April 4, 2015 | Science News

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April 4, 2015

Editor's Note

Classification systems are essential to science. But any classification system, however useful, is ultimately simplistic.
By Eva Emerson | March 25, 2015
Magazine issue: Vol. 187, No. 7 , April 4, 2015 , p. 2

Features

A stone tool

Feature

Existing stone tool categories may hide more than they reveal. New methods for analyzing stone artifacts aim to better reconstruct how hominids interacted and moved across Africa, Asia and Europe.
OTS 44

Feature

Rogue planets may form as stars do, but on a smaller scale, or they may go forced out of orbit during planetary ping-pong. Researchers are scanning the skies for them.

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Editor's Note

Classification systems are essential to science. But any classification system, however useful, is ultimately simplistic.

Features

OTS 44
Rogue planets may form as stars do, but on a smaller scale, or they may go forced out of orbit during planetary ping-pong. Researchers are scanning the skies for them.
A stone tool
Existing stone tool categories may hide more than they reveal. New methods for analyzing stone artifacts aim to better reconstruct how hominids interacted and moved across Africa, Asia and Europe.

News

Newly discovered brain cells help monkeys predict whether a companion will cooperate.
Alaska site
Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase the amount of thermal radiation striking Earth’s surface.
potato bug
When beetles munch plants bearing their RNA, genes the bugs need to survive are turned off.
sponge fossil
An exquisitely preserved 600-million-year-old fossil from China has cell types and a shape resembling sponges, thought to be among the first multicellular animals to evolve.
Ganymede
New observations confirm the presence of a liquid saltwater ocean beneath the surface of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.
ice cream bar
Additives called emulsifiers that are used in ice cream and other foods weaken the intestines’ defenses against bacteria, causing inflammation in mice.
diagram of the locations of new galaxies
A bevy of newly discovered satellite galaxies around the Milky Way could help astronomers study how galaxies form and the nature of dark matter.
A receipt and plastic bottles
Mounting evidence suggests that BPS, a common chemical in plastics, may cause the same health effects as BPA.
fruit fly heartbeat graph
Limiting eating times improves heart function in fruit flies.
A hydrogen-sulfur compound under pressure may transport electrical current with no resistance at a record high temperature.
Even if photons pass you by, you can still snatch a signal from their electromagnetic wake, physicists propose.
group of killer whales
Taking the lead on salmon hunts may be postmenopausal killer whales’ way of sharing their ecological knowledge.
partial jaw fossil
A 2.8-million-year-old fossil from Ethiopia raises questions about the origins and evolution of the human genus, Homo.
Pangaea supercontinent
The shrinking of the Tethys Ocean may have broken up the Pangaea supercontinent.
illustration of Dawn spacecraft approaching Ceres
The Dawn spacecraft arrives at Ceres to begin a 14-month investigation of the dwarf planet.

Notebook

black hole
A black hole weighing the same as 12 billion suns is the most massive one known in the early universe.
hummingbird
Not just a subspecies: A flashy, squeaky hummingbird should become its own species, ornithologists argue.
We don’t know the playful side of crocodiles perhaps only because we haven’t looked.
raindrops
The champagne-like fizz produced when a raindrop hits the ground may be responsible for the earthy aroma after a rainstorm.
pacemaker
In 1965, researchers saw a nuclear-powered heart in the future.

Reviews & Previews

wolves
Neandertals went extinct when Homo sapiens transformed wolves into hunting aids, author proposes.
rust on green metal
‘Rust’ recounts humanity’s unending battle against corrosion, which each year costs the United States an estimated $437 billion — more than all natural disasters combined.
exhibit at the University of Padua
Busts on display in an Italian exhibit flesh out hominid skulls using the latest in 3-D reconstruction.

Letters to the Editor

Readers discuss the best ways to replicate findings in scientific studies, help teenagers with autism transition to adulthood, and more.

Science Visualized

Parathrapus boisei
3-D designer reconstructs portraits of ancestors for the human family album.