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Vol. 199 No. 1

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More Stories from the January 16, 2021 issue

  1. Mount Everest
    Environment

    Plastics are showing up in the world’s most remote places, including Mount Everest

    From the snow on Mount Everest to the guts of critters in the Mariana Trench, tiny fragments called microplastics are almost everywhere.

    By
  2. male wrinkle-faced bat
    Animals

    A face mask may turn up a male wrinkle-faced bat’s sex appeal

    The first-ever scientific observations of a wrinkle-faced bat’s courtship shows that, when flirting, the males raise their white furry face coverings.

    By
  3. copy of Isaac Newton’s Principia
    Physics

    Newton’s groundbreaking Principia may have been more popular than previously thought

    A search has uncovered over 300 copies of Isaac Newton’s famous 17th century book, the Principia, revealing a broader readership than assumed.

    By
  4. Islands of the Four Mountains
    Earth

    An enormous supervolcano may be hiding under Alaskan islands

    A geologic game of connect the dots reveals hints that Mount Cleveland, the Aleutians’ most active volcano, may sit on a giant undersea crater.

    By
  5. remote sensing instruments in the Arctic
    Earth

    In the past 15 years, climate change has transformed the Arctic

    Accumulating evidence and new tools have helped scientists better understand how the Arctic is changing, but the pace has been faster than expected.

    By
  6. cricket poking through hole in a leaf
    Animals

    Small, quiet crickets turn leaves into megaphones to blare their mating call

    A carefully crafted leaf can double the volume of a male tree cricket’s song, helping it compete with larger, louder males for females.

    By
  7. big cloud of smoke hovering over the top of the hill tops
    Earth

    Towering fire-fueled thunderclouds can spew as many aerosols as volcanic eruptions

    A massive plume of smoke lofted into the stratosphere during Australia’s fires may represent a new class of “volcanic-scale” pyrocumulonimbus clouds.

    By
  8. Ubirajara jubatus feathered dinosaur
    Life

    A newfound feathered dinosaur sported fuzz and weird rods on its shoulders

    A Brazilian dinosaur with stiffened pairs of ribbonlike feathers emerging from the shoulders is unlike any found before.

    By
  9. Lava tube in New Mexico
    Archaeology

    Ancient people may have survived desert droughts by melting ice in lava tubes

    Bands of charcoal from fires lit long ago, found in an ice core from a New Mexico cave, correspond to five periods of drought over 800 years.

    By
  10. Baikal seal
    Animals

    Using comb-shaped teeth, Baikal seals feed on tiny crustaceans like whales do

    Seals in Lake Baikal use comb-shaped teeth to catch scores of amphipods, a study finds. The diet may be behind the seals’ relative success.

    By
  11. dugout canoe crafted using axes modeled off of Japanese artifacts
    Humans

    Ancient humans may have deliberately voyaged to Japan’s Ryukyu Islands

    Satellite-tracked buoys suggest that long ago, a remote Japanese archipelago was reached by explorers on purpose, not accidentally.

    By
  12. giant panda climbing a tree
    Animals

    Giant pandas may roll in horse poop to feel warm

    By coating themselves in fresh horse manure, wild giant pandas may be seeking a chemical in the poop that inhibits a cold-sensing protein.

    By
  13. Milky Way X-ray bubbles
    Astronomy

    Enormous X-ray bubbles balloon from the center of the Milky Way

    Images from the the eROSITA telescope reveal X-ray–emitting blobs surrounding gamma-ray bubbles.

    By
  14. dromedary camels eating trash
    Animals

    Plastic waste forms huge, deadly masses in camel guts

    Eating plastic isn’t just a sea animal problem. Researchers found suitcase-sized masses of plastic in dromedaries’ guts in the United Arab Emirates.

    By
  15. Tasmanian devil
    Animals

    A highly contagious face cancer may not wipe out Tasmanian devils after all

    Devil facial tumor disease has killed so many Tasmanian devils that it was feared they would die out. But a new analysis finds its spread is slowing.

    By
  16. team members of China’s Chang’e-5 mission celebrating the spacecraft’s launch
    Planetary Science

    China is about to collect the first moon rocks since the 1970s

    The robotic Chang’e-5 mission, which landed on an unexplored region of the moon December 1, aims to gather samples and return them to Earth.

    By