Reviews & Previews
Starting in the late 1970s, Mozambique spent more than a decade embroiled in a brutal civil war that left millions dead or displaced. The effects of the human conflict echoed through the natural world. Soldiers encamped in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, an area rich in flora and fauna, hunted elephants, zebras, Cape buffalo and other animals for food. Populations of the big mammals...
04/20/2014 - 12:00
Letters to the Editor
Options for treating addictionAddiction is often seen as a chronic disease, but some long-term studies suggest it can be viewed as a temporary coping problem instead. Bruce Bower presented this alternative view in “The addiction paradox” (SN: 3/22/14, p. 16). “A nice job by Bruce Bower, as usual...
04/19/2014 - 14:00
Climate, Health, Animals
To a visitor walking down, down, down the white cinder block stairwell and through metal doors into the basement, Building 010A takes on the hushed, mile-long-beige-corridor feel of some secret government installation in a blockbuster movie.It’s not open to sightseers, but it’s far from secret. No jut-jawed military escort leads the way; biologist Shannon Dominick wears a striped sweater as she...
04/18/2014 - 13:55
Reviews & Previews
The Future Is Here Festival May 16–18Cosmologist Brian Greene and actor Patrick Stewart are among the headliners at this event, themed “science meets science fiction.”Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C.World Science FestivalMay 28–June 1...
04/17/2014 - 18:23
Technology, Science & Society, Animals
Note: The following scene is fiction (probably). Stay tuned for the real story below.Two chimps, a mother and daughter, are touring a mattress store. They’re looking for beds to sleep in for the night. Actually, they’re looking for materials to make their beds — or nests, as they’re properly called. This is something chimps do every night for their entire lives after they’re weaned. ...
04/17/2014 - 16:49
The newly identified Eocasea martini didn’t inspire the adult beverage that shares its name, but the small barrel-bodied creature may have set the stage for later, much larger animals to become plant-eaters.A roughly 300 million-year-old fossil of E. martini found in Kansas suggests that the early proto-mammal munched on meat. But species similar in body structure that came...
04/17/2014 - 15:06
The most dramatic genital-shape reversal known — females with long, insertable organs and males with corresponding pouches — has turned up in bark lice living in Brazilian caves.A female in each of the four Neotrogla species extends a skinny structure up to 15 percent the length of her body into a genital pocket in the male’s body, reports entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Hokkaido...
04/17/2014 - 13:17
News in Brief
Fruit fly larvae’s alluring and socially important odor turns out not to come from the flies at all, but from their gut microbes.Scent is a big deal to Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Both adults and larvae tend to shun untouched food in favor of clustering where larvae have already fed, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada,...
04/16/2014 - 18:00
Around 7,000 years ago, a bacterium that lives on humans and causes acne leaped to a very different host: domesticated grapevines. Since then, an essential DNA-repair gene in the microbe, Propionibacterium acnes, has mutated and no longer functions. Without the gene, the microbe is unable to function on its own and appears to rely on the grapevine for these DNA repairs. This is...
04/16/2014 - 15:30
Microbes, Genetics, Animals
Bony fishes, not modern sharks, may provide a better understanding of the earliest jawed animals and the evolution of the jaw itself.Fossils of a 325-million-year-old sharklike creature show that the newly named Ozarcus mapesae had a gill structure more similar to bony fishes, such as sunfish, than to modern sharks, rays and other non-...
04/16/2014 - 13:45