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  • Wild Things

    Chemical behind popcorn’s aroma gives a bearcat its signature scent

    Imagine that you’re walking through a secluded forest somewhere in Southeast Asia. You’re far from modern conveniences, like electricity. The trees overhead block out much of the light. It’s quiet, except for the sounds of ruffling leaves or the calls of birds. Suddenly, you’re struck by the scent of popcorn.

    You’d probably think you were going nuts. But you might have just picked up the...

    04/28/2016 - 09:20 Animals
  • News

    Clearer picture emerging of dinosaurs’ last days

    Neither a giant asteroid nor a gradual die out can take full blame for dinosaurs’ demise.

    Rather, the culprit may be both, two new studies suggest.

    Tens of millions of years before the asteroid delivered its killer blow some 66 million years ago, the number of dinosaur species had already begun to drop,...

    04/21/2016 - 12:00 Paleontology, Evolution
  • It's Alive

    Cave-dwelling salamander comes pigmented and pale

    Normal is the new strange for the world’s largest cave salamanders.

    Biologists are thinking deep thoughts about why some of Europe’s olm salamanders living in darkness have (gasp!) skin coloring and eyes with lenses.

    Most salamanders, of course, have skin pigments and grow adult eyes like other vertebrates. But after eons of cave life, olms (Proteus anguinus) have become...

    04/20/2016 - 06:00 Animals, Evolution
  • Wild Things

    Scientists find a crab party deep in the ocean

    A year ago, researchers in two small submarines were exploring a seamount — an underwater, flat-topped mountain — off the Pacific coast of Panama when they noticed a dense cloud of sediment extending 4 to 10 meters above the seafloor. One of the submarines approached closer, and the scientists could soon see what was kicking up the cloud: thousands of small, red crabs that were swarming...

    04/18/2016 - 09:00 Animals, Oceans
  • Science Ticker

    Gene-edited mushroom doesn’t need regulation, USDA says

    A mushroom whose genes have been edited with molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 doesn’t need to be regulated like other genetically modified crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said April 13...

    04/15/2016 - 15:16 Genetics, Fungi
  • News

    Pollen becoming bee junk food as CO2 rises

    Bees may need their own supplemental protein shakes as increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere saps the nutritional quality of pollen.

    Pollen collected from plants gives bees their only natural source of protein (nectar is a sugar-shot for energy). Yet protein content in pollen of a widespread goldenrod species (Solidago canadensis)...

    04/12/2016 - 19:05 Climate, Animals, Conservation
  • News

    A sugar can melt away cholesterol

    A sugar that freshens air in rooms may also clean cholesterol out of hardened arteries.

    The sugar, cyclodextrin, removed cholesterol that had built up in the arteries of mice fed a high-fat diet, researchers report April 6 in Science Translational Medicine. The sugar enhances a natural cholesterol-removal process and...

    04/08/2016 - 15:18 Biomedicine, Cells
  • It's Alive

    Piggybacking tadpoles are epic food beggars

    View the video

    Tadpoles don’t cry to get their way. But some of them sure can beg.

    Each bout of hungry-baby drama among mimic poison frogs (Ranitomeya imitator) occupies both parents for hours. The tadpoles get so crazy-frantic that researchers wanted to know whether the begging is an honest call for help or a histrionic scam.

     Frogs can lay...

    04/07/2016 - 15:00 Animals
  • Wild Things

    Mama birds pay attention to more than chicks’ begging

    Spring has finally arrived, and birds’ nests all over the country will soon be filling up with eggs and then nestlings. Watch a nest long enough (the Science News staff is partial to the DC Eagle Cam) and you’ll see itty bitty baby birds begging for a meal. But mama birds don’t always reward that begging with food. In some species, like...

    04/06/2016 - 12:00 Animals
  • Feature

    Gum disease opens up the body to a host of infections

    For centuries, the mouth and the body have been disconnected — at least when it comes to health care. Through the Middle Ages and beyond, teeth fell under the care of barbers, who could shave a customer and pull a molar with equal skill. In the 1700s, French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published the ...

    04/06/2016 - 09:00 Health, Microbiology, Cancer