Vol. 195 No. 11
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More Stories from the June 22, 2019 issue

  1. Anthropology

    Fossil teeth push the human-Neandertal split back to about 1 million years ago

    A study of fossilized teeth shifts the age of the last common ancestor between Neandertals and humans.

  2. Physics

    The kilogram just got a revamp. A unit of time might be next

    After years of preparation, new definitions for the basic units of mass, temperature and more have now gone into effect.

  3. Paleontology

    This early sauropod went from walking on four legs to two as it grew

    A new computer analysis shows how Mussaurus patagonicus' center of gravity changed as the dinosaur grew.

  4. Plants

    Some plants use hairy roots and acid to access nutrients in rock

    Shrubs in mountainous areas of Brazil have specialized roots that secrete chemicals to extract phosphorus from rock.

  5. Animals

    Bad moods could be contagious among ravens

    Ravens may pick up and share their compatriots’ negativity, a study on the social intelligence of these animals suggests.

  6. Paleontology

    Signs of red pigment were spotted in a fossil for the first time

    For the first time, scientists have identified the chemical fingerprint of red pigment in a fossil.

  7. Environment

    Emissions of a banned ozone-destroying chemical have been traced to China

    Since 2013, eastern China has increased its annual emissions of a banned chlorofluorocarbon by about 7,000 metric tons, a study finds.

  8. Chemistry

    Sweaty, vinegary and sweet odors mingle to make dark chocolate’s smell

    Scientists have worked out the chemistry of dark chocolate’s smell and reconstructed the aroma.

  9. Physics

    Spherical flames in space could solve the mystery of soot-free fires

    In microgravity, flames are sphere-shaped. Tests of fire on the International Space Station are helping show how gases flow within flames.

  10. Physics

    Big black holes can settle in the outskirts of small galaxies

    Astronomers have found dozens of surprisingly massive black holes far from the centers of their host dwarf galaxies.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Being bilingual is great. But it may not boost some brain functions

    A large study of U.S. bilingual children didn’t turn up obvious benefits in abilities to ignore distractions or switch quickly between tasks.

  12. Earth

    This iconic Humboldt map may need crucial updates

    A seminal, 212-year-old diagram of Andean plants by German explorer Alexander von Humboldt is still groundbreaking — but outdated, researchers say.

  13. Math

    Mathematicians report possible progress on proving the Riemann hypothesis

    A new study advances one strategy in the quest to solve the notoriously difficult problem, which is still stumping researchers after 160 years.

  14. Animals

    Shy fish no bigger than a pinkie provide much of the food in coral reefs

    More than half of the fish flesh that predators in coral reefs eat comes from tiny, hard-to-spot species.

  15. Life

    How bacteria nearly killed by antibiotics can recover — and gain resistance

    A pump protein can keep bacteria alive long enough for the microbes to develop antibiotic resistance.

  16. Physics

    In a first, scientists took the temperature of a sonic black hole

    A lab-made black hole that traps sound, not light, emits radiation at a certain temperature, as Stephen Hawking first predicted.

  17. Planetary Science

    Icy volcanoes on Pluto may have spewed organic-rich water

    Planetary scientists found ammonia-rich ice near cracks on Pluto, suggesting the dwarf planet had recent icy volcanoes.

  18. Paleontology

    Fossils reveal saber-toothed cats may have pierced rivals’ skulls

    Two Smilodon fossil skulls from Argentina have puncture holes likely left by the teeth of rival cats.

  19. Climate

    Thousands of birds perished in the Bering Sea. Arctic warming may be to blame

    A mass die-off of puffins and other seabirds in the Bering Sea is probably linked to climate change, scientists say.

  20. Physics

    This tabletop device turns the quantum definition of a kilogram into a real mass

    The mini Kibble balance will measure 10 grams to an accuracy of a few ten-thousandths of a percent.

  21. Life

    Gut bacteria may change the way many drugs work in the body

    A new survey of interactions between microbes and medications suggests that gut bacteria play a crucial role in how the body processes drugs.

  22. Materials Science

    50 years ago, bulletproof armor was getting light enough to wear

    In 1969, bulletproof armor used boron carbide fibers. Fifty years later, bulletproof armor is drastically lighter and made from myriad materials.