February 4, 2017 | Science News

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February 4, 2017View Digital Issue

Editor's Note

Editor in chief Eva Emerson discusses major changes for life on Earth and at Science News.
By Eva Emerson | January 1, 2017
Magazine issue: Vol. 191 No. 2 , February 4, 2017 , p. 2

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SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

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Editor's Note

Editor in chief Eva Emerson discusses major changes for life on Earth and at Science News.

Features

mammal survivors
The animals that lived through the great extinction event had a range of survival strategies to get them through.
ancient bird
Dino doomsday took out early birds too, but a lucky few survived.
illustration of dinosaur doomsday
Dinosaurs and others faced massive losses 66 million years ago from an asteroid impact, volcanic eruptions or maybe a mix of the two.

News

woman putting ebola vaccine into canister
The Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV proved effective at stopping the spread of the virus in a clinical trial in West Africa.
sea spider
Most sea spiders have hearts, but what really gets their blood flowing are gut contractions.
man in pain
A pain-sensing protein also regulates activity of pain-relieving opioids.
hagfish
Hagfish skin that easily slips and slides can be a lifesaver in crises such as shark attacks.
ice cubes
A team of chemists has a new explanation for the Mpemba effect, while other scientists debate if it is even real.
Tibetan Plateau
Hunter-gatherers may have been Asia’s first year-round, high-altitude settlers.
Very Large Array
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.
prion blood test
Blood tests may detect prion disease in people even before onset of symptoms.
ladybug
Forget birds. 3.5 trillion insects, spiders and mites a year fly over the southern United Kingdom.
adenylate kinase enzyme bond
Ancient enzymes kept their speed at lower temperatures.
hexamethylbenzene
Scientists confirm structure of unusual molecule in which carbon bonds to six other carbon atoms.
pregnancy brain
Pregnancy can sculpt a mother’s brain in a way that may help her tune in to her baby.
two graphs
Graph isomorphism result still stands, despite error.
illustration of Jupiter-sized gas blobs
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.
XENON100
The XENON100 experiment found no evidence of an annually varying dark matter signal.
NGC 6826
Galaxies in the early universe might have emitted lots of green light, powered by large populations of stars much hotter than most found today.
crack in Larsen C ice shelf
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.
Arecibo Observatory
Two pulsars spend most of their time switched off, hinting at a large population of part-time pulsars hiding in the Milky Way.
starfish larva
Starfish larvae use hairlike cilia to stir up water whorls and suck prey in close.
mouse lung nerve endings
A study in mice pinpoints a force-detecting protein that regulates breathing, previously implicated in touch.

Notebook

tomatillo fossil
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.
acorn worm larvae
The larvae of one type of acorn worm are basically “swimming heads,” according to new genetic analyses.
Protoceratops andrewsi
Growth lines on teeth indicate a surprisingly long incubation period.
methadone
Heralded as the “answer to heroin addiction,” methadone is still used to treat opiate addiction, despite risks.
pile of junk
The human-made technosphere weighs 30 trillion tons and surpasses the natural biosphere in mass and diversity, researchers estimate.

Reviews & Previews

Honduran valley
"The Lost City of the Monkey God" recounts archaeological expedition to uncover truth behind Honduras’ “White City" myth.

Letters to the Editor

Animal math, dinosaur digestion and more in reader feedback from our December 10, 2017, issue.

Science Visualized

dino heads
Bony headwear, like bumps and horns, is tied to bigger bodies in the theropod dinosaur family tree.