An early tool-making technique
A technique for shaping stones into sharp-edged points may have emerged about 55,000 years earlier than scientists have previously thought, according to a study of stone tools from a cave in South Africa called Blombos Cave.
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Creating a crater: LCROSS mission finds minerals on the moon
Last year, a NASA space mission crashed a used rocket into the bottom of a dark crater near the Moon's South Pole. This experiment, known as LCROSS -- Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite -- was designed to locate water and other minerals stored in the moon's soil. Now, this week in Science, researchers describe exactly what happened when that empty shell of a rocket slammed into the moon's cold surface.
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Why you should take that vocabulary test
Quizzes don't just tell us how well we've memorized something -- they actually help us remember it, scientists say in a new study.
Planting 2 types of corn pays off for farmers
Genetically modified corn plants can kill insect pests and reduce damage to other neighboring crops as well -- but farmers who plant both types of corn at the same time save the most money, researchers say.
Penguin fossil paints portrait of ancient feathers
The fossil feathers of a 35-million-year-old penguin found in Peru give clues to how these plump birds got some of their modern features, a new study reports.
Florida panther population saved by cats from Texas
In 1995, the population of Florida panthers had dwindled all the way down to just 20 or 25 unhealthy adults. As their numbers decreased, Florida's panther population became more and more inbred, which caused many health problems in the wild cats, including heart defects, low sperm quality, low testosterone levels, low reproduction rates and lots of parasites.
Grub-on-a-stick: Crafty crows use tools for nutritious snacking
For New Caledonian crows, using sticks to dislodge beetle grubs from rotting tree trunks takes a lot of time and practice, but the payoff is that the grubs are extremely nutritious, scientists report.
The human brain -- from childhood to adulthood
Have you ever wondered how the human brain grows and changes as people get older?
Portrait of an exploded star
It's almost time for school pictures again, and almost time for your parents to coo and carry on about how much you've grown since last year. If you think they make a big deal over those pictures, imagine how they would feel if their "baby" was an exploded star. And they hadn't seen a picture of it in more than six years!
When plants cry for help, predator bugs answer
Some plants have a really clever method for protecting themselves against pests. When caterpillars start nibbling on wild tobacco plants, their saliva cues a "help me!" signal from the plants that brings predatory insects flying in to the rescue, a new study shows.
The long-distance voyage of plastic
If you took a boat ride from Bermuda, heading east toward the middle of the Atlantic ocean, you'd start to see little bits of white and colored stuff floating alongside. This stuff is plastic.
Gamma rays from a nova explosion greet astronomers with surprise
Recent observations from a telescope in orbit around Earth have detected gamma rays coming from a nova explosion on a distant star system, known as V407 Cygni. Experts say that this is a surprising discovery because scientists have expected to observe x-rays, instead of gamma rays, coming from similar nova explosions.
White-nose disease a serious problem for bats -- how can kids help?
The little brown myotis, which was once one of most common bat species in North America, may be extinct in the northeastern United States within the next 16 to 20 years or so, due to a disease called White-Nose Syndrome, according to a study in the Aug. 6 issue of the journal Science.
Spider silk's real-life superpowers
When you look at a spider web, you might admire its delicate beauty, but don't let appearances deceive you. That web is made of an incredibly tough material -- silk!
How exploding moss launches its spores
When Sphagnum moss spores explode out of their capsules, they reach more than 10 centimeters in the air, thanks to tiny mushroom clouds that help drive the spores upward, scientists have found.
Gobies gobble up the jellies
Since the 1960s, the Benguela ecosystem off the coast of Namibia has experienced the collapse of the sardine fishery and a takeover by jellyfish and microbes. Surprisingly, a fish called the bearded goby has thrived in these conditions, partially fixing the food chain in this ecosystem, an international team of scientists explains in the in the July 16 issue of the journal Science.
Why some fireflies flash in sync
At the beginning of summer in the US Smoky Mountains, male Photinus carolinus fireflies put on an unusual show for females of their species, repeatedly lighting up the night sky as they flash unison.
Genes help Tibetans breathe easy on the 'roof of the world'
The area of the Himalayas that includes Tibet and Mount Everest is the highest region of the world. It's so high that the air contains less oxygen than it does at sea level, and when lowlanders travel there, they often run into trouble because their bodies are starving for more oxygen.
The human sense of touch: More than just a feeling
Have you ever thought about where the expression "having a rough day" came from? Well, a group of researchers has just performed a study that links our physical feelings -- like touching a rough object -- to our unconscious thoughts and behaviors. According to the study's results, the feeling of a rough object can actually inspire feelings of difficulty in our minds as well.
What's climate change doing to the oceans?
When you hear the expression "global warming" you might think about the air getting warmer. But, climate affects the ocean too and the creatures living in it.
Warm-blooded giants of the ancient seas?
Some of the giant reptiles that ruled the ocean food chain during the time of the dinosaurs may have been able to control their own body temperatures, a new study suggests. These reptiles probably had high metabolic rates, which helped them dive deep and swim fast over large distances to catch their prey.
A bug's life, the cricket version
Most of what scientists know about how insects behave is from studies that take place in the laboratory. To learn about bug life in the wild, a research team set up a network of motion-sensitive, infrared-equipped cameras and microphones in a field that a population of wild crickets calls home.
What exactly is 'fair'?
A new study suggests that young children are content to divide money up equally among members of a group, but as those children get older, their sense of fairness changes -- and they start thinking that the people who do the most work should get the most money.
Reeling in illegal fishing
Many sea ports around the world have continued to let ships carrying illegally caught fish into their harbors, even though they have signed agreements to turn those boats away. This illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing -- known as IUU fishing -- is damaging to the world's sustainable fishing industry, and with a full 80 percent of the world's marine fish stocks already tapped out or over-fished, researchers agree that IUU fishing has become a major concern.
No flap: Earliest birds were poor flyers
The ancient birds Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis weren't flapping flyers and were gliders at best, according to a new study of the birds' fossil feathers.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.