Vol. 197 No. 3
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More Stories from the February 15, 2020 issue

  1. Earth

    Volcanic gas bursts probably didn’t kill off the dinosaurs

    A new timeline for massive bursts of volcanic gases suggests the Deccan Traps eruptions weren’t the real dinosaur killer 66 million years ago.

  2. Life

    ‘PigeonBot’ is the first robot that can bend its wings like a real bird

    Insights into the joint movements and feather surface structures that help birds control their wing shape could help robotic flyers move more deftly.

  3. Environment

    50 years ago, protests and promises launched the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

    50 years ago, the upcoming Trans-Alaska Pipeline prompted an economic boom amid outrage from environmental and Native American groups.

  4. Life

    How pandas use their heads as a kind of extra limb for climbing

    Short legs on a stout bear body means pandas use a rare technique to climb up a tree.

  5. Earth

    A 2.2-billion-year-old crater is Earth’s oldest recorded meteorite impact

    The newly dated Yarrabubba crater in Western Australia extends Earth’s impact record by more than 200 million years.

  6. Planetary Science

    For the first time, an asteroid has been found nearer to the sun than Venus

    A space rock dubbed 2020 AV2, found in close orbit around the sun, probably got there after a series of close encounters with rocky planets.

  7. Anthropology

    Neandertals dove and harvested clamshells for tools near Italy’s shores

    The discovery of sharpened shells broadens the reputation of Stone Age human relatives: Neandertals weren’t just one-trick mammoth hunters.

  8. Health & Medicine

    A new drug lowers levels of a protein related to ‘bad’ cholesterol

    The next clinical trial will determine if a drug targeting a protein that carries fat and cholesterol reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

  9. Microbes

    Microbes slowed by one drug can rapidly develop resistance to another

    Hunkering down in a dormant, tolerant state may make it easier for infectious bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics.

  10. Genetics

    Ancient kids’ DNA reveals new insights into how Africa was populated

    Four long-dead youngsters from west-central Africa have opened a window on humankind’s far-flung African origins.

  11. Life

    The ‘Blob,’ a massive marine heat wave, led to an unprecedented seabird die-off

    Scientists have linked thousands of dead common murres in 2015–2016 to food web changes caused by a long-lasting marine heat wave nicknamed the Blob.

  12. Space

    Phosphorus, a key ingredient of life, has been found in a newborn star system

    Astrochemists map phosphorus-bearing molecules in a star-forming cloud, giving clues to how this vital element may have arrived on Earth.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Exploding cancer cells can cause serious side effects in CAR-T cell therapies

    Blocking a protein caused cancer cells targeted with CAR-T cell immunotherapy to shrink rather than burst, which may help reduce inflammation.

  14. Archaeology

    A 3-D printed vocal tract lets an ancient mummy speak from beyond the grave

    A re-created version of a mummy’s vocal tract reveals what this ancient Egyptian might have sounded like.

  15. Space

    A second planet may orbit Proxima Centauri

    The star closest to the sun may harbor another planet, this one much more massive and colder than Earth.

  16. Space

    This ancient stardust is the oldest ever to be examined in a lab

    Tiny grains of stardust that formed long before our solar system are giving new insight into star formation in the Milky Way.

  17. Physics

    The fastest-spinning object ever made could help spot quantum friction in a vacuum

    Scientists have developed a torque sensor made with a nanoparticle that can spin more than 300 billion times a minute.

  18. Health & Medicine

    Hairy cells in the nose called brush cells may be involved in causing allergies

    Some hairy cells in the nose may trigger sneezing and allergies to dust mites, mold and other substances, new work with mice suggests.

  19. Life

    Sparkly exoskeletons may help camouflage beetles from predators

    Iridescence, normally thought to help insects stand out, can also camouflage beetles from predators, according to new experimental evidence.