Vol. 195 No. 12
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More Stories from the July 6, 2019 issue

  1. Anthropology

    Hominids may have been cutting-edge tool makers 2.6 million years ago

    Contested finds point to a sharp shift in toolmaking by early members of the Homo genus.

  2. Environment

    Chemicals in biodegradable food containers can leach into compost

    PFAS compounds from compostable food containers could end being absorbed by plants and later eaten by people, though the health effects are unclear.

  3. Animals

    Tiny structures in dragonfish teeth turn them into invisible daggers

    The teeth of deep-sea dragonfish are transparent because of nanoscale crystals and rods that let light pass through without being scattered.

  4. Astronomy

    The accretion disk around our galaxy’s black hole has been spotted at last

    The Milky Way's central black hole has a disk of gas and dust orbiting it, astronomers can finally say with confidence.

  5. Earth

    Soil eroded by glaciers may have kick-started plate tectonics

    How plate tectonics got going is a mystery. Now scientists say they’ve found a key part of the story: massive piles of sediment dumped in the ocean.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C could prevent thousands of deaths in the U.S.

    A study projecting heat-related mortality in 15 U.S. cities illustrates urban risk from global warming.

  7. Oceans

    Tiny plastic debris is accumulating far beneath the ocean surface

    Floating trash patches scratch only the surface of the ocean microplastic pollution problem.

  8. Astronomy

    In a first, magnetic fields have been spotted between two galaxy clusters

    The discovery of magnetic fields in the gaseous filament between two galaxy clusters suggests that some large cosmic structures are magnetized.

  9. Genetics

    Almost all healthy people harbor patches of mutated cells

    Even healthy tissues can build up mutations, some of which have been tied to cancer.

  10. Particle Physics

    Physicists have finally figured out how pentaquarks are built

    The particles are made of up two smaller particles, stuck together like atoms in a molecule.

  11. Archaeology

    These knotted cords may hide the first evidence that the Incas collected taxes

    Some knotted string devices point to crop levies imposed by the Incan empire, researchers say. But other khipus continue to evade description.

  12. Health & Medicine

    A tiny crater on viruses behind the common cold may be their Achilles’ heel

    Researchers have discovered a potential new drug target in a family of viruses responsible for the common cold and more serious infections.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Extra fingers, often seen as useless, can offer major dexterity advantages

    Two people born with six fingers on each hand can control the extra digit, using it to do tasks better than five-fingered hands, a study finds.

  14. Animals

    Bats are the main cause of rare rabies deaths in the U.S.

    In the United States, bats are mostly to blame for rabies deaths, while rabies transmitted by overseas dogs comes in second.

  15. Climate

    The National Weather Service has launched its new U.S. forecasting model

    The United States has finally unveiled its new, highly touted weather prediction model, but some scientists worry that it’s not ready for prime time.

  16. Tech

    50 years ago, lambs survived but didn’t thrive inside artificial wombs

    Artificial wombs to support preemie babies are closer to reality.

  17. Anthropology

    Ancient humans used the moon as a calendar in the sky

    Whether the moon was a timekeeper for early humans, as first argued during the Apollo missions, is still up for debate.

  18. Animals

    A 50-million-year-old fossil captures a swimming school of fish

    Analysis of a fossilized fish shoal suggests that animals may have evolved coordinated group movement around 50 million years ago.