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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Cosmic clues, buried in the Antarctic snow
Researchers have found two micrometeorites -- tiny particles that fell to Earth from space -- preserved in the cold snow of Antarctica, and they say that their discovery could provide clues about how our solar system formed long ago. The micrometeorites, known as particles 19 and 119, were found near the center of the icy continent, buried in 40- to 55-year-old snow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.