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E.g., 11/26/2015
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  • 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
  • News

    Small number of genes trigger embryo development

    In the first days after an egg is fertilized, throwing a few key genetic switches revs up human embryo development, two new studies suggest.

    That ignition pattern differs from the one that fires up early mouse embryos, the research finds.

    One study, to be published online September 11 in Nature Communications, found that a much smaller number of genes than previously...

    09/08/2015 - 17:00 Development, Genetics
  • News

    Volcanic activity convicted in Permian extinction

    The biggest catastrophe in the history of life on Earth resulted from one of the most titanic volcanic outpourings on record, new research concludes.

    At the close of the Permian period around 252 million years ago, more than 90 percent of all marine species and roughly 75 percent of all land species vanished. New high-precision analysis of ancient lavas determines this extinction...

    08/28/2015 - 14:00 Earth, Paleontology
  • News

    Twin pandas look forward to growth spurts

    Update: On August 26, the National Zoo reported that the smaller of the twin panda cubs born to Mei Xiang had died. Zookeepers, who had been caring for the giant panda cub by hand for two days, had been concerned about its fluctuating weight and noted that the days just after birth are a high-risk period....

    08/26/2015 - 12:43 Animals
  • News

    Sudden heat spikes did in Ice Age’s mammoth mammals

    Rapid climate change put mega-sized Ice Age mammals on the ropes before ancient humans delivered the final blow, new research indicates.

    During Earth’s last glacial period, around 12,000 to 110,000 years ago, woolly mammoths, sedan-sized armadillos and other massive mammals walked the land. Over time, these megafauna mostly died out. The instigator of these extinctions has become a topic...

    07/23/2015 - 14:27 Paleontology, Climate
  • News

    Museum fossil links snakes to lizards

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    The worldwide hunt for a fossil link between snakes and lizards has succeeded — in a museum.

    The fossil, of a four-legged snake, hints that the ancestors of modern-day snakes may have evolved on land rather than at sea, researchers report in the July 24 Science. It’s the first four-legged snake fossil ever discovered, bridging the...

    07/23/2015 - 14:00 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Putting time's mysteries in order

    A tick, a tock, a swiftly shifting digit. We have many ways of keeping track of time. We parse it into years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds. We mark its movement obsessively, plan our days around it, use its form to bring meaning to stories with a...

    07/15/2015 - 11:05 Neuroscience, Cosmology, Physiology