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21,127 articles from ScienceNOW

Oldest ever ice offers glimpse of Earth before the ice ages

VIENNA— Samples of eerie blue glacial ice from Antarctica are a staggering 6 million years old, scientists announced last week, doubling the previous record for Earth’s oldest ice. The ice opens a new window on Earth’s ancient climate—one that isn’t exactly what scientists expected. Bubbles in the ice trap...

U.S. government in hot seat for response to growing cow flu outbreak

In early March, veterinarian Barb Peterson noticed the dairy cows she cared for on a Texas farm looked sick and produced less milk, and that it was off-color and thick. Birds and cats on the farm were dying, too. Peterson contacted Kay Russo at Novonesis, a company that helps farms keep their animals healthy and productive. “I said, you know, I may sound like a crazy, tinfoil...

Forced to eat bat feces, chimps could spread deadly viruses to humans

On a sunny day 7 years ago in the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda, researchers were startled to observe chimpanzees scoop dry bat feces from under a hollow tree and devour it. In 60 years of observations at Budongo, no one had ever seen such a thing, recalls veterinary epidemiologist Tony Goldberg of the University of Wisconsin—Madison. “Aside from the ick factor, we all had the...


SATURDAY 20. APRIL 2024


Where did Earth’s oddball ‘quasi-moon’ come from? Scientists pinpoint famed lunar crater

Astronomers suspect an unusual near-Earth rocky object is not a typical escapee from the Solar System’s asteroid belt, but is instead a chunk of the Moon blasted into space eons ago by a spectacular impact. Now, a team of researchers has modeled what sort of lunar impact could have ejected such a gobbet of Moon and deposit it in a stable, nearby orbit. Surprisingly, only one strong...


FRIDAY 19. APRIL 2024


Africa intensifies battle against mpox as ‘alarming’ outbreaks continue

Researchers and public health officials in Africa are intensifying their battle against mpox, a neglected infectious disease that long has circulated on the continent and suddenly gained notoriety in 2022 when it started to spread rapidly in Europe and North America. At a meeting last week in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, scientists from there and nine other affected African countries...

Anonymizing research funding applications could reduce ‘prestige privilege’

For research funders seeking to minimize bias in their selection process, removing applicants’ institutional affiliations from their submissions could help address a common disparity: disproportionate funding going to those at the most prestigious places. That’s the finding from researchers at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, who reported last month in eLife...


THURSDAY 18. APRIL 2024


Controversial wolf killing appears to help caribou, but concerns persist

Since 2015, a slaughter has unfolded in the mountains of British Columbia, all in the name of saving southern mountain caribous, classified as threatened in Canada. Each winter, sharpshooters hired by the provincial government kill hundreds of wolves from low-flying helicopters, sometimes using a tracking collar attached to a “Judas wolf” that leads them to other pack members. Nearly...

Bacteria found in mosquito guts could help scientists fight dengue, Zika

A team in China probing the guts of local mosquitoes has found a potential helper in the fight against two human diseases. Researchers identified a new bacterium that disables the viruses responsible for dengue and Zika before they can establish an infection in the insects. Although early stage, the work, reported this week in Science , paves the way for...

Charred bones are signs of Maya ritual to erase past rulers

In 2022, Christina Halperin was excavating a pile of rubble in a Maya pyramid at a Guatemalan site called Ucanal. As she sorted through thousands of shattered greenstones, seashells, and obsidian pieces, she noticed something peculiar. “This soil was so sooty and full of carbon,” the University of Montreal archaeologist recalls. “You couldn’t excavate … you couldn’t be...


WEDNESDAY 17. APRIL 2024


Striking Amazonian butterfly is result of ancient hybrid event

When separate species mate, it’s often an evolutionary dead end. Even if breeding succeeds, it can lead to infertile offspring, such as mules, or to the two species gradually merging into one as they interbreed over generations. An Amazonian butterfly species represents a rare third scenario. In a study out today in Nature , researchers report that...

New initiative aims to bolster funding for scientists in war-torn Ukraine

WASHINGTON, D.C.— For astrophysicist David Spergel, teaching at a summer school about data science in August 2023 in Ukraine was a “surreal” experience. At times, utterly normal—smart students and collegial dinners in the charming cobblestoned city of Lviv. But punctuated by sirens and cellphone alerts warning of Russian missile attacks that compelled attendees to seek...

Should researchers use AI to write papers? Group aims for community-driven standards

When and how should text-generating artificial intelligence (AI) programs such as ChatGPT help write research papers? In the coming months, 4000 researchers from a variety of disciplines and countries will weigh in on guidelines that could be adopted widely across academic publishing, which has been grappling with chatbots and other AI issues for the past year and a half ....


TUESDAY 16. APRIL 2024


Plans to expand African vaccine production face steep hurdles

In March 2022, when the pandemic was still raging, the messenger RNA (mRNA) company Moderna announced it would build a $500 million plant in Kenya to manufacture half a billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine annually. “ This is major ,” Kenyan President William Ruto said at the time. The plant would help reduce Africa’s dependence on vaccines produced elsewhere, Ruto...

Young toads are teaching Australian lizards to avoid deadly snacks

Releasing 200,000 eggs and young of a toxic invasive species might seem to be a sure way to make a bad situation worse. But by doing just that in Western Australia, conservation biologists have begun to rescue the region’s largest lizard. Yellow spotted monitor lizards usually die after eating a single adult cane toad, an introduced pest with toxic skin secretions that has...

Giant planets ran amok soon after Solar System’s birth

In its youth, the Solar System underwent a momentous upheaval: Gravitational tugs between the giant planets threw them off-track, causing Jupiter’s orbit to jump closer to the Sun, while Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were flung outward. The gravity of the rampaging giants scattered Pluto and other icy bodies to the Kuiper belt, shepherded the asteroid belt into its current location, and...

Researchers need ‘open’ bibliographic databases, new declaration says

When universities are deciding whom to hire and promote, or grant organizations are selecting projects to fund, there’s a good chance they’re referencing more than just the application materials. Many organizations rely on databases that compile publication information including authors, affiliations, citations, and funding sources to create metrics meant to quantify a researcher’s...

Amid budget crunch, NASA seeks Hail Mary on Mars Sample Return

NASA’s Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission may be the most audacious robotic exploration campaign ever conceived: a multimission attempt to collect rock samples from the Red Planet and get them back to laboratories on Earth. But it is also exorbitantly expensive: A review last year found it could cost as much as $11 billion. Today, NASA’s leadership revealed that...


MONDAY 15. APRIL 2024


People with complicated pregnancies may suffer health problems, die early

Preterm births are a well-known hazard for babies—who can require months and sometimes years of extra care—but far less attention is paid to the people who deliver them. Now, a new analysis of more than 2 million pregnancies over 4 decades finds those parents need consideration, too: Even years later, people who experienced some common pregnancy complications had a higher risk of...

Deadly marine ‘cold spells’ could become more frequent with climate change, scientists warn

In March 2021, a grisly scene materialized on the beaches of South Africa. Giant bat-winged manta rays sprawled belly up on rocks. Hulking bull sharks lay dead in the sand. Puffer fish littered shorelines like deflated footballs. Such fish kills are usually triggered by hot water, low oxygen, or toxic algae blooms. But this time it was a surprising culprit. In the middle of the...


FRIDAY 12. APRIL 2024


Hiring ban disrupts research at Florida universities

When Zhengfei Guan, an agricultural economist at the University of Florida (UF), advertised for a new postdoc last summer, one applicant from China quickly rose to the top of the pile. But after being offered the job, the young scholar decided he didn’t want to work in Florida. His change of heart was triggered by a new Florida law prohibiting the state’s 12...

Brightest gamma ray burst of all time emerged from collapsing star

A burst of gamma rays more than 10 times brighter than any detected before struck Earth in October 2022, searing the atmosphere , wowing astronomers, and earning the nickname of the BOAT—the brightest of all time. Now, astronomers using NASA’s JWST orbiting observatory have identified the source of the blast—and stumbled on a new puzzle. As theorists...

Bonobos, the ‘hippie chimps,’ might not be so mellow after all

It was 5 a.m., and Maud Mouginot was waiting for the Sun to rise over the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve. Suddenly, two male bonobos—close relatives of chimpanzees—came hurtling out of the darkness, one rushing through the trees, the other giving chase. The terrified cries of the fleeing male suggested this was no friendly game of tag. Mouginot, a biological anthropologist at Boston...