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  • News

    Female guppies with bigger brains pick more attractive guys

    When choosing more attractive guys, girl guppies with larger brains have an advantage over their smaller-brained counterparts. But there’s a cost to such brainpower, and that might help explain one of the persistent mysteries of sex appeal, researchers report March 22 in Science Advances.

    One sex often shows a strong preference for some trait in the other, whether it’s a longer fish fin...

    03/22/2017 - 15:54 Animals, Evolution, Neuroscience
  • News

    Anatomy analysis suggests new dinosaur family tree

    The standard dinosaur family tree may soon be just a relic.

    After examining more than 400 anatomical traits, scientists have proposed a radical reshuffling of the major dinosaur groups. The rewrite, reported in the March 23 Nature, upsets century-old ideas about dinosaur evolution. It lends support to the accepted idea that the earliest dinosaurs were smallish, two-legged creatures. But...

    03/22/2017 - 14:06 Paleontology, Evolution, Animals
  • News

    Brain training turns recall rookies into memory masters

    Just six weeks of training can turn average people into memory masters.

    Boosting these prodigious mnemonic skills came with overhauls in brain activity, resulting in brains that behaved more like those of experts who win World Memory Championships competitions, scientists report March 8 in Neuron.

    The findings are notable because they show just how remarkably adaptable the human...

    03/08/2017 - 12:00 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Nudging people to make good choices can backfire

    Nudges are a growth industry. Inspired by a popular line of psychological research and introduced in a best-selling book a decade ago, these inexpensive behavior changers are currently on a roll.

    Policy makers throughout the world, guided by behavioral scientists, are devising ways to steer people toward decisions deemed to be in their best interests. These simple interventions don’t...

    03/08/2017 - 08:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Science’s questions rarely have clear, easy answers

    There are few simple answers in science. Even seemingly straightforward questions, when probed by people in search of proof, lead to more questions. Those questions lead to nuances, layers of complexity and, more often than we might expect, conclusions that contradict initial intuition.

    In the 1990s, researchers asking “How do we fight oxygen-hungry cancer cells?” offered an obvious...

    02/22/2017 - 12:47 Science & Society
  • Feature

    Instead of starving a cancer, researchers go after its defenses

    Like many living things, a cancer cell cannot survive without oxygen. When young and tiny, a malignancy nestles inside a bed of blood vessels that keep it fed. As the mass grows, however, its demand for oxygen outpaces supply. Pockets within the tumor become deprived and send emergency signals for new vessel growth, a process called angiogenesis. In the 1990s, a popular cancer-...

    02/22/2017 - 12:32 Cancer, Cells, Biomedicine
  • News

    Low-status chimps revealed as trendsetters

    Chimps with little social status influence their comrades’ behavior to a surprising extent, a new study suggests.

    In groups of captive chimps, a method for snagging food from a box spread among many individuals who saw a low-ranking female peer demonstrate the technique, say primatologist Stuart Watson of the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, and colleagues. But in other...

    02/21/2017 - 11:00 Anthropology, Animals
  • News

    Helium’s inertness defied by high-pressure compound

    Helium — the recluse of the periodic table — is reluctant to react with other elements. But squeeze the element hard enough, and it will form a chemical compound with sodium, scientists report.

    Helium, a noble gas, is one of the periodic table’s least reactive elements. Originally, the noble gases were believed incapable of forming any chemical compounds at all. But after scientists...

    02/17/2017 - 09:00 Chemistry
  • News

    Malaria molecule makes blood extra-alluring to mosquitoes

    Malaria parasites seduce mosquitoes on the sly.

    Plasmodium falciparum parasites produce a molecule that makes parasite-infected blood more attractive to malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, researchers report online February 9 in Science. The insects slurp up this enticing meal, helping the parasite spread to new hosts.

    “It’s a really intriguing glimpse into how Plasmodium might have...

    02/09/2017 - 14:00 Immune Science
  • News

    Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal

    Abnormal is the new normal in mental health.

    A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.

    Only 171 of 988 participants, or 17 percent, experienced no anxiety disorders, depression or other mental ailments from late...

    02/07/2017 - 12:58 Psychology, Mental Health