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More Stories from the September 24, 2022 issue

  1. A man has lowered his face mask to smell a sliced lemon.
    Neuroscience

    COVID-19 gave new urgency to the science of restoring smell

    With newfound pressure from the pandemic, olfactory training and a host of other newer treatments are now getting a lot more attention.

    By
  2. mealworms on a table, in a wooden spoon, and in a wooden bowl, surrounded by green leaves
    Science & Society

    A new seasoning smells like meat thanks to sugar — and mealworms

    A spoonful of sugars could help cooked mealworms go down more easily, a potential boon for the planet.

    By
  3. a close-up photo of a jumping spider
    Animals

    News stories have caught spiders in a web of misinformation

    Nearly half of news stories about peoples’ interactions with spiders contain errors, according to a new analysis.

    By
  4. Tropical fish biologist Mark Meekan, in a dive suit, swims near the nose of a whale shark.
    Animals

    Whale sharks may be the world’s largest omnivores

    An analysis of the sharks’ skin shows that the animals eat and digest algae.

    By
  5. 3-D models of an upper leg bone and two forearm bones, each shown from two angles
    Anthropology

    7-million-year-old limb fossils may be from the earliest known hominid

    An earlier report on one of the bones of a 7-million-year-old creature that may have walked upright has triggered scientific misconduct charges.

    By
  6. Two side-by-side images of the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87, both taken by the Event Horizon Telescope EHT. The left image looks like a luminous blurry donut. On the right is a more recent image that isolates a circular feature of the black hole’s emission and resembles a thin ring.
    Space

    Physicists dispute a claim of detecting a black hole’s ‘photon ring’

    A thin ring of light around a black hole, which would probe gravity in a new way, has been found, one team claims. Skeptics aren’t convinced.

    By
  7. illustration of 'demon ducks' eating in a grassland. The ducks are huge with red and black beaks
    Life

    Ancient ‘demon ducks’ may have been undone by their slow growth

    Mihirung birds grew to more than half a ton and took their time getting there. That slow growth may have been a vulnerability when humans got to Australia.

    By
  8. Comet Leonard streaking across the night sky, with a greenish tinge at its head
    Planetary Science

    Oort cloud comets may spin themselves to death

    How icy objects from the solar system’s fringe break up as they near the sun is a long-standing mystery. One astronomer now thinks he has an answer.

    By
  9. A view from space of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption
    Earth

    The Tonga eruption may have spawned a tsunami as tall as the Statue of Liberty

    A massive undersea volcanic eruption in the South Pacific in January created a tsunami that was initially 90 meters tall, computer simulations suggest.

    By
  10. Microscope image of a cell infected with SARS-CoV-2
    Health & Medicine

    ‘Breathless’ explores COVID-19’s origins and other pandemic science

    In his new book, David Quammen examines what we’ve learned about SARS-CoV-2 and puts the pandemic in the context of previous coronavirus scares.

    By