Tag: your-feed-science

They’re Smelly and Spiky, and They Need Bats to Pollinate Them

Known as the world’s smelliest fruit, durians are also essential to the farming economy of Indonesia. Although repulsive to many Western noses — some compare the smell to rotting trash — durians command the highest unit price of any fruit in Indonesia, with an export value of more than $250 million in 2013. Hoping to […]

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A Deep-Sea Magma Monster Gets a Body Scan

This summer, the 235-foot research vessel Marcus G. Langseth set out into the ocean off the Pacific Northwest. Trailing the ship were four electronic serpents, each five miles in length. These cables were adorned with scientific instruments able to peer into the beating heart of a monster a mile below the waves: Axial Seamount, a […]

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How Life on Our Planet Made It Through Snowball Earth

Today, the world is warming. But from about 720 to 635 million years ago, temperatures swerved the other way as the planet became encased in ice during the two ice ages known as Snowball Earth. It happened fast, and within just a few thousand years or so, ice stretched over both land and sea, from […]

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Fire Blight Spreads Northward, Threatening Apple Orchards

GENEVA, N.Y. — Across the country, hundreds of kinds of apples were meticulously developed by orchardists over the last couple of centuries and then, as farms and groves were abandoned and commercial production greatly narrowed the number of varieties for sale, many were forgotten. Some of this horticultural biodiversity, though, has been nurtured by dedicated […]

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Studying Sea Snakes? Time to Call the ‘Fantastic Grandmothers’

Just over 1,000 miles from the coast of Australia lies New Caledonia, an island archipelago where the waters teem with life. This French territory, in the heart of the Coral Sea, is home to over 9,300 marine species, including dugongs, manta rays and venomous sea snakes. Among them is the greater sea snake, which can […]

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M.R.I.s Can Better Detect Cancer in Women With Dense Breasts, Study Finds

Many women who have mammograms get normal results that come with a caveat: They are told they have dense breast tissue, which can make their scans harder to read and could leave cancer undetected. Sometimes those patients are advised to follow up by getting ultrasounds or magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.) scans, but for many, it […]

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Blue Whale Hearts May Beat Only Twice a Minute During a Dive

Blue whales have a flair for paradox. They live in water but breathe air. They’re enormous — the biggest creatures that have ever lived, as far as anyone knows — but subsist almost entirely on tiny krill. And as new research reveals, even the animal’s dunk tank-size heart jumps between extremes. In a study published […]

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Is This the First Fossil of an Embryo?

A creature called Caveasphaera lived in China 609 million years ago, and it left behind fossils that resemble tiny grains of sand. But as innocuous as those fossils appear, they may speak volumes about our own evolutionary history. Under a microscope, the fossils turn out to be clusters of hundreds or thousands of cells. Were […]

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How Stalagmites Get Their Shapes

Plop. Plop. Water drips from stalactites hanging from cave ceilings. Each successive drop adds a thin layer of minerals to a growing stalagmite below. These remarkable structures are found on the floors of caves all over the world. Although they grow only a fraction of an inch each year, they serve as record keepers of […]

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Don’t Get Mad, but ‘Hangry’ Isn’t Really Angry

The morning walk before a holiday meal can feel like an act of advance penance: a show of restraint before the feast, best performed under a pale sun, amid a lonely scatter of leaves and with a determination to keep the campfire in sight. March off too slowly — or too far — and you’ll […]

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Seeking a New Lens to Study Same-Sex Behavior in Animals

Male field crickets perform mating songs and dances for each other. Female Japanese macaque monkeys pair off into temporary but exclusive sexual partnerships. Pairs of male box crabs occasionally indulge in days-long marathon sex sessions. Comparable arrangements can be found in damselflies, Humboldt squid, garter snakes, penguins and cattle. In fact over 1,500 species across […]

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In Praise of Lumpy Gravy From the Cosmic Kitchen

As Thanksgiving approaches, would-be chefs and hosts, including apparently my editors, are perfecting their techniques for making the all-important gravy for the turkey and potatoes. I have my moments as a cook — come over for my stardust waffles some Sunday morning — but I have never had the patience or skill to master gravy, […]

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‘I Have a Ph.D. in Not Having Money’

David Velasquez learned his first clinical lesson early on: The health care system wasn’t made to care for people like him. Mr. Velasquez, 24, never had a primary care physician, because his parents, immigrants from Nicaragua, couldn’t afford the bills. When he was 12, his undocumented godmother died of cancer, having avoided hospitals until it […]

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Scientists Created Fake Rhino Horn. But Should We Use It?

In Africa, 892 rhinos were poached for their horns in 2018, down from a high of 1,349 killed in 2015. The decline in deaths is encouraging, but conservationists agree that poaching still poses a dire threat to Africa’s rhino population, which hovers around 24,500 animals. Now, in the hopes of driving down the value of […]

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Historians Find Another Spy in the U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexican desert — a result of a highly secretive effort code-named the Manhattan Project, whose nerve center lay nearby in Los Alamos. Just 49 months later, the Soviets detonated a nearly identical device in Central Asia, and Washington’s monopoly on nuclear […]

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Dogs Can’t Help Falling in Love

TEMPE, Ariz. — Xephos is not the author of “Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You,” one of the latest books to plumb the nature of dogs, but she helped inspire it. And as I scratched behind her ears, it was easy to see why. First, she fixed on me with imploring […]

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First the Worm Gets in the Bug’s Head. Then the Bug Drowns Itself.

A few years back, Ryan Herbison, then a graduate student in parasitology at the University of Otago, painstakingly collected about 1,300 earwigs and more than 2,500 sandhoppers from gardens and a beach in New Zealand. Then, he dissected and examined the insides of their heads. This macabre scavenger hunt was in search of worms that […]

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When Snakes Had Use for a Pair of Legs

Snakes, with their sleek bodies and kaleidoscopic diversity, have long entranced humans. But we know very little about the evolutionary past of these legless lizards because of a scarcity of fossils left by snake ancestors that shared the earth with dinosaurs. That’s why recently excavated snake fossils from Argentina, described in a study published Wednesday […]

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How the Brain Can Rewire Itself After Half of It Is Removed

Shortly after the birth of her first son, Monika Jones learned that he had a rare neurological condition that made one side of his brain abnormally large. Her son, Henry, endured hundreds of seizures a day. Despite receiving high doses of medication, his little body seemed like a rag doll as one episode blended into […]

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Scientists Are Just Beginning to Understand Mysterious DNA Circles Common in Cancer Cells

There’s no image in biology more iconic than our chromosomes — all 23 pairs of DNA bundles arrayed in a genetic lineup. But in a surprising number of cases, this picture leaves out something very important. In some cells, extra circles of DNA float alongside the regular chromosomes. Scientists first noticed this so-called extrachromosomal DNA […]

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Watch Bees Surf to Safety on Waves They Create

If their honey-making and pollination prowess weren’t enough, there’s a new reason to appreciate honeybees: They’re world-class surfers. Beyond pollinating flowers, worker bees — which are all females — are given the job of searching for water to cool their hives. But if they fall into ponds, their wings get wet and can’t be used […]

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