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E.g., 10/24/2017
E.g., 10/24/2017
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  • News in Brief

    Inbreeding hurts the next generation’s reproductive success

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Kissing cousins aren’t doing their children any evolutionary favors, some preliminary data suggest.

    Mating with a close relative, known as inbreeding, reduces nonhuman animals’ evolutionary fitness — measured by the ability to produce offspring. Inbreeding, it turns out, also puts a hit on humans’ reproductive success, David Clark of the University of Edinburgh reported...

    10/23/2017 - 17:46 Genetics, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Mating with Neandertals reintroduced ‘lost’ DNA into modern humans

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Interbreeding with Neandertals restored some genetic heirlooms that modern humans left behind in the ancient exodus from Africa, new research suggests.

    Those heirlooms are versions of genes, or alleles, that were present in humans’ and Neandertals’ shared ancestors. Neandertals carried many of those old alleles, passing them along generation after generation, while...

    10/23/2017 - 14:43 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News

    How bird feeders may be changing great tits’ beaks

    Some great tits in the United Kingdom are getting long in the beak — and it may have something to do with a British fondness for bird feeders.

    Parus major songbirds are thought to be relatively similar throughout Europe. But comparing DNA data from great tits in the United Kingdom with those in the Netherlands revealed key genetic differences between the two populations. The analysis,...

    10/23/2017 - 07:00 Evolution, Animals, Ecosystems
  • Television

    ‘Killer Hurricanes’ reconstructs the past to predict storms of the future

    In 1780, a powerful hurricane swept across the islands of the Caribbean, killing an estimated 22,000 people; 5,000 more died of starvation and disease in the aftermath. “Our planet is capable of unleashing extreme chaos,” begins the new NOVA documentary “Killer Hurricanes,” set to air November 1 on PBS.

    To describe the human impact of such powerful tropical cyclones, the documentary...

    10/22/2017 - 08:00 Climate, Oceans, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Pollution killed 9 million people in 2015

    About one in every six premature deaths worldwide is linked to dirty air, water and soil.

    Most of those deaths are concentrated among the world’s poorest populations, according to a study published online October 19 in the Lancet that documents the health and economic toll of pollution in 2015. In the most severely polluted countries, 25 percent of premature deaths could be attributed to...

    10/20/2017 - 17:50 Pollution, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Dawn spacecraft will keep orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres indefinitely

    It’s a new day for the Dawn spacecraft. The NASA spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since 2015, just got its final marching orders: Keep orbiting Ceres indefinitely.

    The extension, which NASA announced October 19, will be the second time Dawn’s mission at Ceres has been renewed. It means Dawn will still be in orbit when Ceres makes its closest approach to the sun...

    10/20/2017 - 15:15 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Scientists battle over whether violence has declined over time

    Contrary to a popular idea among researchers, modern states haven’t dulled people’s long-standing taste for killing each other in battle, a controversial new study concludes. But living in a heavily populated society may up one’s odds of surviving a war, two anthropologists propose.

    As a population grows, larger numbers of combatants die in wars, but those slain represent a smaller...

    10/20/2017 - 09:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Reviews & Previews

    Resurrecting extinct species raises ethical questions

    Rise of the NecrofaunaBritt WrayGreystone Books, $26.95

    A theme park populated with re-created dinosaurs is fiction. But if a handful of dedicated scientists have their way, a park with woolly mammoths, passenger pigeons and other “de-extincted” animals could become reality.

    In Rise of the Necrofauna, writer and radio broadcaster Britt Wray presents a comprehensive look at...

    10/20/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Animals, Science & Society
  • News

    Doubling up on ‘junk DNA’ helps make us human

    ORLANDO — Doubling up on some DNA may have helped make humans human — including giving us uniquely human diseases.

    DNA that doesn’t produce proteins may be especially important for creating differences between humans and other primates, biochemist Paulina Carmona-Mora reported October 18 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics.

    Carmona-Mora and colleagues in...

    10/19/2017 - 18:18 Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Laws to protect athletes’ brains do reduce concussions — eventually

    To guard against the dangers of concussions, by 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted laws to protect young athletes. More than 2½ years after these laws went on the books, repeat concussions began to decline among high school athletes, researchers report online October 19 in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Researchers reviewed concussion data from 2005 to...

    10/19/2017 - 17:11 Health, Mental Health