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  • News

    Quantum histories get all tangled up

    Choose Your Own Adventure books are fun, but they let readers choose only one version of events at a time. Quantum mechanics, a new experiment suggests, requires that multiple adventures occur simultaneously to create a consistent account of history.

    Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek at MIT and colleague Jordan Cotler, now at Stanford University, provide evidence for what they call...

    01/25/2016 - 13:00 Quantum Physics
  • News in Brief

    Ocean heating doubles

    The ocean is taking heat. That’s the conclusion of a new study that finds that Earth’s oceans now absorb heat at twice the rate they did 18 years ago. Around half of ocean heat uptake since 1865 has taken place since 1997, researchers also report online January 18 in Nature Climate Change.

    Warming waters are known...

    01/18/2016 - 11:00 Oceans, Climate
  • News

    The Iceman tells a new tale: Infection with ulcer-causing bacteria

    Ötzi the Iceman had a stomach bug.

    The 5,300-year-old mummy holds DNA evidence of Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach-dwelling bacteria that can cause ulcers and other ailments, researchers report in the Jan. 8 Science.

    The new work could rewrite the timeline of H. pylori...

    01/07/2016 - 14:05 Genetics, Microbes, Anthropology
  • Feature

    12 amazing fossil finds of 2015

    From a spongelike speck to a bird built to terrify, 2015’s fossil finds added details, drama — and some real characters — to the story of life on Earth. These specimens flesh out life’s timeline too, spanning nearly 600 million years of history.

    ...

    12/29/2015 - 17:30 Paleontology, Animals
  • News

    New dating of dino ancestor challenges Triassic timeline

    Dinosaurs arrived hot on the tails of their more ancient relatives, reptiles called dinosauromorphs, a new study shows.   

    New dating of a dinosauromorph fossil layer in a geologic formation in Argentina reveal that it’s between 5 million and 10 million years younger than previously thought. That means dinosaurs and their dinosauromorph predecessors were separated by a gap of less than 5...

    12/07/2015 - 15:00 Paleontology, Earth
  • News in Brief

    Snakes evolved from burrowing ancestor, new data suggest

    View the video

    The mother of all snakes got its start underground.

    X-ray images of snake and lizard skulls suggest that modern snakes’ ancestors burrowed rather than swam, scientists report November 27 in Science Advances.

    The study is the latest to suggest that snakes evolved...

    11/27/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Paleontology, Evolution
  • 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
  • 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
  • Feature

    Einstein's genius changed science's perception of gravity

    Albert Einstein opened humankind’s eyes to the universe.

    Before Einstein, space seemed featureless and changeless, as Isaac Newton had defined it two centuries earlier. And time, Newton declared, flowed at its own pace, oblivious to the clocks that measured it. But Einstein looked at space and time and saw a single dynamic stage — spacetime — on which matter and energy strutted,...

    10/04/2015 - 05:30 Astronomy, Physics, History of Science
  • News

    Giant asteroid may have triggered deadly volcano eruptions

    The demise of the dinosaurs may have been the result of a coordinated one-two punch.

    Eruption activity in a volcanic region in present-day India appears to have increased around the time of the asteroid impact that preceded the Cretaceous extinction, scientists report in the Oct. 2 Science. The close timing between the two events leads the scientists to suggest that...

    10/01/2015 - 14:00 Earth, Paleontology