Vol. 174 No. #1
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More Stories from the July 5, 2008 issue

  1. Archaeology

    Footprints in the ash

    Humans may have been walking around what is now central Mexico 40,000 years ago.

  2. Chemistry

    Life before proteins

    Spheres of fat suggest a way that life on Earth could have gotten started.

  3. Earth

    A rapid rise for the Andes

    New evidence suggests that the South American mountain chain shot up 2.5 kilometers in a geological blink of an eye.

  4. Archaeology

    Acrobat’s last tumble

    Sacrificial offerings in an ancient Mesopotamian building included a beheaded acrobat, a new skeletal analysis suggests.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Sun up

    Men with lower concentrations of vitamin D have higher risk of heart attack.

  6. Paleontology

    A mammoth divide

    Woolly mammoths roamed Siberia in two distinct clans, and the split between the groups, scientists say, is surprisingly deep, occurring more than 1 million years ago.

  7. Humans

    Symbolic snacks

    Capuchin monkeys can reason with tokens as they do with different foods, demonstrating a basic capacity for thinking symbolically.

  8. Climate

    Goldilocks tree leaves

    Leaves mostly keep their cool (or warmth) wherever they live, a finding that might affect reconstructions of past climates.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Seeing disease’s acidic side

    Small tumors can be detected using a new technique that safely, reliably and noninvasively measures tissue chemistry.

  10. Astronomy

    From planet to plutoid

    Pluto and its dwarf planet neighbors are christened plutoids, the International Astronomical Union rules.

  11. Health & Medicine

    No babies, no hormones

    A radically different form of contraception would prevent pregnancies with small molecules of RNA.

  12. Earth

    Unintended consequences

    A full recovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the coming years could significantly boost warming of the atmosphere over and around the icy continent.

  13. Archaeology

    Resurrection of a biblical tree

    Date palm pit found at Masada sprouts at age 2,000, becoming the oldest known seed to germinate.

  14. Astronomy

    Otherworldly triple play

    Astronomers have discovered the first known system of three superEarths beyond the solar system.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Good news for coffeeholics

    When lifestyle factors like smoking were taken into account, coffee drinkers had lower death rates than their non-drinking peers, according to a study of more than 120,000 people.

  16. Planetary Science

    Surprise found in comet dust

    Scientists find an odd mineral that could offer clues to the solar system's origins.

  17. Chemistry

    Catching your breath

    Scientists are investigating how to use the human breath to diagnose diseases and environmental ills.

  18. Psychology

    Simpleminded Voters

    An innovative research technique has led researchers to conclude that well-informed voters often use simple rules of thumb to sift through mountains of campaign information and pick the candidate who best reflects their own political views.

  19. Astronomy


    Astronomers hope that new tools will enable them to capture the first image of one of the 300 known planets orbiting distant stars.

  20. Plants

    Forest invades tundra

    The Arctic tundra is under assault from trees, with serious implications for global climate change.