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  • News

    Skeletons could provide clues to who wrote or protected the Dead Sea Scrolls

    BOSTON — A decades-long debate over who once occupied a settlement located near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found has taken a chaste turn.

    Analyses of 33 newly excavated skeletons of people buried at the West Bank site, Qumran, supports a view that the community consisted of a religious sect of celibate men. Anthropologist Yossi Nagar of the Israel Antiquities Authority in...

    11/17/2017 - 14:05 Archaeology
  • News

    Crocs take a bite out of claims of ancient stone-tool use

    Recent reports of African and North American animal fossils bearing stone-tool marks from being butchered a remarkably long time ago may be a crock. Make that a croc.

    Crocodile bites damage animal bones in virtually the same ways that stone tools do, say paleoanthropologist Yonatan Sahle of the University of Tübingen in Germany and his colleagues. Animal bones allegedly cut up for meat...

    11/06/2017 - 15:16 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Photons are caught behaving like superconducting electrons

    Light is a fan of the buddy system. Photons, or particles of light, have been spotted swapping energy with partners. This chummy behavior resembles how electrons pair up in materials that conduct current without resistance, known as superconductors, researchers report in a paper accepted in Physical Review Letters.

    Although the photons exchange energy like electrons do, it’s unknown...

    10/30/2017 - 15:21 Condensed Matter, Quantum Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Here’s the real story on jellyfish taking over the world

    SpinelessJuli BerwaldRiverhead Books, $27

    Jellyfish have gotten a bad rap. In recent years, concerns about rising jellyfish populations in some parts of the world have mushroomed into headlines like “Meet your new jellyfish overlords.” These floating menaces are taking over the world’s oceans thanks to climate change and ocean acidification, the thinking goes, and soon waters...

    10/30/2017 - 12:18 Animals, Ecology, Oceans
  • Scicurious

    Whether psychology research is improving depends on whom you ask

    For more than a decade, psychology has been contending with some of its research findings going up in smoke. Widely publicized attempts to replicate major findings have shown that study results that scientists and the public took for granted might be no more than a statistical fluke. We should, for example, be primed for skepticism when studying priming. Power posing may be powerless.

    A...

    10/29/2017 - 08:00 Psychology
  • News

    T. rex’s silly-looking arms were built for slashing

    SEATTLE — Tyrannosaurus rex may have had small arms, but it was no pushover.

    This fierce dinosaur is known for its giant head, powerful jaws and overall fearsome appearance — except for those comical-looking arms. But the roughly meter-long limbs weren’t just vestigial reminders of a longer-armed past, paleontologist Steven Stanley of the University of Hawaii at Manoa said October 23 at...

    10/25/2017 - 15:30 Paleontology, Animals
  • Reviews & Previews

    Resurrecting extinct species raises ethical questions

    Rise of the NecrofaunaBritt WrayGreystone Books, $26.95

    A theme park populated with re-created dinosaurs is fiction. But if a handful of dedicated scientists have their way, a park with woolly mammoths, passenger pigeons and other “de-extincted” animals could become reality.

    In Rise of the Necrofauna, writer and radio broadcaster Britt Wray presents a comprehensive look...

    10/20/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Animals, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    New physics books don’t censor the math behind reality

    Many books about science are meant to be pleasure reading. Such books attempt to convey the wonder and fascination and excitement of science, and ideally some of the substance as well. After all, good popular science writing is not only engaging and entertaining, but also informative. But even very informative popular books are not designed to be fully educational about the science in...

    10/16/2017 - 15:00 Physics, Numbers
  • News

    Oddball dwarf planet Haumea has a ring

    Haumea can do the hula-hoop. The egg-shaped dwarf planet is the first object beyond Neptune to be spotted sporting a ring of particles.

    “It now appears that rings can be common in the outer solar system,” says Jose-Luis Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Granada, Spain.

    On January 21, Ortiz and colleagues used 12 telescopes at 10 observatories to peer into the...

    10/11/2017 - 13:00 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Economics Nobel nudges behavioral economist into the limelight

    A founding father of behavioral economics — a research school that has popularized the practice of “nudging” people into making decisions that authorities deem to be in their best interests — has won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

    Richard Thaler, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, received the award October 9 for being the leader of a discipline...

    10/09/2017 - 17:45 Science & Society, Psychology