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  • News

    Fossils suggest another hominid species lived near Lucy

    Here come the neighbors, Lucy. Scientists have discovered 3.5-million- to 3.3-million-year-old fossils possibly from a new species in the human evolutionary family. The species lived in what’s now Ethiopia, near hominids best known for Lucy’s partial skeleton.

    A partial upper jaw and two lower jaws, one recovered in two pieces, belonged to Australopithecus deyiremeda, says a...

    05/27/2015 - 13:00 Human Evolution, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Ebola gatekeeper protein identified

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    Ebola relies on a molecular “inside man” to sneak into cells.

    Mice lacking the virus’s accomplice, a protein called NPC1, are completely protected from Ebola infection, scientists report May 26 in mBio. Designing drugs that target NPC1 could potentially stop Ebola from breaking and...

    05/26/2015 - 10:00 Health
  • News

    Mutations that drive cancer lurk in healthy skin

    By late middle age, about a quarter of skin cells carry cancer-driving mutations caused by exposure to sunlight — and it’s perfectly normal.

    Researchers had previously thought that the types of mutations that fuel tumor growth were rare and happened just before a cell becomes cancerous. But a study of the eyelids of four people who don’t have cancer reveals that such mutations “are...

    05/21/2015 - 14:11 Genetics, Cancer
  • News

    Brain implants let paralyzed man move robotic arm

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    A paralyzed man can now make a robotic arm do some smooth moves. Tiny silicon chips embedded in an action-planning part of his brain let the man control the arm easily and fluidly with his thoughts, scientists report in the May 22 Science.

    “This is groundbreaking...

    05/21/2015 - 14:00 Neuroscience, Robotics, Technology
  • News

    Ancient DNA pushes back timing of the origin of dogs

    Some friendships go way back. New genetic evidence suggests that the relationship between humans and dogs may have been forged as long as 40,000 years ago.

    DNA analysis of an ancient wolf calibrates the split between dogs and wolves to 27,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers had previously calculated that the divergence happened about 11,000 to 16,000 years ago....

    05/21/2015 - 12:03 Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Octopuses can ‘see’ with their skin

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    Octopus skin can detect light and respond to it — no eyes or brain required.

    Tests of fresh skin samples from California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) show this ability clearly for the first time in any cephalopod, says Todd Oakley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. White or blue light prompts the pale skin’s...

    05/20/2015 - 18:00 Animals, Physiology
  • News

    Earliest known stone tools unearthed in Kenya

    Excavations in an arid, hilly part of East Africa have uncovered 3.3-million-year-old stone tools, by far the oldest such implements found to date.

    The tools’ age indicates that members of the human evolutionary family understood how to break stones into usable forms long before the emergence of the Homo genus, say archaeologist Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University in New...

    05/20/2015 - 13:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Gene therapy, Gattaca-style, poses ethical issues

    As scientists explore ways to use genetic engineering to battle blindness, it’s obvious that gene therapy has gotten more sophisticated.

    In traditional gene therapy, scientists “fix” a broken gene by supplying a healthy version to affected cells. Researchers have used this...

    05/20/2015 - 08:50 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Suds versus nanoparticles and more reader feedback

    The bipedal Butcher

     In “Fearsome croc dominated northern Pangaea” (SN: 4/18/15, p. 16), Ashley Yeager...

    05/20/2015 - 08:49 Paleontology, Materials
  • News

    Snagging blood clots upgrades stroke care

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    Taking a cue from cardiology, doctors have begun treating strokes caused by blood clots in the brain by the most direct route imaginable — approaching the blockage from inside the artery.

    The concept is well-tested. Obstructed heart vessels are routinely opened with balloon-tipped catheters threaded up to the blockage. Attempts to clear...

    05/19/2015 - 15:10 Health, Clinical Trials