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  • Wild Things

    Vampire bats share blood to make friends

    As if vampire bats weren’t already freaky enough, they have a habit that is at once sort of sweet and sort of gross: These communal animals will share blood with hungry roost-mates in an action that “looks like they’re French kissing,” bat scientist Gerald Carter told Science News in 2013.

    Carter, now at the...

    11/19/2015 - 08:17 Animals
  • Feature

    Getting creative to cut methane from cows

    View the video

    In a pasture outside Edmonton, Canada, you’ll find a few dozen cows doing what cows do: mostly eating. The average animal spends eight-plus hours a day filling its belly, or as is the case with cows, bellies. Along with that enormous appetite, cows are born with the ability to digest almost any plant they can chew, thanks to a multichambered stomach...

    11/18/2015 - 16:36 Animals, Microbes, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Glimpse of baby planet shows what to expect when a star is expecting

    Like a cosmic sonogram, new images showcase an infant world growing in the planetary womb that encircles a young star. This is the first time researchers have observed a young planet actively feeding from the disk of gas in which it lives.

    Light from hydrogen gas swirling around the planet gave the baby world away,...

    11/18/2015 - 13:36 Planetary Science
  • News

    Phobos starting to crack under pressure

    OXON HILL, Md. — Mars’ moon Phobos is stressed and starting to crack under pressure. A network of grooves encircling the moon are early signs that the Red Planet’s gravity is splintering Phobos, Terry Hurford reported November 10 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.


    11/11/2015 - 11:40 Planetary Science
  • News

    Land life spared in Permian extinction, geologists argue

    BALTIMORE — The greatest extinction in Earth’s history might not have been so great after all. A suspected colossal die-off of roughly 75 percent of land species didn’t accompany the Permian extinction around 252 million years ago, a team of geologists contend.

    That divisive result comes from new work in South Africa that redates the demise of Dicynodon — a mammal relative whose...

    11/05/2015 - 16:30 Paleontology, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    Synchronized dancing boosts pain tolerance

    Five, six, seven, eight! All together now, let's spread those jazz hands and get moving, because synchronized dancing improves our tolerance of pain and helps us bond as humans, researchers suggest October 28 in Biology Letters

    A team of psychologists at the University of Oxford taught high...

    10/27/2015 - 20:05 Anthropology, Psychology
  • News

    Rare reptile holds clue to penis evolution

    A rare reptile is shedding light on the evolution of the penis — even though it doesn’t have one.

    The tuatara, a lizardlike species in New Zealand, never grows a real phallus. Yet as an embryo, it starts forming tiny nubbins like those that turn into the great diversity of sperm-delivery organs in other mammals and reptiles, researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville report...

    10/27/2015 - 20:05 Evolution, Animals
  • Scicurious

    Views on bias can be biased

    The scientific method is supposed to be objective. A scientist comes up with a hypothesis for how they think something works. Rigorous testing takes place. The scientist looks at the resulting data objectively, and determines whether the original idea was right or wrong. There’s no arguing with numbers. When in doubt, test it again. As my graduate adviser always said, “the data are the data...

    10/26/2015 - 07:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Slow, cold reptiles may breathe like energetic birds

    Colleen Farmer was alone one night dissecting an alligator. Her focus was on blood flow in the heart, when suddenly, a hypothesis unfolded about animal lungs. In one sweep, she realized that what physiologists have assumed for decades about the evolution of airflow in alligators, other living reptiles, birds and maybe even dinosaurs might just be startlingly wrong.

    Lungs sound simple:...

    10/19/2015 - 13:11 Animals, Biophysics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Marine biologist chronicles a lifelong love of fishing

    A Naturalist Goes Fishing
    James McClintock
    St. Martin’s Press, $25.99

    In A Naturalist Goes Fishing, James McClintock shares personal stories of the...

    10/18/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Conservation, Ecosystems