Tag: Science (Journal)

Trilobites: An Elephant-Size Relative of Mammals That Grazed Alongside Dinosaurs

You can call it a Triassic titan. Or a pre-Jurassic juggernaut. Just don’t call it a dinosaur. Despite its appearance, this burly behemoth was a completely different prehistoric beast: a dicynodont. Early relatives to present-day mammals, dicynodonts dominated Earth more than 200 million years ago, living first before, and then alongside, dinosaurs. Unlike dinosaurs, these […]

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Mapping the Brain’s Genetic Landscape

For the past two decades, scientists have been exploring the genetics of schizophrenia, autism and other brain disorders, looking for a path toward causation. If the biological roots of such ailments could be identified, treatments might follow, or at least tests that could reveal a person’s risk level. In the 1990s, researchers focused on genes […]

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America’s Most Hazardous Volcano Erupted This Year. Then It Erupted and Erupted.

On April 30, the P’u ‘Ō’ō’ crater on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, suddenly collapsed. It was the starting point for the volcano’s monthslong eruption, which went on to produce 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of lava that transformed the landscape and ultimately destroyed 700 homes. Now the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and other scientists […]

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Matter: The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything.

Some 252 million years ago, Earth almost died. In the oceans, 96 percent of all species became extinct. It’s harder to determine how many terrestrial species vanished, but the loss was comparable. This mass extinction, at the end of the Permian Period, was the worst in the planet’s history, and it happened over a few […]

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Trilobites: Meet the Spiders That Feed Milk to Their Young

The act of breast-feeding is so fundamental to being a mammal that we named ourselves after it. (“Mammalis” translates to “of the breasts.”) But over time, scientists have discovered that other animals also produce nutrient-rich elixirs to feed their young, including flamingos, cockroaches and male emperor penguins. The latest addition to the cast of organisms […]

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Matter: Crossing From Asia, the First Americans Rushed Into the Unknown

Nearly 11,000 years ago, a man died in what is now Nevada. Wrapped in a rabbit-skin blanket and reed mats, he was buried in a place called Spirit Cave. Now scientists have recovered and analyzed his DNA, along with that of 70 other ancient people whose remains were discovered throughout the Americas. The findings lend […]

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Matter: How to Turbocharge Flu Protection (Llamas Required)

The oncoming flu season has claimed its first lives, among them a child in Florida who had not gotten a flu shot. This year’s vaccine significantly reduces the odds of getting sick — and you should get one now if you haven’t already — but it’s far from perfect. For one thing, its effectiveness fluctuates […]

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Trilobites: Where Did Fish First Evolve? The Answer May Be Shallow

More than 400 million years ago, ancient oceans were teeming with many fish that might seem alien in today’s seas. Back then some wore plates of bony armor and lacked jaws, like the arandaspids, which looked like a clam with a tail. The heterostracans sometimes resembled underwater armadillos with spikes. There were also galeaspids, some […]

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Matter: Researchers Explore a Cancer Paradox

Cancer is a disease of mutations. Tumor cells are riddled with genetic mutations not found in healthy cells. Scientists estimate that it takes five to 10 key mutations for a healthy cell to become cancerous. Some of these mutations can be caused by assaults from the environment, such as ultraviolet rays and cigarette smoke. Others […]

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Most White Americans’ DNA Can Be Identified Through Genealogy Databases

The genetic genealogy industry is booming. In recent years, more than 15 million people have offered up their DNA — a cheek swab, some saliva in a test-tube — to services such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com in pursuit of answers about their heritage. In exchange for a genetic fingerprint, individuals may find a birth parent, […]

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Trilobites: Hidden Kingdoms of the Ancient Maya Revealed in a 3-D Laser Map

Hidden pyramids and massive fortresses in the jungle. Farms and canals scattered across swamplands. Highways traversing thickets of rain forest. These are among more than 61,000 ancient Mayan structures swallowed by overgrowth in the tropical lowlands of Guatemala that archaeologists have finally uncovered using a laser mapping technology called lidar. The discoveries, published Thursday in […]

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Trilobites: Killer Whales Face Dire PCBs Threat

Most people thought the problem of polychlorinated biphenyls — known as PCBs — had been solved. Some countries began banning the toxic chemicals in the 1970s and 1980s, and worldwide production was ended with the 2001 Stockholm Convention. But a new study based on modeling shows that they’re lingering in the blubber of killer whales […]

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Trilobites: Watch Plants Light Up When They Get Attacked

Plants have no eyes, no ears, no mouth and no hands. They do not have a brain or a nervous system. Muscles? Forget them. They’re stuck where they started, soaking up the sun and sucking up nutrients from the soil. And yet, when something comes around to eat them, they sense it. And they fight […]

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Settling Arguments About Hydrogen With 168 Giant Lasers

With gentle pulses from gigantic lasers, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California transformed hydrogen into droplets of shiny liquid metal. Their research, reported on Thursday in the journal Science, could improve understanding of giant gas planets like Jupiter and Saturn whose interiors are believed to be awash with liquid metallic hydrogen. The findings […]

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