November 11, 2017 | Science News

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November 11, 2017View Digital Issue

Editor's Note

Acting Editor in Chief Elizabeth Quill discusses classification and some of the challenges of putting species in categorical boxes.
By Elizabeth Quill | November 11, 2017
Magazine issue: Vol. 192 No. 8 , November 11, 2017 , p. 2

Features

Heliconius butterflies

Feature

Here's why scientists still don't agree on what a species is.
Italian sparrows

Feature

Scientists don’t understand the process of speciation, but hybrids can reveal the genes that keep species apart.

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Editor's Note

Acting Editor in Chief Elizabeth Quill discusses classification and some of the challenges of putting species in categorical boxes.

Features

Italian sparrows
Scientists don’t understand the process of speciation, but hybrids can reveal the genes that keep species apart.

News

Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama)
New silicone material mimics cephalopod shape-shifting for quick camouflage.
Late Stone Age Europeans made spears with beeswax adhesive.
Zika testing line in Brownsville
Cases of Zika have dropped as more people become exposed, but the virus will likely emerge again in the future.
DNA illustration
DNA duplicated only in humans may contribute to human traits and disease.
market in Dongguan, China
Deadly bird flu can pass between ferrets through the air.
photomontage of mosquito taking off
Even when full of blood, mosquitoes use more wing force than leg force to escape a host undetected — clue to why they’re so good at spreading disease.
Go stones on a Go board
AlphaGo Zero is the first AI system of its kind to learn the game just by playing against itself.
childhood obesity
The last 40 years saw a big leap in obesity among children, totaling an estimated 124 million boys and girls in 2016.
illustration of neutron star collision
A collision of neutron stars was spotted with gravitational waves for the first time. Telescopes captured gamma rays, visible light and more from the smashup.
Schmidtea mediterranea
A danger-sensing protein responds to hydrogen peroxide in planarians, results that hint at the evolutionary origins of people’s pain sensing.
atomic clock
This next-gen atomic clock ticks at a steady beat, but time will tell just how well it tells time.
lasers
Study of hydrogen atoms supports the case for a smaller proton.
Charles II
Inbreeding has evolutionary consequences for humans.
Neandertal skull and human skull
Neandertal DNA brought back some old genetic heirlooms to modern humans.
Mt. Etna
Volcanic ash in polar ice reveal a link between eruptions and the timing of revolts in Cleopatra’s Egypt.
Milky Way illustration
Astronomers used an old but challenging technique to directly measure the distance to a star on the opposite side of the galaxy for the first time.
Haumea's ring illustrated
The dwarf planet Haumea is now the most distant ringed object spotted in the solar system.
Quantum dots and antibiotics hit bacteria with a one-two punch.

Notebook

hands holding a gun
Joseph Sakran is trying to help counter the U.S. epidemic of gun violence with data.
A new analysis suggests that Diprotodon optatum, a giant plant-eating marsupial that went extinct about 40,000 years ago, migrated long distances, much like today’s zebras and wildebeests.
Atta laevigata
50 years ago, researchers began unraveling the secrets to Attine ants’ green thumbs.

Reviews & Previews

lion's mane jellyfish
In 'Spineless,' a former marine scientist reconnects with the seas and science through her obsession with these enigmatic creatures.
Burmese python
'The Aliens Among Us' describes how invasive species are colonizing — and disrupting — ecosystems worldwide.

Letters to the Editor

Readers had questions about gut bacteria, woolly rhino ribs and ancient horses hooves.

Science Visualized

Rosetta composite image
A montage of images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft and its lander, Philae, recap the daring mission to comet 67P.