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E.g., 08/31/2015
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  • News

    Volcanic activity convicted in Permian extinction

    The biggest catastrophe in the history of life on Earth resulted from one of the most titanic volcanic outpourings on record, new research concludes.

    At the close of the Permian period around 252 million years ago, more than 90 percent of all marine species and roughly 75 percent of all land species vanished. New high-precision analysis of ancient lavas determines this extinction...

    08/28/2015 - 14:00 Earth, Paleontology
  • Wild Things

    Coral competitor becomes ally in fight against starfish

    Coral and algae don’t get along. On reefs, algae compete with coral, reducing coral growth and survival. Scientists suspect that the algae may also promote harmful bacteria or coral-eating species, causing further coral damage.

    But coral have an even bigger worry: the crown-of-thorns starfish. These are large (up to about a third...

    08/28/2015 - 13:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Science Ticker

    Tropical songbirds get their growth spurt late

    Scientists have long puzzled over why tropical songbirds lay fewer eggs than their temperate-zone counterparts. A new study suggests that it may have to do with how baby birds grow.

    Thomas Martin of the University of Montana in Missoula compared nestling development in 72 songbird species from Arizona, Venezuela and Malaysia. While the Arizona birds grew quickly in the early days after...

    08/27/2015 - 14:00 Animals
  • News

    Decoy switches frogs’ mating call preference

    A trick that salesmen use to sell expensive cars may help average frogs snag mates.    

    Female túngara frogs often switch which of two mating calls they prefer upon hearing a third, unattractive mating call, researchers report in the Aug. 28 Science. This action resembles a human behavior known as the “...

    08/27/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    DNA architecture, novel forensics offer new clues

    It’s one thing to catalog each chemical unit of DNA that makes up the human genome. It’s another thing entirely to understand how that genetic material is folded up inside a living cell — and then decoded, manipulated and used.

    Achieving that...

    08/26/2015 - 15:35 Genetics, Chemistry, Microbes
  • Letters to the Editor

    Moon bounces, bad spider leaders and more reader feedback

    Untangling the faith debate

    In “A biologist takes aim at religion” (SN: 7/11/15, p. 27), Bruce Bower reviewed...

    08/26/2015 - 15:35 Human Evolution, Animals, Physics
  • News

    Twin pandas look forward to growth spurts

    Update: On August 26, the National Zoo reported that the smaller of the twin panda cubs born to Mei Xiang had died. Zookeepers, who had been caring for the giant panda cub by hand for two days, had been concerned about its fluctuating weight and noted that the days just after birth are a high-risk period....

    08/26/2015 - 12:43 Animals
  • Wild Things

    A world of mammal diversity has been lost because of humans

    On the Serengeti, vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and other herbivores migrate across long distances, trying to avoid being eaten along the way by lions or other species with big teeth and claws. This small section of Africa is one of the last places on Earth to see such a diversity of large mammals, but that isn’t because the region...

    08/26/2015 - 09:55 Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Virus closely related to hepatitis A discovered in seals

    Seals harbor the closest known relative of the hepatitis A virus.

    Researchers discovered the virus, known as phopivirus, lurking in the organs of harbor seals and a harp seal that died of other causes along the New England coast. Phopivirus is closely related to hepatitis A, which in humans can cause nausea, fever, and jaundice. Like hepatitis A, the new virus appears to primarily infect...

    08/25/2015 - 10:17 Health, Evolution, Animals
  • Science Visualized

    Long-tongued fly sips from afar

    The “tongues” of South Africa’s long-tongued flies are certainly long, but they’re not flexible. So a fly has to hover at a distance to sip from a flower’s shallow nectar cup, as seen in the above photograph, which was honored in the 2015 BMC Ecology Image Competition....

    08/25/2015 - 07:00 Animals, Plants, Evolution