From thought to speech in 600 milliseconds
If a biologist wants to know how something in the human body works, one of the best ways to do this is to study the same process in other animals. But, what about language? We're the only animals who talk!
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Asteroid 2 Pallas, a wannabe planet
One of the largest members of the main asteroid belt, a grapefruit-shaped rock called 2 Pallas, has more in common with planets than asteroids, researchers report.
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Algae was quick to recover
About 65 million years ago, an asteroid struck the Earth and disrupted ecosystems around the world. Many of the creatures on the planet then died off and went extinct. This traumatic event is known as the K-T boundary or the K-T extinction event.
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Watching eels cross the ocean
It is extremely difficult to track the movements of individual fish in the ocean -- but it seems that scientists are getting closer to that goal. This week in the journal Science, a team of researchers report that they have successfully followed a group of European eels during the first 800 miles of a long, 3,100-mile migration.
A tiny T. Rex with typical traits
When you think of Tyrannosaurus rex, you probably imagine a fearsome predator with a large skull and tiny forearms attached to a tremendous body. But, researchers have just unearthed a much smaller version of this prehistoric dinosaur in China, and it's no more than three meters tall.
Constant climate change in the Arctic
The region of Earth surrounding the North Pole is known as the Arctic, and researchers say that rapid climate change is disturbing the ecosystems there at a very rapid pace. Across all kinds of ecosystems in the Arctic -- on land, in fresh water, and in salt water -- life is changing dramatically.
A very recent break from a long, cool trend
About 2,000 years ago, researchers say that the Arctic began cooling off -- and that cooling trend lasted all the way up to the 20th century. But, recently, the pattern of cooling in the Arctic has reversed, they say.
Dog coats shed genetic secrets
The differences between the silky curls of a cocker spaniel and the shaggy mop of a sheepdog are the result of a mere three genes, researchers report in a new study.
Bombs away! A deep sea worm's defense
Researchers have discovered several new species of deep-sea worms that let loose tiny balloon-like structures, which start to glow a brilliant green as soon as they detach from the worms' bodies.
Following the leader -- to friendship
For years, researchers have associated imitation among human beings -- copying another's actions -- with positive social behavior, like cooperation and friendship. Imitating others' actions is a way to connect with them, and to communicate our likeness to or affection for that person. Now, researchers have found that capuchin monkeys, a highly social species of monkey, often repay imitation with friendship as well.
DNA does yoga
Researchers have figured out how to make DNA bend and twist into a variety of new shapes. These curvy new molecules could someday be used to build nanoscale devices -- smaller than the width of a human hair -- for delivering drugs inside the body, growing new tissues or studying single proteins.
Native oysters, back in the Chesapeake
After many years of effort, a team of researchers has finally been able to restore native oysters to their home in the Chesapeake Bay, Va.
Who can figure out the toucan? You can!
The toco toucan's bill occupies a special place in the hall of animal oddities. Making up about one-third of the bird's total body length, it's the largest bill of any bird, compared to its owner's body size. Scientists have puzzled for centuries over the bill's possible purpose. Might be used for attracting mates? Maybe for manipulating fruit?
Moths use sonar to foil bat attacks
Researchers have found that a particular species of tiger moth is able to escape from attacking bats by jamming their sonar with sudden bursts of the moths' own ultrasound. This new discovery adds to the long list of defense mechanisms that insects use against bats.
How the turtle got its shell
In their earliest stages as embryos, turtles, chickens, mice, and even humans all look pretty much the same -- big head, tiny arms, long spine that looks like a tail. By the time they hatch, however, turtles have taken a major detour and developed shells on their backs.
Exploring the layer of ice at Mars' north pole
NASA's Phoenix mission landed on the planet Mars in May 2008, and explored the surface of the Red Planet for more than five months. New data from the Phoenix Mars Lander confirms that there is a layer of ice water at the Martian north pole -- about five to 18 centimeters beneath the soil.
AAAS: 10 science books to help your kids avoid summer brain drain
In time for summer vacation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has released a summer reading list of 10 science books for children ages 10-14, or grades 4-8. The books include stories on bioluminescent creatures, excavations from colonial-era settlements, and women who trained for space flight. Malcomson's list also includes activity books, such as a bird watching guide and a book containing tips on how to be "green".
Contact: Molly McElroy
Fish ears and ocean chemistry
In environments with high carbon dioxide levels, researchers say that the ear bones of young fish actually grow larger than normal -- rather than smaller, as they had expected. This finding means that ocean chemistry could have unexpected effects on the minerals produced by fish larvae.
Plant fossils shed light on extinction
Plant fossils from Greenland tell us that the number of plants there decreased abruptly about 200 million years ago, when the Triassic period ended and the Jurassic period began, researchers say in the latest issue of Science.
How whirlybird seeds catch air
Plants and flying animals have evolved the same aerodynamic trick for fighting gravity while flying, scientists have discovered.
Bird 'mobsters' learn from their neighbors
When a cuckoo comes along, hoping to sneak one of its own eggs into a reed warbler nest, the warblers mount an impassioned defense, mobbing the parasitic birds while making loud, raspy calls and snapping their beaks.
Undiscovered gas and oil in the Arctic Circle
Researchers say that the Arctic Circle probably contains a full 30 percent of the natural gas in the world that hasn't been discovered yet. They also predict that the Arctic Circle holds 13 percent of Earth's undiscovered oil.
An entire region of Mars, shaped by water
Long ago, the face of Mars was shaped by water flowing across its surface. But, researchers have never known exactly how these processes took place on the ancient Martian planet. NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has been exploring the Victoria crater, located near the equator of the red planet, for two years. Now, researchers have reviewed some of the data it has collected along the way, and they are sharing some rather exciting discoveries.
Longer seasons for many different reasons
Many complex relationships exist between Earth's seasonal cycles, the global climate, and the lives of individual species in nature. Changes made to one of these things usually means that the other two will change in some way as well. Now, some new research is highlighting just how much we still don't understand about these important and complex relationships.
Northern shrimp like it cold
Northern shrimp -- the small, sweet ones that you're likely to see in salad -- use temperature as a cue for egg-laying and may therefore be seriously vulnerable to climate change, scientists say in a new study.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.