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E.g., 02/19/2018
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  • News in Brief

    This stick-on patch could keep tabs on stroke patients at home

    AUSTIN, Texas — Stretchy sensors that stick to the throat could track the long-term recovery of stroke survivors.

    These new Band-Aid‒shaped devices contain motion sensors that detect muscle movement and vocal cord vibrations. That sensor data could help doctors diagnose and monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments for post-stroke conditions like difficulty swallowing or talking,...

    02/17/2018 - 16:00 Technology, Health, Biophysics
  • News

    Ants practice combat triage and nurse their injured

    No wounded left behind — not quite. Ants that have evolved battlefield medevac carry only the moderately wounded home to the nest. There, those lucky injured fighters get fast and effective wound care.

    Insect colonies seething with workers may seem unlikely to stage elaborate rescues of individual fighters. Yet for Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) in sub-Saharan Africa — with a mere 1,...

    02/16/2018 - 14:14 Animals, Evolution, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Strong winds send migrating seal pups on lengthier trips

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Native American fishermen in Alaska have long said that seal pups go with the wind rather than struggle against it. Now, a new study confirms that wisdom. Migrating northern fur seal pups travel hundreds of kilometers farther in blustery years than in milder years, researchers reported February 14 at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences meeting. Those epic journeys...

    02/15/2018 - 16:32 Animals, Earth, Climate
  • News

    Fossil footprints may put lizards on two feet 110 million years ago

    Fossilized footprints from an iguana-like reptile provide what could be the earliest evidence of a lizard running on two legs.

    The 29 exceptionally well-preserved lizard tracks, found in a slab of rock from an abandoned quarry in Hadong County, South Korea, include back feet with curved digits and front feet with a slightly longer third digit. The back footprints outnumber the front ones...

    02/15/2018 - 13:19 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    In Borneo, hunting emerges as a key threat to endangered orangutans

    Orangutan numbers on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo plummeted from 1999 to 2015, more as a result of human hunting than habitat loss, an international research team finds.

    Over those 16 years, Borneo’s orangutan population declined by about 148,500 individuals. A majority of those losses occurred in the intact or selectively logged forests where most orangutans live, primatologist...

    02/15/2018 - 12:00 Anthropology, Animals, Conservation
  • News

    Look to penguins to track Antarctic changes

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Penguins preserve records of Antarctic environmental change. The birds’ feathers and eggshells contain the chemical fingerprints of variations in diet, food web structure and even climate, researchers reported February 12 at the American Geophysical Union’s 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting.

    The Antarctic environment has changed dramatically in recent decades. Overfishing has...

    02/14/2018 - 17:16 Climate, Animals
  • News

    Study debunks fishy tale of how rabbits were first tamed

    Domesticated bunnies may need a new origin story.

    Researchers thought they knew when rabbits were tamed. An often-cited tale holds that monks in Southern France domesticated rabbits after Pope Gregory issued a proclamation in A.D. 600 that fetal rabbits, called laurices, are fish and therefore can be eaten during Lent.

    There’s just one problem: The story isn’t true. Not only does...

    02/14/2018 - 13:30 Genetics, Animals, Archaeology
  • Science Ticker

    Shipping noise can disturb porpoises and disrupt their mealtime

    Harbor porpoises are frequently exposed to sounds from shipping vessels that register at around 100 decibels, about as loud as a lawnmower, scientists report February 14 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Sounds this loud can cause porpoises to stop echolocation, which they use to catch food.

    While high-frequency submarine sonar has been found to harm whales (SN: 4/23/11, p. 16), low...

    02/13/2018 - 19:05 Conservation, Animals, Pollution
  • News

    Genes could record forensic clues to time of death

    Dying, it turns out, is not like flipping a switch. Genes keep working for a while after a person dies, and scientists have used that activity in the lab to pinpoint time of death to within about nine minutes.

    During the first 24 hours after death, genetic changes kick in across various human tissues, creating patterns of activity that can be used to roughly predict when someone died,...

    02/13/2018 - 17:12 Epigenetics, Microbes, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Even after bedbugs are eradicated, their waste lingers

    Bedbugs leave a lasting legacy.

    Their poop contains a chemical called histamine, part of the suite of pheromones that the insects excrete to attract others of their kind. Human exposure to histamine can trigger allergy symptoms like itchiness and asthma. (Our bodies also naturally release histamine when confronted with an allergen.) Histamine stays behind long after the bedbugs disappear...

    02/12/2018 - 18:30 Animals, Health