Vol. 191 No. 2
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More Stories from the February 4, 2017 issue

  1. Neuroscience

    Pregnancy linked to long-term changes in mom’s brain

    Pregnancy can sculpt a mother’s brain in a way that may help her tune in to her baby.

  2. Health & Medicine

    New blood tests can detect prions

    Blood tests may detect prion disease in people even before onset of symptoms.

  3. Life

    Force-detecting protein senses when lungs fill with air

    A study in mice pinpoints a force-detecting protein that regulates breathing, previously implicated in touch.

  4. Life

    Ancient enzymes adapted to a cooler Earth to keep life’s chemical reactions going

    Ancient enzymes kept their speed at lower temperatures.

  5. Ecosystems

    Long-ignored, high-flying arthropods could make up largest land migrations

    Forget birds. 3.5 trillion insects, spiders and mites a year fly over the southern United Kingdom.

  6. Chemistry

    Carbon can exceed four-bond limit

    Scientists confirm structure of unusual molecule in which carbon bonds to six other carbon atoms.

  7. Astronomy

    Gotcha: Fast radio burst’s home nabbed

    For the first time, astronomers pinpoint a precise position on the sky for a fast radio burst, revealing that the outburst originated in a galaxy about 2.5 billion light-years away.

  8. Archaeology

    Hunter-gatherers were possibly first to call Tibetan Plateau home

    Hunter-gatherers may have been Asia’s first year-round, high-altitude settlers.

  9. Paleontology

    Tomatillo fossil is oldest nightshade plant

    Two 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossils in Patagonia push the origin of nightshade plants back millions of years, to the time when dinosaurs roamed.

  10. Astronomy

    Some pulsars lose their steady beat

    Two pulsars spend most of their time switched off, hinting at a large population of part-time pulsars hiding in the Milky Way.

  11. Chemistry

    Debate heats up over claims that hot water sometimes freezes faster than cold

    A team of chemists has a new explanation for the Mpemba effect, while other scientists debate if it is even real.

  12. Animals

    Unusually loose skin helps hagfish survive shark attacks

    Hagfish skin that easily slips and slides can be a lifesaver in crises such as shark attacks.

  13. Particle Physics

    Dark matter still missing

    The XENON100 experiment found no evidence of an annually varying dark matter signal.

  14. Astronomy

    Earliest galaxies got the green light

    Galaxies in the early universe might have emitted lots of green light, powered by large populations of stars much hotter than most found today.

  15. Astronomy

    Milky Way’s black hole may hurl galactic spitballs our way

    Gas blobs formed in the wake of stars shredded by the black hole in the center of the galaxy could pass within several hundred light-years of Earth on their way to intergalactic space.

  16. Computing

    Retracted result on network equivalence reinstated

    Graph isomorphism result still stands, despite error.

  17. Animals

    It takes guts for a sea spider to pump blood

    Most sea spiders have hearts, but what really gets their blood flowing are gut contractions.

  18. Life

    Baby starfish on the hunt whip up whirlpools

    Starfish larvae use hairlike cilia to stir up water whorls and suck prey in close.

  19. Health & Medicine

    Ebola vaccine proves effective

    The Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV proved effective at stopping the spread of the virus in a clinical trial in West Africa.

  20. Earth

    Antarctic ice shelf heading toward collapse

    A fast-growing crack in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf could soon break off a 5,000-square-kilometer hunk of ice into the ocean.

  21. Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, methadone made a rosy debut

    Heralded as the “answer to heroin addiction,” methadone is still used to treat opiate addiction, despite risks.

  22. Animals

    These acorn worms have a head for swimming

    The larvae of one type of acorn worm are basically “swimming heads,” according to new genetic analyses.