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  • Feature

    Fighting like an animal doesn’t always mean a duel to the death

    Pick an animal.

    Choose wisely because in this fantasy you’ll transform into the creature and duel against one of your own. If you care about survival, go for the muscular, multispiked stag roaring at a rival. Never, ever pick the wingless male fig wasp. Way too dangerous.

    This advice sounds exactly wrong. But that’s because many stereotypes of animal conflict get the real biology...

    05/03/2018 - 15:05 Animals
  • News

    NASA gets ready to launch the first lander to investigate Mars’ insides

    Mars is about to get its first internal checkup. The InSight lander, set to launch at 7:05 a.m. EDT on May 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will probe the Red Planet’s innards by tracking seismic waves and taking its temperature.

    Finding out what Mars’ interior is like could help scientists learn how the Red Planet formed 4.5 billion years ago, and how other rocky planets...

    05/03/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    The first smallpox treatment is one step closer to FDA approval

    As bioterrorism fears grow, the first treatment for smallpox is nearing approval.

    Called tecovirimat, the drug stops the variola virus, which causes smallpox, from sending out copies of itself and infecting other cells. “If the virus gets ahead of your immune system, you get sick,” says Dennis Hruby, the chief scientific officer of pharmaceutical company SIGA Technologies, which took...

    05/02/2018 - 18:06 Health
  • News

    This ancient fowl bit like a dinosaur and pecked like a bird

    A bird that lived alongside dinosaurs may have preened its feathers like modern birds — despite a full mouth of teeth that also let it chomp like a dino.

    A new 3-D reconstruction of the skull of Ichthyornis dispar, which lived during the Late Cretaceous epoch between 87 million and 82 million years ago, reveals that the ancient fowl had a small, primitive beak and a mobile upper jaw....

    05/02/2018 - 13:00 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology
  • News

    Bull sharks and bottlenose dolphins are moving north as the ocean warms

    Far from their usual tropical waters, some 200 bottlenose dolphins and about 70 false killer whales have been spotted off the western coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Over on the Atlantic coast, bull sharks have turned a North Carolina estuary into a nursery — a sight more familiar in Florida, until now.

    Two new studies highlight the unusual northern sightings of these three ocean...

    05/02/2018 - 11:52 Climate, Oceans, Animals, Ecosystems
  • News

    Neutron stars shed neutrinos to cool down quickly

    For some neutron stars, the quickest way to cool off isn’t with a frosty beverage, but with lightweight, subatomic particles called neutrinos.

    Scientists have spotted the first solid evidence that some neutron stars, the collapsed remnants of exploded stars, can rapidly cool their cores by emitting neutrinos. The result adds to evidence that scientists are gathering to understand the...

    05/02/2018 - 08:49 Physics, Astronomy
  • Editor's Note

    Does our latest issue look fat? If so, that’s a good thing

    Subscribers to Science News may note that this special double issue is a lot heftier than the usual magazine, boasting more than 20 pages of advertisements. That’s up from 13 pages in last spring’s expanded issue.

    Indeed, our ace marketing department sold so many ads that we had to include more articles, which, as anyone in print publishing will tell you, is a very nice problem to...

    05/02/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers puzzled by particle physics and a papal decree

    Particle particulars

    Physicists are ramping up their search for neutrinoless double beta decay, which could help explain why there is more matter in the universe than antimatter, Emily Conover reported in “The quest to identify the nature of the neutrino’s alter ego is heating up” (SN: 3/17/18, p. 14).

    Reader F L Stiles wondered how this decay could explain a surplus of matter. “It...

    05/02/2018 - 07:00 Particle Physics, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Defenseless moths do flying impressions of scary bees and wasps

    Clearwing moths may not look all that dangerous, despite having largely see-through wings like bees and wasps. But some fly like fierce insects best left well alone.

    Four clearwing species from Southeast Asian rainforests aren’t perfect mimics of local bees and wasps. Yet the resemblance looked much stronger when entomologist Marta Skowron Volponi of the University of Gdansk in Poland...

    05/01/2018 - 19:05 Animals, Evolution
  • Feature

    How a backyard pendulum saw sliced into a Bronze Age mystery

    Nicholas Blackwell and his father went to a hardware store about three years ago seeking parts for a mystery device from the past. They carefully selected wood and other materials to assemble a stonecutting pendulum that, if Blackwell is right, resembles contraptions once used to build majestic Bronze Age palaces.

    With no ancient drawings or blueprints of the tool for guidance, the two...

    05/01/2018 - 07:00 Archaeology