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  • Scicurious

    The need to feed and eating for pleasure are inextricably linked

    You’ve already had a muffin. And a half. You know you’re full. But there they are, fluffy and delicious, waiting for the passersby in the office. Just thinking about them makes your mouth water.

    Maybe if you just slice one into quarters. I mean, that barely counts…

    And then we give in, our brains overriding our body’s better judgment. When I catch myself once again polishing off a...

    08/27/2015 - 16:44 Neuroscience, Nutrition
  • Science Ticker

    Tropical songbirds get their growth spurt late

    Scientists have long puzzled over why tropical songbirds lay fewer eggs than their temperate-zone counterparts. A new study suggests that it may have to do with how baby birds grow.

    Thomas Martin of the University of Montana in Missoula compared nestling development in 72 songbird species from Arizona, Venezuela and Malaysia. While the Arizona birds grew quickly in the early days after...

    08/27/2015 - 14:00 Animals
  • Feature

    Wanted: Crime-solving bacteria and body odor

    Forensic biologist Silvana Tridico was puzzled by pubic hair.

    Specifically, pubic hair samples donated by two volunteers.

    She had just finished analyzing the bacteria stuck to the hair of seven people. If each hair sample carried unique mixes of bacteria, Tridico reasoned, investigators might have a new tool to help identify crime suspects. Hair bacteria, like fingerprints, could...

    08/26/2015 - 14:32 Chemistry, Microbiology, Technology
  • News

    Chilean desert cemetery tells tale of ancient trade specialists

    An ancient cemetery in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert is helping to rewrite the region’s past. This burial ground housed the remains of a far-flung, well-connected group of players in what was one of South America’s earliest trade networks, researchers say.

    New findings from the roughly 1,500-year-old Larache cemetery support the idea that trade bloomed among societies in the Andes...

    08/24/2015 - 07:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Seeing humans as superpredators

    To get a glimpse of a superpredator, just look in the mirror. Comparing hunting habits of mammals and fishes reveals humans as Earth’s most dangerous, oddball predator — one that targets adult prey in large numbers, a practice that can push populations into decline.

    Humans’ main prey are reproductive adults, the...

    08/20/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Conservation, Ecology
  • News

    Bones revive a 7,000-year-old massacre

    Central Europe’s first farmers cultivated not just crops but also massacres, with some villages nearly wiping out neighboring settlements, researchers say.

    Evidence of this ancient warfare appears on human bones found scattered in a ditch exposed by German road workers in 2006, says a team led by anthropologist Christian...

    08/17/2015 - 15:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Bacteria in flowers may boost honeybees’ healthy gut microbes

    Honeybees were into probiotics way before they were cool, a new study suggests.

    The hipster insects serve up beneficial bacteria that may help baby bees develop a healthy blend of gut microbes, researchers report online August 7 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Without those thriving gut...

    08/16/2015 - 07:00 Microbes, Animals, Toxicology
  • News

    Biologists aflutter over just where monarchs are declining

    A fuss over trends in monarch butterfly populations has flared up with a flurry of new research papers, all based on records from volunteer butterfly watchers.

    There’s no dispute that numbers of monarch butterflies are dwindling at winter refuges in central Mexico (SN: 4/23/11, p. 18). But...

    08/11/2015 - 06:00 Animals, Conservation
  • News

    Young black holes evade detection

    HONOLULU — Perhaps most supermassive black holes — dark giants in the centers of galaxies — are just shy when they’re young.

    “We have this weird problem, where on the one hand the universe makes really supermassive black holes very shortly after the Big Bang,” says Kevin Schawinski, an astrophysicist at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. “But when we look at more typical galaxies, we find no...

    08/07/2015 - 16:26 Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Brain scans hint at reasons for stress-eating

    Ask anyone who has succumbed to the office doughnut right after a tense meeting: Stress eating is real. Moderate stress crumples diet-related willpower by changing the behavior of the brain, a small study suggests.

    Scientists stressed out 29 young men by making them stick one hand in ice water for three minutes while a...

    08/07/2015 - 13:55 Neuroscience