quantum mechanics might need an overhaul

    SAN ANTONIO — Quantum mechanics is science’s equivalent of political polarization.

    Voters either take sides and argue with each other endlessly, or stay home and accept politics as it is. Physicists either just accept quantum mechanics and do their calculations, or take sides in the never-ending debate over what quantum mechanics is actually saying about reality.

    Steven Weinberg...

    11/04/2016 - 15:37 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Latest dark matter searches leave scientists empty-handed

    Scientists have lost their latest round of hide-and-seek with dark matter, but they’re not out of the game.

    Despite overwhelming evidence that an exotic form of matter lurks unseen in the cosmos, decades of searches have failed to definitively detect a single particle of dark matter. While some scientists continue down the road of increasingly larger detectors designed to catch the...

    10/25/2016 - 05:30 Particle Physics