Vol. 200 No. 4

Reviews & Previews

Science Visualized

Notebook

Features

More Stories from the August 28, 2021 issue

  1. A 17th century painting of an alchemist
    Science & Society

    ‘On the Fringe’ explores the thin line between science and pseudoscience

    In his latest book, historian Michael Gordin surveys astrology, eugenics and other fringe movements to show how challenging it is to define pseudoscience.

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  2. skeleton of an ancient shark attack victim at an excavation site
    Anthropology

    A skeleton from Peru vies for the title of oldest known shark attack victim

    The 6,000-year-old remains of a teen with a missing leg and tell-tale bite marks came to light after news of a 3,000-year-old victim in Japan surfaced.

    By
  3. hairlike cilia (shown in purple) shown at full length and cut short by coronavirus (shown in yellow)
    Health & Medicine

    The coronavirus cuts cells’ hairlike cilia, which may help it invade the lungs

    Images show that the coronavirus clears the respiratory tract of hairlike structures called cilia, which keep foreign objects out of the lungs.

    By
  4. image of the mesh skeleton on a modern bath sponge
    Life

    If confirmed, tubes in 890-million-year-old rock may be the oldest animal fossils

    Newly described wormlike fossils may be ancient sea sponges. If confirmed, the fossils would reveal a remarkably early start to animal life.

    By
  5. illustration of flamingo-like flying dinosaurs, with two in the foreground and several in the background
    Paleontology

    Pterosaurs may have been able to fly as soon as they hatched

    A fossil analysis shows the flying reptile hatchlings had a stronger bone crucial for lift-off that adults and shorter, broader wings for agility.

    By
  6. a photo of Charon behind Pluto
    Planetary Science

    50 years ago, astronomers were chipping away at Pluto’s mass

    Prior to the discovery of Pluto’s moon Charon, astronomers struggled to pin down the dwarf planet’s mass.

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  7. Moon
    Space

    A lunar magnetic field may have lasted for only a short time

    New analyses of Apollo-era lunar rocks suggest that any magnetosphere that the moon ever had endured for no more than 500 million years.

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  8. satellite image of Santorini
    Earth

    Greece’s Santorini volcano erupts more often when sea level drops

    During past periods of lower sea levels, when more of Earth’s water was locked up in glaciers during ice ages, the Santorini volcano erupted more.

    By
  9. illustration of Chicxulub asteroid impact
    Earth

    Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have made Earth’s largest ripple marks

    A tsunami created by the Chicxulub impact could have formed giant ripples found in rock under Louisiana, a new study finds.

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  10. illustration of a massive star collapsing and emitting gamma rays
    Astronomy

    A super-short gamma-ray burst defies astronomers’ expectations

    A faraway eruption of gamma rays that lasted for only a second had a surprising origin: the implosion of a massive star.

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  11. a pika peeking out of a burrow in the ground
    Life

    Pikas survive winter using a slower metabolism and, at times, yak poop

    Pikas endure bone-chilling temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau by reducing their metabolism, and when possible, eating yak poop.

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  12. picture of a green caterpillar-like creature walking across a leaf
    Animals

    Viruses can kill wasp larvae that grow inside infected caterpillars

    Proteins found in viruses and some moths can protect caterpillars from parasitoid wasps seeking a living nursery for their eggs.

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  13. simulation of a black hole's magnetic field
    Physics

    Black holes born with magnetic fields quickly shed them

    New computer simulations show one way that black holes might discard their magnetic fields.

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  14. a fox squirrel in a tree
    Animals

    Squirrels use parkour tricks when leaping from branch to branch

    Squirrels navigate through trees by making rapid calculations to balance trade-offs between branch flexibility and the distance between tree limbs.

    By