Parasites are not all bad, and in a rapidly changing world, they need our protection, but they don’t seem to be getting it. In fact, in the second-largest estuary in the United States, scientists have cataloged a mass die-off among marine organisms that rely on free-living hosts to survive. Over the past 140 years, from
All life is made up of cells several magnitudes smaller than a grain of salt. Their seemingly simple-looking structures mask the intricate and complex molecular activity that enables them to carry out the functions that sustain life. Researchers are beginning to be able to visualize this activity to a level of detail they haven’t been
Say hello to ionocaloric cooling: a new way to lower the mercury that has the potential to replace existing methods with something that is safer and friendlier to the planet. Typical refrigeration systems transport heat away from a space via a gas that cools as it expands some distance away. As effective as this process
Researchers say they have discovered what they call a “proto-writing system” embedded in 20,000-year-old cave paintings, making it the earliest form of some sort of writing we’ve ever found. Hunters from the Upper Palaeolithic era would have used the symbols daubed on the walls to pass on essential survival information: The researchers suggest they show
A newly discovered comet could be visible to the naked eye as it shoots past Earth and the Sun in the coming weeks for the first time in 50,000 years, astronomers have said. The comet is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) after the Zwicky Transient Facility, which first spotted it passing Jupiter in March last year.
When the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope entered low-Earth orbit in 2008, it opened our eyes to a whole new Universe of high-energy radiation. One of its more curious discoveries was the Fermi Bubbles: giant, symmetrical blobs extending above and below the galactic plane, 25,000 light-years on each side from the Milky Way’s center, glowing in
Researchers believe that ancient stone tools discovered in Brazil are the work of capuchin monkeys, not early humans, the art and design website Artnet reported, citing an academic article. “We are confident that the early archeological sites from Brazil may not be human-derived but may belong to capuchin monkeys,” wrote archaeologist Agustín M. Agnolín and
Over the decades, scientists have held a literal mirror up to various animals to determine whether their minds feature some kind of representation of self. Elephants, apes, dolphins, Eurasian magpies and cleaner wrasse fish are just some of the menagerie to join humans and chimpanzees in this exclusive club, each responding to their reflection in
In a recent study published in Astronomy and Astrophysical Letters, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used various computer models to examine 69 confirmed binary black holes to help determine their origin and found their data results changed based on the model’s configurations. Essentially, the input consistently altered the output,
New year, new resolutions. It is that time once again. A recent survey shows that almost 58 percent of the UK population intended to make a new year’s resolution in 2023, which is approximately 30 million adults. More than a quarter of these resolutions will be about making more money, personal improvement, and losing weight.
The ancient Romans were masters of building and engineering, perhaps most famously represented by the aqueducts. And those still functional marvels rely on a unique construction material: pozzolanic concrete, a spectacularly durable concrete that gave Roman structures their incredible strength. Even today, one of their structures – the infamous Pantheon, still intact and nearly 2,000
A nearly 28,000-year-old cave lion cub, discovered frozen in the Siberian permafrost, is so well preserved, you can still make out each and every one of her whiskers. Researchers in Sweden suggest that the cub, nicknamed Sparta, is among the best preserved Ice Age animals ever uncovered. Her teeth, skin, and soft tissue have all
There’s a lot more out there in space than immediately meets the eye. In the sparse chasms that yawn between the galaxies gravitationally bound in huge clusters, lone stars wander alone, like cosmic rōnin, misplaced and unconstrained. We don’t know where these stars came from. Were they kicked out from host galaxies? Or were they
Scientists have engineered a species of roundworm (Caenorhabditis elegans) to absorb light to live a significantly longer life. By adding a light-sensitive trigger to power-converting organelles known as mitochondria, researchers from the US and Germany extended the time sufficient energy could be provided to the cells before aging processes took over. While the scientists emphasize
Half of the Earth’s glaciers, notably smaller ones, are destined to disappear by the end of the century because of climate change, but limiting global warming could save others, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Science on Thursday, provide the most comprehensive look so far at the future of the
Many believe our particularly large brain is what makes us human – but is there more to it? The brain’s shape, as well as the shapes of its component parts (lobes) may also be important. Results of a study we published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution show that the way the different parts of
We can confidently say that birds are dinosaur descendants, though paleontologists are still puzzled as to how this incredible evolutionary event occurred. Now a complete fossilized skeleton of a bird that lived in what is today China around 120 million years ago might help clarify key steps in the transformation process, presenting with a more
Beavers are taking over the Alaskan tundra, completely transforming its waterways, and accelerating climate change in the Arctic. The changes are so sudden and drastic that they’re clearly visible from space. As the Arctic tundra warms, woody plants are growing along its rivers and streams, creating perfect habitats for beavers. As the furry rodents move
Saturn’s moon Enceladus is one of the Solar System’s prime extraterrestrial locations for life to thrive. It harbors a global salty ocean that internal heating theoretically keeps at temperatures hospitable to an alien marine ecosystem. Detecting that life, however, is not such an easy matter. The moon is enclosed by a shell of ice that’s
South Korea’s first-ever lunar orbiter Danuri has sent black-and-white photos of the Moon‘s surface and Earth, the national space center said Tuesday. Danuri – a portmanteau of the Korean words for “Moon” and “enjoy” – was launched on a SpaceX rocket from the United States in August 2022 and entered lunar orbit last month. Its
Italians are notoriously – and understandably – protective of their cuisine, as regular arguments about the correct toppings for pizza or the appropriate pasta to use with a Bolognese ragu will attest. So it was hardly surprising that, when a Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist weighed in with advice about how to cook pasta perfectly which
Tails come in many shapes, strengths, and sizes. The long, thick tail of a kangaroo acts as a third leg. The rabbit’s fluff-butt is used to communicate with other rabbits. The rope-like tail of the hippopotamus flicks their poop far and wide. Many carnivores use their tail to make them more agile on the hunt.
A type of freshwater plankton has become the first organism seen thriving on a diet of viruses, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US. Viruses are often consumed incidentally by a range wide of organisms, and may even season the diets of certain marine protists. But to
Ancient bones retrieved from an archaeological site in Germany suggest that archaic humans were peeling bears for their skins at least 320,000 years ago. The markings found on phalanx and metatarsal paw bones of a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus or U. deningeri) represent some of the earliest known evidence of this type, and demonstrate one
Look up on a clear sunny day and you will see a blue sky. But is this the true color of the sky? Or is it the only color of the sky? The answers are a little complicated, but they involve the nature of light, atoms and molecules and some quirky parts of Earth’s atmosphere.
The Universe should be humming. Every supernova, every merger between neutron stars or black holes, even rapidly spinning lone neutron stars, could or should be a source of gravitational waves. Event the rapid inflation of space following the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago should have produced its own cascade of gravitational waves. Like a
Storms and other extreme weather events aren’t divided equally between the two halves of our globe. The Southern Hemisphere is roughly 24 percent stormier than the Northern, in fact, for reasons that until now haven’t been all that clear. A new study looking in detail at global storm patterns identifies the heights of mountain ranges
Nothing can go faster than light. It’s a rule of physics woven into the very fabric of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The faster something goes, the closer it gets to its perspective of time freezing to a standstill. Go faster still, and you run into issues of time reversing, messing with notions of causality.
Many parents make it clear that honesty is good while lying is bad, and yet an adult’s responses to their kid’s lies aren’t always consistent. New experiments emphasize this hypocrisy by showing parents can be more judgmental of overtly honest, harshly expressed truth-tellers, than polite, subtle liars. The authors think children can sense the discrepancy.
Mini brains grown in a lab from stem cells spontaneously developed rudimentary eye structures, scientists reported in a fascinating 2021 paper. On tiny, human-derived brain organoids grown in dishes, two bilaterally symmetrical optic cups were seen to grow, mirroring the development of eye structures in human embryos. This incredible result could help us to better
Guessing the color of the coat of a gray wolf seems like a no-brainer. But the canines, whose habitats are spread across North America and Eurasia, aren’t always actually gray. On the North American continent, specifically, the farther south you go, the more wolves there are with dark, black-hued coats. The phenomenon was unexplained for
Cloaked by the shadows of enchanting Asian woodlands, strange growths can be seen peeking out from between leaf litter like the ghosts of long-dead flowers. The plant’s foliage lacks green pigment having forsaken photosynthesis in favor of an alternative source of nutrients on the forest floor, one stolen from fungi many other plants consider friends
If you’ve ever caught yourself talking to someone and thought, “Gee, I sound just like them”, it might be a sign that you’re engaged in the conversation or the task at hand. The same goes, as a new study shows, for solving puzzles in an immersive virtual game environment. Over the years, researchers have found
Mummification may never have been intended to preserve the bodies of ancient Egyptians after death, experts say, a sharp contrast to the popular understanding of the practice. An increasing number of archaeologists say that the preservative effects of mummification were likely accidental and blame early modern Egyptologists for propagating a misunderstanding based on little evidence.
A new analysis of dust retrieved from the Moon suggests that water bound up in the lunar surface could originate with the Sun. More specifically, it could be the result of bombardment of hydrogen ions from the solar wind, slamming into the lunar surface, interacting with mineral oxides, and bonding with the dislodged oxygen. The
When you stop and think about bubbles, you realize that they’re everywhere: in the dishwasher, on the top of your beer, on the crests of waves, in the saliva between your teeth, and, of course, in bubble gun toys. That means the physics of bubbles are important in all kinds of scenarios. With that in
Scientists are continuing to analyze samples of rock and dirt brought back by China’s Chang’e 5 lunar rover, and the latest results point to new kinds of geology from regions of the Moon that are yet to be discovered and explored. Seven different types of rock were identified among 1.731 kilograms (3.816 pounds) of 2
Back in March of 2021, a star in a galaxy 250 million light-years away was seen having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day indeed. There it was, minding its own business, when it got sucked into the gravity well of a supermassive black hole, and torn to smithereens. We know this because multiple
Throughout the ages, artists have turned to nature for inspiration. Scientists often use such depictions of plants and animals to gain insights into ecosystems as they were in the past. This is, of course, assuming the artist’s intent is to capture the scenery faithfully. A new analysis of a series of 14th century BCE Egyptian
For humans to ever venture out among the stars, we will have to solve some hefty logistical problems. Not the least of these is the travel time involved. Space is so large, and human technology so limited, that the time it would take to travel to another star presents a significant barrier. The Voyager 1
It was August 13, 1945, and the ‘demon core’ was poised, waiting to be unleashed onto a stunned Japan still reeling in fresh chaos from the deadliest attacks anyone had ever seen. A week earlier, ‘Little Boy’ had detonated over Hiroshima, followed swiftly by ‘Fat Man’ in Nagasaki. These were the first and only nuclear
Ordinarily, to measure an object we must interact with it in some way. Whether it’s by a prod or a poke, an echo of sound waves, or a shower of light, it’s near impossible to look without touching. In the world of quantum physics, there are some exceptions to this rule. Researchers from Aalto University
Catastrophic floods, crop-wilting droughts, and record heatwaves this year have shown that climate change warnings are increasingly becoming reality, and this is “just the beginning”, experts say, as international efforts to cut planet-heating emissions founder. The year did see some important progress, with major new legislation, particularly in the United States and Europe, as well
Since the landmark discovery in 1992 of two planets orbiting a star outside of our Solar System, thousands of new worlds have been added to a rapidly growing list of ‘exoplanets’ in the Milky Way galaxy. We’ve learnt many things from this vast catalogue of alien worlds orbiting alien stars. But one small detail stands
In re-examining artifacts from a significant 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial site near Stonehenge in the UK, archaeologists discovered a toolkit for working with gold objects and coatings that hadn’t previously been identified. The site of the find, the Upton Lovell G2a ‘Wessex Culture’ burial area, was excavated more than 200 years ago and is crucial
The constant distraction of social media could be preventing our minds from settling into a deeper, more complete feeling of boredom, according to a new study. Which is a shame, given complete boredom can be fertile grounds for innovation. This ‘profound’ level of boredom is different to the initial, superficial level of tedium we experience
Imagine throwing a baseball. Easy, right? Maybe you’ve already done it a few times. Now imagine throwing a baseball on the Moon. Maybe you’ve seen enough videos of astronauts bouncing around up there to have an idea. Here’s a clearer picture, though: On the Moon you could throw that ball clean over the 186-foot-tall Leaning
Not all galaxies are built alike. There are spectacular, sparkling spirals with graceful arms curling elegantly out into space. There are small, indistinct blobs. There are strange rings with hollow centers or diffuse, dim collections of stars that barely look like a galaxy at all. How galaxies get the way they do is something of