Chance encounter with fungus made aphids colorful
Tiny insects called pea aphids are the first animals known to make their own pigments, called "carotenoids," scientists have discovered. Other animals, including humans, don't make our own carotenoids. We have to get them from the food we eat.
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Predicting the Asian monsoon
The weather system known as the Asian monsoon affects more than half of the people on Earth, making it perhaps the most important seasonal weather system in the entire world. But, without long-term climate data, researchers don't know much about the monsoon's true nature.
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A new look at the oldest Martian meteorite
The oldest known Martian meteorite, known as ALH 84001, appears to be about half a billion years younger than previously thought, researchers report.
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If smoky lungs could talk: A tale of cancer
The lungs in your body have special ways of letting you know when they aren't healthy; especially if you smoke cigarettes. Recently, researchers have found that telltale chemical reactions in the lungs of current or former smokers can help identify those at highest risk for developing lung cancer.
March 20 was the first day of spring. But, flowering plants can't read calendars, so how do they know it's time to start blooming? They get a signal from a protein called APETALA1, or "AP1" -- actually, as a new study shows, they get a whole bunch of signals. It turns out the signaling system that tells flowering plants to bloom is much more complex than we had thought.
An older, southern Tyrannosaur
Large tyrannosaurs, such as T. rex, were the top predators during the Late Cretaceous period, about 100 million to 65 million years ago -- but their history is not well documented for the 100 million years before that, and until now, their bones had only been found in the northern hemisphere.
A closer look at Saturn and its rings
The Cassini spacecraft was launched into space by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. This international space mission reached Saturn almost six years ago, and it has been collecting data from the planet ever since. Now, researchers are learning more than ever about Saturn, and Cassini's detailed observations are bringing the planet into clearer focus than ever before.
Struggling for power: Canary chicks and their mothers
Recently, a group of researchers explored how parents and their offspring communicate with each other -- before and after the offspring's birth -- and now, their results are shedding light on the complicated give-and-take relationship between a mother bird and her chick.
Why are mussels' muscles so strong?
Marine mussels attach themselves to rocky seashores with strong fibers they produce, called byssal threads. Despite the constant motions of the tide -- pushing and pulling the mussels in different directions -- the byssal threads remain strong, yet stretchable at the same time. For researchers, this combination of physical properties is very attractive, and understanding how the mussels form these byssal threads might even improve industrial materials for humans in the future.
A detailed map of marine microorganisms
Microscopic organisms are the primary producers in the world's oceans, and their activities influence many of the Earth's processes. Now, a new study shows exactly how some important microscopic marine plants are distributed around the globe.
The appearance of whales on Earth
Whales are the largest creatures on Earth today, but new research in Science is showing how the evolution of these humongous marine mammals was linked to the evolution of some of the planet's smallest marine organisms tens of millions of years ago.
Glaciers may grow and shrink faster than expected
During the last ice age, the world's sea level fell by approximately 130 meters. For about 100,000 years, it dropped -- but not smoothly -- with a series of small spikes back up along the way. Now, new research shows that the world's sea level 81,000 years ago was actually more than a meter higher than it is today.
Colors of a feathered dinosaur
Ever tried to draw a dinosaur? What colors would you choose? The only limits are your imagination. Although paleontologists can use fossils to tell us how dinosaurs were built, bones can't tell us about what the dinosaurs looked like on the surface. Or can they?
New dinosaur from China illuminates dino-bird link
Scientists have discovered a new member of a peculiar group of dinosaurs, the long-legged, stubby-armed alvarezsauroids. This one, found in China, is 63 million years older than other known members of this group, making it an important early member of the lineage that includes birds and their closest dinosaur relatives.
What can we learn from a slime mold?
Recent research suggests that human engineers could learn a lot from the lowly slime mold, known as Physarum polycephalum. It seems that the gelatinous, fungus-like mold might actually lead the way to more reliable computer and mobile communication networks in the future.
Why migrating birds go the distance
Arctic shorebirds travel grueling distances each year as they migrate to their breeding grounds in the harsh, remote Arctic, but they do get a payoff, scientists report in a new study. The birds' eggs are less like to be eaten by foxes and other predators.
Cleaner fish and third-party punishment
Recently, a study of cleaner fish revealed how males will punish females for bad behavior -- even when they seem to be bystanders, and are not personally affected by the females.
Masquerading animals aim to fool
Many birds enjoy snacking on caterpillars, but the caterpillars of Brimstone and Early Thorn moths have a handy defense. Instead of looking like juicy, green treats, they resemble brown, knobby twigs.
Science announces the Breakthrough of the Year
At the end of each year, the writers and editors of Science reflect upon all the major scientific discoveries of the previous 12 months. They look for research that has answered major questions about how the universe works -- research that has paved the way for future discoveries -- and then they pick a "winner."
Triassic dinosaur illuminates early dino evolution
A newly discovered, early dinosaur from New Mexico -- a two-legged carnivore that belongs to the same lineage that later produced T. rex -- suggests that the first dinosaurs spread widely around the world, perhaps originating from South America.
A deep-earth plumbing system beneath Hawaii
The Hawaiian islands have formed as the Earth's crust moves over a "hotspot" where magma is rising up to the surface. Scientists have debated over how this hotspot works and how deep into the Earth it reaches, but a new study may help clear things up.
Detecting gamma-rays from a microquasar
A microquasar happens when a normal star begins shedding its matter onto either a neutron star or a black hole. This phenomenon produces large amounts of radiation and "jets" of material moving at relativistic speeds -- more than 10 percent the speed of light -- away from the star.
The disappearance of mammoths and mastodons
For years, researchers have believed that large prehistoric creatures like mammoths and mastodons went extinct due to human hunters and changes in their environment. Some researchers also proposed that a meteor could have contributed to their extinction as well. But, new research published in the journal Science shows that those large prehistoric creatures disappeared from the Earth several thousands of years before all of that happened.
Measuring Greenland's ice loss
Greenland has tons of ice. The Greenland ice sheet covers about 80 percent of the country, and it's the second largest ice sheet in the world, after the Antarctic ice sheet.
Handling the horse genome
Researchers have successfully sequenced the horse genome, and they say it sheds light on how the creatures were domesticated long ago. They also say the newly sequenced genome shows many similarities to the genomes of other mammals, like cows. It even has some things in common with the human genome!
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.