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  • News

    Scientists spy on the secret inner life of bacteria

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    On the surface, bacteria may appear bland. But there’s more going on inside than meets the eye, new research is revealing.

    For many years, scientists thought that bacteria didn’t have internal structures and were basically “bags of enzymes,” says structural and cell biologist Martin Warren of the University of Kent in England.

    Now, one group of researchers has...

    06/22/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology
  • News

    Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes

    Small worlds come in two flavors. The complete dataset from the original mission of the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope reveals a split in the exoplanet family tree, setting super-Earths apart from mini-Neptunes.

    Kepler's final exoplanet catalog, released in a news conference June 19, now consists of 4,034 exoplanet candidates. Of those, 49  are rocky worlds in their stars'...

    06/19/2017 - 18:39 Exoplanets, Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    New fossils shake up history of amphibians with no legs

    Newly named fossils suggest that a weird and varied chapter in amphibian deep history isn’t totally over.

    Small fossils about 220 million years old found along steep red slopes in Colorado represent a near-relative of modern animals called caecilians, says vertebrate paleontologist Adam Huttenlocker of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    Caecilians today have long...

    06/19/2017 - 15:30 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space

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    For the first time, researchers have watched relatively cool parcels of plasma speed away from the surface of the sun and off into space, all the while cocooned in a million-degree flare.

    Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and colleagues used a specially designed spectrometer to observe the eruption from Svalbard, Norway, during the March 2015...

    06/16/2017 - 14:57 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Ancient attack marks show ocean predators got scarier

    In pumped-up sequels for scary beach movies, each predator is bigger than the last. Turns out that predators in real-world oceans may have upsized over time, too.

    Attack holes in nearly 7,000 fossil shells suggest that drilling predators have outpaced their prey in evolving ever larger bodies and weapons, says paleontologist Adiël Klompmaker of the University of California, Berkeley. The...

    06/15/2017 - 16:12 Paleontology, Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Launch your imagination with Science News stories

    Imagine for a moment that you lived on another planet. Not Tatooine, Trantor or another fictional orb, but a real-deal planet circling a star somewhere in our real-deal galaxy. What would your world look like? Would there be a rocky surface? An atmosphere? How long would a day last? How about a year? What special physiology might you need to survive there? There’s no single scenario, of course...

    06/14/2017 - 10:57 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question climate’s freshwater effects

    Water woes

    A recent survey of lakes around the globe found that from 1985 to 2009, most warmed while only several cooled, Alexandra Witze reported in “In hot water” (SN: 5/13/17, p. 18). Rising temperatures have consequences for every part of a lake’s food web, from algae to walleye to freshwater seals.

    “This article indicates that no pattern could be found to predict which lakes would...

    06/14/2017 - 10:47 Climate, Genetics
  • Context

    Top 10 discoveries about waves

    Physics fans are a lot like surfers. Both think waves are really fun.

    For surfers, it’s all about having a good time. For physicists, it’s about understanding some of nature’s most important physical phenomena. Yet another detection of gravitational waves, announced June 1, further reinvigorates the world’s science fans’ excitement over waves.

    Waves have naturally always been a...

    06/14/2017 - 09:00 History of Science
  • News

    Ancient DNA shakes up the elephant family tree

    Fossil DNA may be rewriting the history of elephant evolution.

    The first genetic analysis of DNA from fossils of straight-tusked elephants reveals that the extinct animals most closely resembled modern African forest elephants. This suggests that straight-tusked elephants were part of the African, not Asian, elephant lineage, scientists report online June 6 in eLife.

    Straight-...

    06/13/2017 - 15:08 Evolution, Genetics, Animals
  • Teaser

    Ladybugs fold their wings like origami masters

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    Those who struggle to fit a vacation wardrobe into a carry-on might learn from ladybugs. The flying beetles neatly fold up their wings when they land, stashing the delicate appendages underneath their protective red and black forewings.

    To learn how one species of ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) achieves such efficient packing, scientists needed to see under the...

    06/13/2017 - 11:30 Biophysics, Animals