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60-Second Science

500 EpisodesProduced by Scientific AmericanWebsite

Leading science journalists cover some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a deeper audio dive you can subscribe to Science Talk. To view all of our archived podcasts please go to

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COVID, Quickly, Episode 15: Booster Shot Approvals--plus Vaccines for Kids?

September 24th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks, Scientific American ’s senior health editors Tanya Lewis and Josh Fischman catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Dinosaurs Lived--and Made Little Dinos--in the Arctic

September 21st, 2021


New research shows that the prehistoric giants were even cooler than we thought

During a Rodent Quadrathlon, Researchers Learn That Ground Squirrels Have Personalities

September 17th, 2021


The rodents’ personalities may help them to secure territory and avoid prey.

A Car Crash Snaps the Daydreaming Mind into Focus

September 15th, 2021


One researcher’s poorly timed attention lapse flipped a car—and pushed science forward.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 14: Best Masks, Explaining Mask Anger, Biden's New Plan

September 10th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks, Scientific American ’s senior health editors Tanya Lewis and Josh Fischman catch you up on the essential developments in the …

The Kavli Prize Presents: Understanding Atoms [Sponsored]

September 9th, 2021


Gerd Binnig shared The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in 2016 for inventing the atomic force microscope. What transformative impact has this invention had on nanoscience?

In Missouri, a Human 'Bee' Works to Better Understand Climate Change's Effects

September 8th, 2021


Researcher Matthew Austin has become a wildflower pollinator, sans the wings.

These Baby Bats, like Us, Were Born to Babble

September 3rd, 2021


The greater sac-winged bat develops its own language in much the way we do.

Their Lives Have Been Upended by Hurricane Ida

August 31st, 2021


Theresa and Donald Dardar lived their whole lives in coastal Louisiana. They knew the “big one” might come someday. It did, and now everything is …

COVID, Quickly, Episode 13: Vaccine Approval, Breakthrough Infections, Boosters

August 27th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks, Scientific American ’s senior health editors Tanya Lewis and Josh Fischman catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Flexible Microprocessor Could Enable an 'Internet of Everything'

August 24th, 2021


Researchers have developed a microprocessor built on high-performance plastic rather than silicon—and they say it could enable smarter food labels …

Years Before COVID-19, Zombies Helped Prepare One Hospital System for the Real Pandemic

August 20th, 2021


An educational experiment used escape rooms and the undead to set the stage for a terrible situation that would become all too real

The Incredible, Reanimated 24,000-Year-Old Rotifer

August 17th, 2021


The last time this tiny wheel animalcule was moving around, woolly mammoths roamed the earth.

Astronomers Find an Unexpected Bumper Crop of Black Holes

August 12th, 2021


In trying to explain the spectacular star trails of the star cluster Palomar 5, astronomers stumbled on a very large trove of black holes.

Inside Millions of Invisible Droplets, Potential Superbug Killers Grow

August 10th, 2021


New research has created microscopic antibiotic factories in droplets that measure a trillionth of liter in volume.

The Secret behind Songbirds' Magnetic Migratory Sense

August 4th, 2021


A molecule found in the retinas of European robins seems to be able to sense weak magnetic fields, such as that of Earth, after it is exposed to …

COVID, Quickly, Episode 12: Masking Up Again and Why People Refuse Shots

July 30th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks, Scientific American ’s senior health editors Tanya Lewis and Josh Fischman catch you up on the essential developments in the …

The Kavli Prize Presents: Understanding Touch [Sponsored]

July 22nd, 2021


Ardem Patapoutian shared The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2020 for answering a basic question: How does touch actually work?

Moths Have an Acoustic Invisibility Cloak to Stay under Bats' Radar

July 21st, 2021


New research finds they fly around on noise-cancelling wings

COVID, Quickly, Episode 11: Vaccine Booster Shots, and Reopening Offices Safely

July 16th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Your Brain Does Something Amazing between Bouts of Intense Learning

July 7th, 2021


New research shows that lightning-quick neural rehearsal can supercharge learning and memory.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 10: Long Haulers, Delta Woes and Barbershop Shots

July 1st, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

This Newly Discovered Species of Tree Hyrax Goes Bark in the Night

June 23rd, 2021


A study makes the case for the new species based on its looks, genes and sounds

COVID, Quickly, Episode 9: Delta Variant, Global Vaccine Shortfalls, Beers for Shots

June 18th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Animal Kids Listen to Their Parents Even before Birth

June 16th, 2021


Human children: please take note of the behavior of prebirth zebra finches

For African Elephants, Pee Could Be a Potent Trail Marker

June 11th, 2021


Scientists found that elephants often sniff pathways—and seem especially attuned to urine.

A 'Universal' Coronavirus Vaccine to Prevent the Next Pandemic

June 9th, 2021


A pan-coronavirus vaccine could be “one vaccine to rule them all,” and so far it has shown strong results in mice, hamsters, monkeys, horses and even …

COVID, Quickly, Episode 8: The Pandemic's True Death Toll and the Big Lab-Leak Debate

June 4th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Puppies Understand You Even at a Young Age, Most Adorable Study of the Year Confirms

June 3rd, 2021


Researchers in the happiest lab in the world tested 375 pups and found they connected with people by eight weeks

New 3-D-Printed Material Is Tough, Flexible--and Alive

June 2nd, 2021


Made from microalgae and bacteria, the new substance can survive for three days without feeding. It could one day be used to build living garments, …

Bats on Helium Reveal an Innate Sense of the Speed of Sound

May 28th, 2021


A new experiment shows that bats are born with a fixed reference for the speed of sound—and living in lighter air can throw it off.

The Dirty Secret behind Some of the World's Earliest Microscopes

May 26th, 2021


Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek made extraordinary observations of blood cells, sperm cells and bacteria with his microscopes. But it turns …

COVID, Quickly, Episode 7: The Coming Pandemic Grief Wave, and Mask Whiplash

May 21st, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Math and Sleuthing Help to Explain Epidemics of the Past

May 20th, 2021


One mathematician has spend decades uncovering the deadly calculations of pestilence and plague, sometimes finding data that were hiding in plain …

Who Laps Whom on the Walking Track--Tyrannosaurus rex or You? Science Has a New Answer

May 14th, 2021


An analysis of the animal’s walking speed suggests that T. rex ’s walking pace was close to that of a human. It’s too bad the king of the dinosaurs didn’t just walk when hungry.

Artificial Light Keeps Mosquitoes Biting Late into the Night

May 11th, 2021


It is like when your cell phone keeps you awake in bed—except mosquitoes do not doom scroll when they stay up, they feast on your blood.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 6: The Real Reason for India's Surge and Mask Liftoff

May 7th, 2021


Today we bring you a new episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the …

Male Lyrebirds Lie to Get Sex

May 4th, 2021


It seems like the males will do anything, even fake nearby danger, to get females to stick around to mate.

Lovebirds Adore Our Inefficient Air-Conditioning

April 27th, 2021


The rosy-faced lovebirds that live in Phoenix appear to be free riding on our urban climate control.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 5: Vaccine Safety in Pregnancy, Blood Clots and Long-Haul Realities

April 23rd, 2021


Today we bring you the fifth episode in our podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in …

Beehives Are Held Together by Their Mutual Gut Microbes

April 20th, 2021


New research shows that members of a bee colony all have the same gut microbiome, which controls their smell—and thus their ability to separate …

These Endangered Birds Are Forgetting Their Songs

April 16th, 2021


Australia’s critically endangered regent honeyeaters are losing what amounts to their culture—and that could jeopardize their success at landing a …

To Fight Climate Change: Grow a Floating Forest, Then Sink It

April 12th, 2021


A fast-growing front in the battle against climate change is focused on developing green technologies aimed at reducing humankind’s carbon footprint, …

COVID, Quickly, Episode 4: The Virtual Vaccine Line and Shots for Kids

April 9th, 2021


Today we bring you the fourth episode in a new podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments …

Big Physics News: The Muon g-2 Experiment Explained

April 7th, 2021


Particles called muons are behaving weirdly, and that could mean a huge discovery.

Boston's Pigeons Coo, 'Wicked'; New York's Birds Coo, 'Fuhgeddaboudit'

April 5th, 2021


The two cities’ rock doves are genetically distinct, research shows.

Imperiled Freshwater Turtles Are Eating Plastics--Science Is Just Revealing the Threat

March 31st, 2021


We know a lot about how sea turtles are threatened by our trash, but new research has just uncovered an underreported threat hiding inside lakes and rivers.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 3: Vaccine Inequality--plus Your Body the Variant Fighter

March 26th, 2021


Today we bring you the third episode in a new podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments …

Using Dragonflies as Contamination Detectors

March 24th, 2021


By collecting the larvae of the fast flyers, researchers have turned the insects into “biosentinels” that can track mercury pollution across the …

Smartphones Can Hear the Shape of Your Door Keys

March 18th, 2021


Can you pick a lock with just a smartphone? New research shows that doing so is possible.

Chimpanzees Show Altruism while Gathering around the Juice Fountain

March 16th, 2021


New research tries to tease out whether our closest animal relatives can be selfless

COVID, Quickly, Episode 2: Lessons from a Pandemic Year

March 11th, 2021


Today we bring you the second episode in a new podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks,  Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis  and  Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments …

That Mouse in Your House--It's Smarter, Thanks to You

March 9th, 2021


Scientists studied three varieties of house mice and found that those who had lived alongside humans the longest were also the craftiest at solving …

Kangaroos with Puppy Dog Eyes

March 4th, 2021


New research shows that when faced with an impossible task, the marsupials look to humans for help.

COVID, Quickly, Episode 1: Vaccines, Variants and Diabetes

February 26th, 2021


Today we begin a new podcast series: COVID, Quickly. Every two weeks, Scientific American ’s senior health editors  Tanya Lewis and Josh Fischman  catch you up on the essential developments in the pandemic: from …

Machine Learning Pwns Old-School Atari Games

February 25th, 2021


You can call it the “revenge of the computer scientist.” An algorithm that made headlines for mastering the notoriously difficult Atari 2600 game …

E-Eggs Track Turtle Traffickers

February 23rd, 2021


Decoy sea turtle eggs containing tracking tech are new weapons against beach poachers and traffickers.

Bromances Could Lead to More Romances for Male Hyenas

February 10th, 2021


Spotted hyena males do not fight for mates, so how are certain males shut out of the mating game?

A Heroic Effort to Measure Helium

February 5th, 2021


After an intense game of cat and mouse with different particles, atomic physicists have measured the radius of the helium nucleus five times more precisely than before. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from around the World

February 2nd, 2021


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one from Costa Rica about decoy sea turtle eggs with the …

Scientists Take a Cattle Head Count in India

January 28th, 2021


The research team determined that the city of Raipur in central India has at least one street cow for every 54 human residents. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Ancient Dogs Had Complex Genetic Histories

January 22nd, 2021


Some dog population genetics show similarities to ours, such as in the ability to digest grains. But other lineages differ.  

Bees Use 'Bullshit' Defense to Keep Giant Hornets at Bay

January 11th, 2021


The prospect of death by giant hornet has pushed some Asian honeybees to resort to a poop-based defense system

Humans May Have Befriended Wolves with Meat

January 8th, 2021


Unlike humans, wolves can subsist on protein alone for months—so scientists say we may have lobbed leaner leftovers their way. Christopher Intagliata …

How to Avoid Becoming a Meal for a Cheetah

January 6th, 2021


Researchers help farmers in Namibia avoid costly cattle losses by tracking big cat hangouts

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Shaped Our Language in 2020

January 1st, 2021


Linguist Ben Zimmer says the pandemic has turned us all into amateur epidemiologists utilizing terms such as “superspreader” and “asymptomatic.” …

Science News Briefs from around the Planet

December 29th, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one from Panama about the toll lightning takes on tropical …

Ravens Measure Up to Great Apes on Intelligence

December 22nd, 2020


Juvenile ravens performed just as well as chimps and orangutans in a battery of intelligence tests—except for assays of spatial skills. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Baby Bees Deprive Caregivers of Sleep

December 22nd, 2020


Bee larvae and pupae appear to secrete a chemical that does the work of a late-night cup of coffee for their nurses.

How the Wolves Change the Forest

December 17th, 2020


New research tracked the canines in northern Minnesota for years to see just how they reshape their ecosystems.
Audio of wolves inside Voyageurs …

Brain Sides Are Both Busy in New Language Learning

December 17th, 2020


A study of adults learning a new language found that speaking primarily activated regions in the left side of the brain, but reading and listening …

Eye Treatment Stretches Mouse Sight Beyond Visible Spectrum

December 12th, 2020


Nanoparticles that attach to photoreceptors allowed mice to see infrared and near-infrared light for up to two months.

This Bat Wears a Face Mask

December 12th, 2020


The wrinkle-faced bat covers its face with a flap of skin, seemingly as part of its courtship rituals.

The Denisovans Expand Their Range into China

December 3rd, 2020


Evidence of the ancient humans was limited to a cave in Siberia. But now scientists have found genetic remains of the Denisovans in China. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Undersea Earthquakes Reveal Sound Warming Info

November 30th, 2020


Travel time differences for sound waves produced by undersea earthquakes in the same place at different times can provide details about ocean warming.

Duckbill Dino Odyssey Ended in Africa

November 24th, 2020


A duckbill dinosaur jawbone found in Morocco means that dinosaurs crossed a large body of water to reach Africa.  

Early Mammals Had Social Lives, Too

November 19th, 2020


Chipmunklike animals that lived among the dinosaurs appear to have been social creatures, which suggests that sociality arose in mammals earlier than scientists thought. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from All Over

November 18th, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one, from the dormant volcano Llullaillaco in Chile, about …

Divide and Conquer Could Be Good COVID Strategy

November 13th, 2020


COVID might be fought efficiently with fewer shutdowns by restricting activities only in a particular area with a population up to 200,000 when its …

Zebra Coloration Messes With Fly Eyes

November 10th, 2020


Horseflies misjudge landings on zebra patterns, compared with solid gray or black surfaces, which provides evidence for why evolution came up with …

Science Sound(E)scapes: Head Banging and Howling in the Amazon

November 6th, 2020


Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in …

Science Sound(E)scapes: Amazon Frog Choruses at Night

November 5th, 2020


Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in …

Science Sound(E)scapes: Amazon Pink River Dolphins

November 4th, 2020


Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in …

Frog Vocals Lead to Small Preference

November 3rd, 2020


The concave-eared torrent frog's unusual ear anatomy lets it hear high-frequency calls, which gives a mating advantage to the littler males that sing soprano.

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

November 3rd, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from the United Arab Emirates about the the first …

Election Science Stakes: Technology

November 1st, 2020


We wrap up our preelection series with Scientific American senior editor Jen Schwartz, who talks about the possible effects of the election results …

Election Science Stakes: Energy

October 30th, 2020


Scientific American senior editor Mark Fischetti and associate editor Andrea Thompson talk about this election and the future of U.S. energy research …

Election Science Stakes: Environment

October 30th, 2020


Scientific American senior editor Mark Fischetti talks about how this election will affect environmental science and policy.

Election Science Stakes: Climate

October 29th, 2020


Scientific American ’s associate editor for sustainability Andrea Thompson talks about how climate science and policy will be affected by this …

Election Science Stakes: Medicine and Public Health

October 28th, 2020


Scientific American ’s senior medicine editor Josh Fischman talks about issues in medicine and public health that will be affected by this election.

Election 2020: The Stakes for Science

October 27th, 2020


Scientific American ’s editor in chief sets up this week’s series of podcasts about how this election could affect science, technology and medicine.

Why Some Easter Island Statues Are Where They Are

October 26th, 2020


Many of the statues not along the coast are in places that featured a resource vital to the communities that lived and worked there.

Acorn Woodpeckers Fight Long, Bloody Territorial Wars

October 24th, 2020


More than 40 of the birds, in coalitions of three or four, may fight for days over oak trees in which to store their acorns.

Funky Cheese Rinds Release an Influential Stench

October 23rd, 2020


The volatile compounds released by microbial communities on cheese rinds shape and shift a cheese’s microbiome. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Dinosaur Asteroid Hit Worst-Case Place

October 22nd, 2020


The mass-extinction asteroid happened to strike an area where the rock contained a lot of organic matter and sent soot into the stratosphere, where …

River Ecosystem Restoration Can Mean Just Add Water

October 20th, 2020


Planners returned water to the dry bed of Arizona’s Santa Cruz River in 2019, and various species began showing up on the same day.

3,000-Year-Old Orbs Provide a Glimpse of Ancient Sport

October 18th, 2020


Researchers say three ancient leather balls, dug up from the tombs of horsemen in northwestern China, are the oldest such specimens from Europe or …

Humans Make Wild Animals Less Wary

October 16th, 2020


From mammals to mollusks, animals living among humans lose their antipredator behaviors.

Play Helped Dogs Be Our Best Friends

October 13th, 2020


The ancestors of today’s dogs already exhibited some playfulness, which became a key trait during domestication.

Neandertal DNA May Be COVID Risk

October 11th, 2020


A stretch of Neandertal DNA has been associated with some cases of severe COVID-19, but it’s unclear how much of a risk it poses. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Nobelist Talks CRISPR Uses

October 8th, 2020


New Nobel laureate in chemistry Jennifer Doudna talks about various applications of the gene-editing tool CRISPR.

Blue Whale Song Timing Reveals Time to Go

October 7th, 2020


Blue whales off California’s coast sing at night—until it’s time to start migrating, and they switch to daytime song.

New Nobel Laureate Talks Today's Virology

October 6th, 2020


Charles Rice, who today shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, talked about how rapidly …

Greenland Is Melting Faster Than Any Time in Past 12,000 Years

October 4th, 2020


Researchers determined that Greenland is on track to lose more ice this century than during any of the previous 120 centuries. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Sloths Slowly Cavort by Day Now

October 3rd, 2020


The disappearance of their predators in a disturbed ecosystem has turned Atlantic forest sloths from night creatures to day adventurers.

Dinosaurs Got Cancer, Too

September 29th, 2020


Researchers seeking evidence for cancer in dinosaurs found it in a collection of bones at a paleontology museum in Alberta.

Fluttering Feathers Could Spawn New Species

September 25th, 2020


Fork-tailed flycatchers make a fluttering sound with their wings—but separate subspecies have different “dialects” of fluttering. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News from around the World

September 22nd, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from Israel about what DNA reveals about the Dead Sea Scrolls’ …

These Small Mammals Snort to a Different Tune

September 18th, 2020


Hyraxes, which live in Africa and the Middle East, punctuate their songs with snorts. And the snorts appear to reflect the animals’ emotional state. …

Ice Age Temperatures Help Predict Future Warming

September 17th, 2020


Scientists determined that temperatures were 11 degrees cooler during the last ice age—and that finding has implications for modern-day warming. …

High-Elevation Hummingbirds Evolved a Temperature Trick

September 15th, 2020


Hummingbirds in the Peruvian Andes enter a state of torpor at night to conserve energy, dipping their body temperature to as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Why Pet Pigs Are More like Wolves Than Dogs

September 14th, 2020


Given an impossible task, a dog will ask a human for help, but a wolf will not seek help—and neither will a pet pig.

Bricks Can Be Turned into Batteries

September 10th, 2020


Pumping cheap iron-oxide-rich red bricks with specific vapors that form polymers enables the bricks to become electrical-charge-storage devices.

Leftovers Are a Food-Waste Problem

September 10th, 2020


Researchers found that leftovers are likely to end up in the trash, so they advise cooking smaller meals in the first place to avoid food waste. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Some Dinosaurs Probably Nested in Arctic

September 9th, 2020


The finding of a baby dinosaur fossil in the Arctic implies that some dinos nested in the region, which was milder than today but not toasty.

Star Systems Can Be Born Topsy-Turvy

September 4th, 2020


Astronomers observed an odd triple-star system that offers clues about misaligned planetary orbits. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Death by Lightning Is Common for Tropical Trees

September 2nd, 2020


A study estimates that 200 million trees in the tropics are mowed down by lightning annually.

Science Briefs from around the World

September 1st, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from Antarctica about how there’s something funny about penguin …

Alaska's Salmon Are Shrinking

August 29th, 2020


Every year, Alaska’s big salmon runs feature smaller salmon. Climate change and competition with hatchery-raised salmon may be to blame. Julia Rosen …

End of 'Green Sahara' May Have Spurred a Megadrought in Southeast Asia

August 28th, 2020


That drought may have brought about societal shifts in the region 5,000 years ago. Christopher Intagliata reports.

White Rhinos Eavesdrop to Know Who's Who

August 26th, 2020


The finding could potentially help wildlife managers keep better tabs on their herds. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Prehistoric Marine Reptile Died after a Giant Meal

August 22nd, 2020


Researchers found extra bones within a 240-million-year-old ichthyosaur fossil—which they determined to be the ichthyosaur’s last, possibly fatal …

Cows with Eye Images Keep Predators in Arrears

August 19th, 2020


Butterflies, fish and frogs sport rear-end eyespots that reduce predation. Painting eye markings on cows similarly seems to ward off predators.

Warbler Species Fires Up Song Diversity

August 18th, 2020


Hermit warblers in California have developed 35 different song dialects, apparently as a result of wildfires temporarily driving them out of certain …

Why Lava Worlds Shine Brightly (It's Not the Lava)

August 13th, 2020


Scientists determined that “lava world” exoplanets do not derive their brightness from molten rock but possibly get it from reflective metallic …

Aardvarks Are Ailing amid Heat and Drought

August 12th, 2020


Climate change is expected to bring more frequent droughts and heat waves to Africa’s Kalahari Desert. And aardvarks might not be able to cope. Jason …

The World's Highest-Dwelling Mammal Lives atop a Volcano

August 7th, 2020


Scientists spotted a mouse at the summit of Llullaillaco, a 22,000-foot-tall volcano on the border of Chile and Argentina. Julia Rosen reports.

Dampening of the Senses Is Linked to Dementia Risk

August 5th, 2020


A decline in smell was the sense loss most strongly associated with such risk in a recent study. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Translucent Frog Optics Create Camo Color

August 4th, 2020


Rather than undergoing active chameleonlike color changes, glass frogs’ translucency allows light to bounce from their background and go through …

Paired Comparisons Could Mean Better Witness Identifications

August 3rd, 2020


Compared with traditional lineup techniques, a series of two-faces-at-a-time choices led to more accurate identification by study witnesses.

Foxes Have Dined on Our Leftovers for 30,000 Years

August 2nd, 2020


An analysis of fox fossils found evidence that they scavenged from wolf and bear kills until Homo sapiens supplied plenty of horse and reindeer …

Mexico Caves Reveal Ancient Ocher Mining

July 31st, 2020


Now submerged caves in the Yucatán Peninsula contain remains of ocher-mining operations that date back at least 10,000 years.

In Bee Shortage, Bubbles Could Help Pollinate

July 28th, 2020


Soap bubbles are sticky enough to carry a pollen payload and delicate enough to land on flowers without harm.

Science News Briefs from around the Planet

July 27th, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one about how a lizard population responded to hurricanes …

Seismologists Find the World Quieted Down during Pandemic Lockdowns

July 26th, 2020


COVID-19-related lockdowns dampened human activity around the globe—giving seismologists a rare glimpse of the earth’s quietest rumblings. …

Old Art Offers Agriculture Info

July 24th, 2020


Art museums are filled with centuries-old paintings with details of plants that today give us clues about evolution and breeding practices.

How COVID-19 Decreases Weather Forecast Accuracy

July 23rd, 2020


Meteorologists take advantage of weather data collected by commercial jetliners at different altitudes and locations. Fewer flights mean less data.

Cricket Avoids Being Bat Food by Doing Nothing

July 23rd, 2020


The sword-tailed cricket can discern bats’ echolocation signals by only responding to calls of a certain volume—at which point it plummets out of …

Speaker System Blocks City Noise

July 22nd, 2020


The system works like noise-cancelling headphones but fits over an open window. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Civil War Vaccine May Have Lessons for COVID-19

July 20th, 2020


Vaccination used against smallpox during the Civil War reveals the identity of the distantly related virus used to keep troops disease-free.

Can People ID Infectious Disease by Cough and Sneeze Sounds?

July 17th, 2020


Individuals aren’t very good at judging whether someone coughing or sneezing has an infectious condition or is simply reacting to something benign.

Why Some Birds Are Likely To Hit Buildings

July 14th, 2020


Those that eat insects, migrate or usually live in the woods are most likely to fly into buildings that feature a lot of glass.

Sparrow Song Undergoes Key Change

July 11th, 2020


White-throated sparrows made a change to their familiar call that quickly spread across Canada.

Polynesians and Native South Americans Made 12th-Century Contact

July 10th, 2020


Scientists have found snippets of Native South American DNA in the genomes of present-day Polynesians, and they trace the contact to the year 1150. …

Animals Appreciate Recent Traffic Lull

July 9th, 2020


Researchers saw a third fewer vehicle collisions with deer, elk, moose and other large mammals in the four weeks following COVID-19 shutdowns in …

Bat Says Hi as It Hunts

July 7th, 2020


Velvety free-tailed bats produce sounds that help them locate insect prey but simultaneously identify them to their companions.

Forests Getting Younger and Shorter

July 7th, 2020


Old, big trees are dying faster than in the past, leaving younger, less biodiverse forests that store less carbon worldwide.

Young Great White Sharks Eat off the Floor

July 3rd, 2020


The stomach contents of young great white sharks show that they spend a lot of time patrolling the seafloor for meals.

Tweets Reveal Politics of COVID-19 

July 1st, 2020


Political scientists analyzed congressional tweets and observed how Republicans and Democrats responded differently to the virus. Christopher …

Nature's Goods and Services Get Priced

July 1st, 2020


The gross ecosystem product, or GEP, tries to take into account the contribution of nature to the economy.

Animal Migrations Track Climate Change

June 30th, 2020


Many species are known to have changed their migration routes in response to the changing climate. They now include mule deer and Bewick’s swans.

Science Briefs from around the World

June 25th, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about a 70-million-year-old mollusk fossil that …

Stiffer Roads Could Drive Down Carbon Emissions

June 20th, 2020


By hardening the nation’s streets and highways, trucks would use less fuel and spare the planet carbon emissions. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Unicorns of the Sea Reveal Sound Activities

June 19th, 2020


Narwhals, recognizable by their large single tusk, make distinct sounds that are now being analyzed in depth by researchers.

Human Speech Evolution Gets Lip-Smacking Evidence

June 17th, 2020


A study of our closest evolutionary relatives finds that the chimp behavior known as lip smacking occurs in the same timing range as human mouths …

Printed Coral Could Provide Reef Relief

June 16th, 2020


Three-dimensional printed coral-like structures were able to support the algae that live in real corals, which could help restore reefs and grow …

'Snot Palaces' Reveal Undersea Creature Secrets

June 12th, 2020


Scientists are studying the delicate mucus houses built by creatures called larvaceans to better understand how they live. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19 Worries

June 10th, 2020


The psychological state of children may need special attention during COVID-19 impacts and isolation.

Ancient DNA Rewrites Dead Sea Scroll History

June 9th, 2020


By sequencing DNA from the dust of dead sea scrolls, scientists were able to glean new clues about the ancient manuscripts. Christopher Intagliata …

Whale Protections Need Not Cause Lobstering Losses

June 8th, 2020


Right whales, other whales and turtles get caught in lobster trap lines, but fewer lines can maintain the same lobster catch levels.

How to Keep COVID-19 Conspiracies Contained

June 7th, 2020


An expert on climate denial offers tips for inoculating people against coronavirus conspiracy notions.

Bioluminescence Helps Prey Avoid Hungry Seals

June 3rd, 2020


Prey animals flash biochemically produced light to confuse elephant seals hunting in the dark. But at least one seal turned the tables.

3 Words Mislead Online Regional Mood Analysis

June 2nd, 2020


Analyzing keywords on Twitter can offer a loose measure of the subjective well-being of a community, as long as you don’t count three words: good, love and LOL.

COVID Has Changed Soundscapes Worldwide

June 1st, 2020


The Silent Cities project is collecting sound from cities around the planet during the coronavirus pandemic to give researchers a database of natural …

Science News Briefs from All Over

May 28th, 2020


Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about an incredibly well-preserved horned lark ( …

Colorful Corals Beat Bleaching

May 28th, 2020


Exposed to mildly warmer waters, some corals turn neon instead of bleaching white. The dramatic colors may help coax symbiotic algae back. …

Skinny Genes Tell Fat to Burn

May 23rd, 2020


A gene whose mutated form is associated with cancer in humans turns out to have a role in burning calories over a long evolutionary history.

Malaria Mosquitoes Are Biting before Bed-Net Time

May 22nd, 2020


Mosquitoes that like to bite at night are being thwarted by bed nets, leading to the rise of populations that prefer to bite when the nets are not up …

We're Being Tested

May 15th, 2020


President Trump pointed out yesterday that if we didn't do any testing for the virus we would have very few cases, which forces us to confront the …

Barn Owl Babies Can Be Helpful Hatch Mates

May 15th, 2020


Food sharing is mainly found in adult animals as a part of social bonding. But in a rarely observed behavior in birds, older barn owl chicks will …

Donut Sugar Could Help Stored Blood Last

May 13th, 2020


Dehydrated blood that could be kept at room temperature for years may be possible thanks to a sugar used to preserve donuts—and made by tardigrades …

Lemur Flirting Uses Common Scents

May 11th, 2020


To entice female ring-tailed lemurs, males rub wrist secretions, which include compounds we use in perfumes, onto their tail and then wave it near the gals.

Flamingos Can Be Picky about Company

May 8th, 2020


They don’t stand on one leg around just anybody but often prefer certain members of the flock.

Horses Recognize Pics of Their Keepers

May 6th, 2020


Horses picked out photographs of their current keepers, and even of former keepers whom they had not seen in months, at a rate much better than chance.

Tapirs Help Reforestation via Defecation

May 2nd, 2020


The large herbivores appear to prefer disturbed areas over more intact ones and spread many more seeds in those places through their droppings.

Virus-Infected Bees Practice Social Distancing

May 1st, 2020


Bees infected with a virus cut back on interactions within their hive but find it easier to get past sentries at neighboring hives.

New Data on Killer House Cats

April 30th, 2020


Wild cats kill more animals than domestic ones do. But pet cats kill many more of them in a small area than similarly sized wild predators.

Science News Briefs from around the World

April 29th, 2020


Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about what the eruption of Mount Vesuvius might have …

Birds on Rhinos' Back Help Them Avoid Poachers

April 22nd, 2020


Oxpeckers riding on rhinoceroses feast on ticks, and their calls warn the nearsighted herbivores about approaching humans.

Jane Goodall: We Can Learn from This Pandemic

April 22nd, 2020


In a teleconference promoting her participation in Earth Day events on the National Geographic Channel, Goodall talked about what gives her hope during the pandemic and what she hopes we all learn from it.

Our 3,000th Episode

April 20th, 2020


Here are some “highlights” from the past 13.5 years of this podcast.

How Herbivore Herds Might Help Permafrost

April 17th, 2020


Introducing herds of large herbivores in the Arctic would disturb surface snow, allowing cold air to reach the ground and keep the permafrost frosty.

Lung Cancer Screen Could Be Easy Pee-sy

April 16th, 2020


In mice, a test for lung cancer involves nanoprobes that recognize tumors and send reporter molecules into the urine for simple analysis.

Obama Talks Some Science Policy

April 15th, 2020


As he endorsed Joe Biden today, former president Barack Obama touched on some environmental, economic and science matters.

Red-Winged Blackbirds Understand Yellow Warbler Alarms

April 14th, 2020


Researchers studying yellow warbler responses to the parasitic cowbird realized that red-winged blackbirds were eavesdropping on the calls and reacting to them, too.

Waiter, What's This Worm Doing in My Sushi?

April 10th, 2020


Well, it’s probably there because the odds on its presence have gone way up in the past 40 years. But such parasites are still much more of a health …

What's a Narwhal's Tusk For?

April 9th, 2020


Although the tusk can be a weapon, the variation in tusk length among animals of similar body size points to it being primarily a mating status signal.

Coronavirus Misinformation Is Its Own Deadly Condition

April 8th, 2020


Pulitzer-winning Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, talks about the dangers of …

Coronavirus Can Infect Cats

April 7th, 2020


Tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for the virus, and studies show that house cats—but apparently not dogs—can become infected.

Squid's Glowing Skin Patterns May Be Code

April 3rd, 2020


Humboldt squid can rapidly change the pigmentation and luminescence patterns on their skin by contracting and relaxing their muscles, possibly to …

Bird Fossil Shared Earth with T. rex

April 2nd, 2020


Dating back 67 million years, this representative of the group of modern birds has been dubbed the Wonderchicken (which is not an April Fools’ Day …

City Birds: Big-Brained with Few Offspring or Small-Brained with a Lot

April 1st, 2020


To make it in urban areas, birds tend to be either large-brained and able to produce few offspring or small-brained and extremely fertile. In natural habitats, most birds brains are of average size.

Coyotes Eat Everything from Fruits to Cats

March 31st, 2020


The diets of coyotes vary widely, depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban environments—but pretty much anything is fair game.

Tiny Wormlike Creature May Be Our Oldest Known Ancestor

March 30th, 2020


The bilateral organism crawled on the seafloor, taking in organic matter at one end and dumping the remains out the other some 555 million years ago.

Science News Briefs from around the Planet

March 29th, 2020


Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about the discovery of an intact chicken egg dating …

Help Researchers Track COVID-19

March 27th, 2020


By entering your health status, even if you’re feeling fine, at the Web site COVID Near You, you can help researchers develop a nationwide look at where hotspots of coronavirus are occurring.

Sick Vampire Bats Restrict Grooming to Close Family

March 26th, 2020


When vampire bats feel sick, they still engage in prosocial acts such as sharing food with nonrelatives. But they cut back on grooming anyone other than their closest kin.

Exponential Infection Increases Are Deadly Serious

March 25th, 2020


Listen in as I use two calculators to track the difference in numbers of infections over a short period of time, depending on how many people each …

Swamp Wallaby Reproduction Give Tribbles a Run

March 22nd, 2020


They’re not born pregnant like tribbles, but swamp wallabies routinely get pregnant while pregnant.

Ocean Plastic Smells Great to Sea Turtles

March 20th, 2020


Ocean plastic gets covered with algae and other marine organisms, making it smell delicious to sea turtles—with potentially deadly results.

Ancient Clam Shell Reveals Shorter Day Length

March 17th, 2020


The growth layers in a 70-million-year-old clam shell indicate that a year back then had more than 370 days, with each day being only about 23.5 …

Snapping Shrimp Make More Noise in Warmer Oceans

March 12th, 2020


As oceans heat up, the ubiquitous noise of snapping shrimp should increase, posing issues for other species and human seagoing ventures.

Stress from Undersea Noise Interferes with Crab Camouflage

March 11th, 2020


In an example of how sea noise can harm species, exposed shore crabs changed camouflaging color sluggishly and were slower to flee from simulated …

Indigenous Amazonians Managed Valuable Plant Life

March 4th, 2020


Studies on very old vegetation in the Amazon basin show active management hundreds of years ago on species such as Brazil nut and cocoa trees.

Computers Confirm Beethoven's Influence

March 3rd, 2020


By breaking 900 classical piano compositions into musical chunks, researchers could track Ludwig van Beethoven’s influence on the composers who …

Science News Briefs from around the World

March 2nd, 2020


Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one from off the California coast about the first heart …

Jet Altitude Changes Cut Climate-Changing Contrails

February 26th, 2020


Increasing or decreasing the altitude of aircraft by a few thousand feet to avoid thin layers of humidity could make a major reduction to contrails’ …

Thoroughbred Horses Are Increasingly Inbred

February 25th, 2020


Inbreeding in Thoroughbreds has increased significantly in the past 45 years, with the greatest rise occurring in the past 15 or so of them.

Pablo Escobar's Hippos Could Endanger Colombian Ecology

February 20th, 2020


Hippos that escaped from drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s private zoo are reproducing in the wild. And with increasing numbers, they could threaten …

Wasp Nests Help Date Aboriginal Art

February 20th, 2020


Art created by Australian Aboriginal people used organic carbon-free pigments, but wasp nests above or below the art can be used for radiocarbon dating that supplies boundaries for the age of artworks.

Industrial Revolution Pollution Found in Himalayan Glacier

February 18th, 2020


Ice cores from a Tibetan glacier reveal the first deposits of industrial revolution pollution, starting in layers dated to about 1780.

Fight-or-Flight Nerves Make Mice Go Gray

February 15th, 2020


A new study in mice concludes stress can cause gray hair—and credits overactive nerves with the change in hue. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Espresso May Be Better when Ground Coarser

February 14th, 2020


A very fine grind can actually hamper espresso brewing, because particles may clump more than larger particles will.

Feral Dogs Respond to Human Hand Cues

February 11th, 2020


Most feral dogs that did not run away from humans were able to respond to hand cues about the location of food—even without training.

Neandertals Tooled Around with Clams

February 8th, 2020


Neandertals ate clams and then modified the hard shells into tools for cutting and scraping.

Fingering Fake Whiskeys with Isotopes

February 7th, 2020


Whiskeys claimed to be from the 19th century are revealed to be made with much more recently grown barley, thanks to the unique isotopic fingerprint of the nuclear-testing era.  

Having an Albatross around Your Boat

February 6th, 2020


By outfitting 169 albatrosses with GPS data loggers, scientists were able to track fishing boats apparently trying to hide their location. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from All Over

February 4th, 2020


Here are a few brief reports about international science and technology from around the world, including one from the Democratic Republic of the …

Facts about Groundhogs Other Than Their Poor Meteorology

February 2nd, 2020


Groundhogs are less accurate at weather forecasting than are coin flips, but they are nonetheless pretty interesting critters.

Did Animal Calls Start in the Dark?

February 1st, 2020


One hypothesis says the ability to vocalize arose in nocturnal animals—and a new evolutionary analysis suggests there may be some truth to it. …

Sign Languages Display Distinct Ancestries

January 31st, 2020


Well more than 100 distinct sign languages exist worldwide, with each having features that made it possible for researchers to create an evolutionary …

Docs Given Updated Opioid Prescribing Habit

January 27th, 2020


Researchers dialed down the default number of opioids in two hospitals’ prescription systems—and doctors ended up prescribing fewer pills. …

Some Wolf Pups Show Innate Fetching Talent

January 26th, 2020


Some wolf pups will play fetch with a stranger, suggesting that an ability to playfully interact with people could have come before, and played a …

Barred Owls Invade the Sierra Nevada

January 25th, 2020


By listening to the sounds of the forest, biologists were able to identify an invasion of barred owls in spotted owl habitat. Christopher Intagliata …

Curiosity Killed the ... Mouse?

January 24th, 2020


The cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii boosts curiosity in mice—which makes them more likely to be caught by cats, thus continuing the parasite’s life cycle. Karen Hopkin reports.

This Fish Knows How to Stick Around

January 17th, 2020


The remora clings to other fish—and appears to use an unusual sense of touch to do so. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Antarctic Is Ripe for Invasive Species

January 16th, 2020


Mussels and crabs are two of the creatures most likely to invade Antarctica in the next 10 years, a panel of scientists say. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bacteria Helped Plants Evolve to Live on Land

January 14th, 2020


Soil bacteria may have taken residence in early algal species, gifting the algae with the ability to withstand drier conditions on land. Annie Sneed reports.

Meteorite Contains Material Older Than Earth

January 13th, 2020


The Murchison meteorite, which screamed to Earth 50 years ago, carried with it stardust that's seven billion years old. Christopher Intagliata …

Loss of Large Mammals Stamps Out Invertebrates, Too

January 12th, 2020


Hunted areas of Gabon have fewer large mammals and a thicker forest understory—but they also have fewer termites. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Brittle Stars Can "See" without Eyes

January 10th, 2020


The starfish relatives can recognize patterns using photoreceptors on their arms—and their color-changing abilities could have something to do with …

Atlantic Puffins Spotted Using Tools

January 8th, 2020


Scientists observed two Atlantic puffins using sticks to scratch themselves—the first known instance of seabirds using tools. Christopher Intagliata …

Traffic Cameras Show Why the Yankees Should Suffer Fewer Injuries in 2020

January 7th, 2020


The 2019 New York Yankees’ record number of injuries led to a change in training staff that will almost certainly correlate with, but not necessarily cause, a lower injury rate this coming season.  

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

January 6th, 2020


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Indonesia to Spain, including one from Brazil about the highest-voltage electric …

Part of Real Paleo Diet: It's a Tuber

January 4th, 2020


In South Africa archaeologists found the charred remains of a roasted root vegetable. Christopher Intagliata reports.

You Traveled Far in 2019

January 3rd, 2020


Getting around the sun last year was some trip.

Fido's Human Age Gets New Estimates

December 27th, 2019


By comparing how DNA gets altered over the lifetimes of people and dogs, researchers came up with a new way to compare canine years with human years.

Gift Wrapping Is Effective Future Trash

December 27th, 2019


Research suggests people value gifts more when they have to unwrap them. But how do we avoid all the wasted paper? Christopher Intagliata reports.

Superstrong Fibers Could Be Hairy Situation

December 25th, 2019


Human hair tested stronger than thicker fibers from elephants, boars and giraffes, providing clues to materials scientists hoping to make superstrong synthetic fibers.

Flaky Scalps Have a Unique Fungal Microbiome

December 21st, 2019


Certain species of bacteria and fungi seem to proliferate on dandruff-ridden scalps. The reason is a little more mysterious. Christopher Intagliata …

Moths Flee or Face Bats, Depending on Toxicity

December 19th, 2019


Tiger moth species that contain bad-tasting and toxic compounds are nonchalant in the presence of bats, while edible moth species evade their predators.

Ancient Seawall Found Submerged

December 19th, 2019


In shallow waters off the coast of Israel, archaeologists have found entire villages—including one with a sunken seawall. Christopher Intagliata …

Citizen Scientists Deserve Journal Status Upgrade

December 15th, 2019


Here’s an argument that citizen scientists deserve co-authorship on scientific journal papers to which they contributed research.

Not All Hydropower Is Climate-Considerate

December 14th, 2019


While some hydropower facilities release almost no greenhouse gases, others can actually be worse than burning fossil fuels.

Certain Zip Codes Pick Losers

December 12th, 2019


People in certain zip codes are more likely to purchase products that flop, buy homes that are poor investments and pick political candidates who …

Linguists Hear an Accent Begin

December 12th, 2019


Residents of an overwintering station in Antarctica provided linguists with evidence of the first small changes in speech that may signal the development of a new accent.

Romans Would Roam for Wood

December 10th, 2019


Archaeologists unearthed wood from a Roman villa when digging Rome’s subway—and scientists determined the planks came all the way from France. …

When the Bellbird Calls, You Know It

December 10th, 2019


The white bellbird of the Amazon may be the loudest bird in the world.  

Fishy Trick Lures Life Back to Coral Reefs

December 5th, 2019


Playing the sounds of a healthy reef near damaged corals may help bring the fish community back. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Rain Forest Dwellers and Urbanites Have Consistently Different Microbiomes

December 4th, 2019


A study done in South America found that with increasing population density, humans had more diversity of fungi on the skin but less microbial …

Internet Cables Could Also Measure Quakes

December 4th, 2019


The fiber-optic cables that connect the global Internet could potentially be used as seismic sensors. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Science News Briefs from All Over

December 3rd, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Mexico to Tanzania, including one about the need to quarantine bananas in …

Subtle Ancient Footprints Come to Light

November 30th, 2019


Ground-penetrating radar can detect tiny density differences that lead to images of ancient footprints impossible to discern by eye.

Ancient Rock Art Got a Boost From Bacteria

November 25th, 2019


Indigenous artists in what’s now British Columbia created pigments by cooking aquatic bacteria. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Ick Factor Is High Hurdle for Recycled Drinking Water

November 25th, 2019


Recycled wastewater can be cleaner than bottled water, but people still avoid drinking it because of their disgust over its past condition.

Bots Outperform Humans if They Impersonate Us

November 22nd, 2019


Bots masquerading as humans in a game outperformed their human opponents—but the their superiority vanished when their machine identity was revealed. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Implanting Memories in Birds Reveals How Learning Happens

November 21st, 2019


Researchers activated specific brain cells in zebra finches to teach them songs they’d ordinarily have to hear to learn.

Dogs Like Motion That Matches Sound

November 20th, 2019


Pet dogs appeared more interested in videos of a bouncing ball when the motion of the ball matched a rising and falling tone. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Egyptian Vats 5,600 Years Old Were For Beer Brewing

November 17th, 2019


Archaeologists working in the ancient city of Hierakonpolis discovered five ceramic vats containing residues consistent with brewing beer.

Famously Fickle Felines Are, in Fact, Clingy

November 14th, 2019


Cats are clingier to their human owners than their reputation would suggest. Karen Hopkin reports.

Aversion to Broccoli May Have Genetic Roots

November 13th, 2019


Study subjects with a gene variant that heightened their sensitivity to bitterness tended to eat fewer vegetables than people who didn’t mind bitter flavors. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Marine Mammal Epidemic Linked to Climate Change

November 10th, 2019


A measleslike virus is ricocheting through marine mammal populations in the Arctic—and melting sea ice might be to blame. Christopher Intagliata …

Ant Colonies Avoid Traffic Jams

November 8th, 2019


Researchers tracked thousands of individual ants to determine how they move in vast numbers without stumbling into gridlock.

Ranking Rise May Intimidate Opponents

November 6th, 2019


In an analysis of chess and tennis matches, players rising in the rankings did better than expected against higher-ranked opponents and better than similarly ranked players who were not rising.  

Familiar Tunes Rapidly Jog the Brain

November 6th, 2019


Within just a third of a second of hearing a snippet of a familiar refrain, our pupils dilate, and the brain shows signs of recognition. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

November 2nd, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Brazil to Hong Kong, including one about male elephants in India exhibiting …

We Owe Our Pumpkins to Pooping Megafauna

October 31st, 2019


The pumpkin’s ancestor was an incredibly bitter, tennis-ball-sized squash—but it was apparently a common snack for mastodons. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bird Egg Colors Are Influenced by Local Climate

October 30th, 2019


In cold, northern climates, eggs tend to be darker and browner—heat-trapping colors that allow parents to spend a bit more time away from the nest. …

Crabs Do a Maze

October 29th, 2019


Green crabs learned to navigate a maze without making a single wrong turn—and remembered the skill weeks later. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Odd Bird Migrates Twice to Breed

October 24th, 2019


The phainopepla migrates from southern California to the desert Southwest to breed in the spring before flying to California coastal woodlands to do so again in summer.

Piranha-Proof Fish Gives Inspiration for Body Armor

October 24th, 2019


A gigantic fish from the Amazon has incredibly tough scales—and materials scientists are looking to them for bulletproof inspiration. Christopher …

Galloping Ant Beats Saharan Heat

October 23rd, 2019


The Saharan silver ant feeds on other insects that have died on the hot sands, which it traverses at breakneck (for an ant) speeds.

Some Mosquito Repellents Act like Invisibility Cloaks

October 22nd, 2019


Synthetic repellents such as DEET seem to mask the scent of our “human perfume”—making us less obvious targets for mosquitoes. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Your Skull Shapes Your Hearing

October 18th, 2019


The resonant properties of your skull can amplify some frequencies and dampen others—and, in some cases, affect your hearing. Christopher Intagliata …

Tardigrade Protein Protects DNA from Chemical Attack

October 16th, 2019


The Dsup protein protects DNA under conditions that create caustic free radical chemicals.

"Mars-quakes" Could Reveal How Mars Was Built

October 16th, 2019


Rumblings on the Red Planet act like x-rays, allowing scientists to probe the hidden interior of Mars. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Artificial Intelligence Learns to Talk Back to Bigots

October 11th, 2019


Algorithms are already used to remove online hate speech. Now scientists have taught an AI to respond—which they hope might spark more discourse. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Nobel in Chemistry for Lightweight Rechargeable Batteries

October 9th, 2019


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

Nobel in Physics for Exoplanets and Cosmology

October 8th, 2019


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for …

Nobel in Physiology or Medicine for How Cells Sense Oxygen Levels

October 7th, 2019


The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to William G. Kaelin, Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how …

Teeth Tell Black Death Genetic Tale

October 7th, 2019


DNA from the teeth of medieval plague victims indicates the pathogen likely first arrived in eastern Europe before spreading across the continent.

Tiny Worms Are Equipped to Battle Extreme Environments

October 5th, 2019


Scientists found eight species of nematodes living in California’s harsh Mono Lake—quintupling the number of animals known to live there. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Heat Changes Insect Call, but It Still Works

October 2nd, 2019


Tiny insects called treehoppers produce very different mating songs at higher versus lower temperatures, but the intended recipient still finds the changed songs attractive.

Corals Can Inherit Symbiotic Adaptations to Warming

October 2nd, 2019


Adult corals can reshuffle their symbiotic algae species to adapt to warming waters—and, it appears they can pass those adaptations on. Christopher …

Brains of Blind People Adapt in Similar Fashion

October 1st, 2019


The brains of those who are blind repurpose the vision regions for adaptive hearing, and they appear to do so in a consistent way.

Science News Briefs from around the World

September 29th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Hungary to Japan, including one about a wine grape in France that DNA testing …

Musical Note Perception Can Depend on Culture

September 25th, 2019


Western ears consider a pitch at double the frequency of a lower pitch to be the same note, an octave higher. The Tsimane’, an indigenous people in …

Nature Docs Avoid Habitat Destruction

September 25th, 2019


BBC and Netflix nature documentaries consistently shy away from showing viewers the true extent to which we’ve damaged the planet. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Heat Loss to Night Sky Powers Off-Grid Lights

September 19th, 2019


A slight temperature difference at night between a surface losing heat and the surrounding air can be harnessed to generate electricity to power lights.

Early Butchers Used Small Stone Scalpels

September 18th, 2019


Homo erectus used hand axes to butcher elephants and other game. But a new study suggests they also used finer, more sophisticated blades. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Microplastics in Fresh Water Are Mostly Laundry Lint

September 17th, 2019


Microplastic particles are everywhere, but in freshwater systems, 60 percent of particles are clothing lint from laundry.

Kids Are Not Hurt by Screen Time

September 16th, 2019


A study finds no deleterious effects on mental health when kids spend their leisure time texting and engaging in other online activities.

Lab-Grown Human Mini Brains Show Brainy Activity

September 13th, 2019


As the little structures grow, their constituents specialize into different types of brain cells, begin to form connections and emit brain waves. …

Eavesdropping Puts Anxious Squirrels at Ease

September 13th, 2019


Squirrels constantly scan their surroundings for hawks, owls and other predators. But they also surveil for threats by eavesdropping on bird chatter. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Earth's Magnetic Field Initiated a Pole Flip Many Millennia before the Switch

September 12th, 2019


Lava flow records and sedimentary and Antarctic ice core data show evidence of planetary magnetic field activity 20,000 years before the beginning of …

Humpback Whales Swap Songs at Island Hub

September 11th, 2019


At the Kermadec Islands, humpbacks from all over the South Pacific converge and swap songs. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Food Expiration Dates May Mislead Consumers

September 9th, 2019


Better food labeling could prevent people from throwing away a lot of “expired” food that’s still perfectly edible.

Farmland Is Also Optimal for Solar Power

September 5th, 2019


The conditions of sunlight, temperature, humidity and wind that make cropland good for agriculture also maximize solar panel efficiency.

Chemical Tweak Recycles Polyurethane into Glue

September 5th, 2019


It’s not easy to recycle polyurethane, so it’s usually tossed out or burned. But a chemical tweak can turn polyurethane into glue. Christine Herman …

Cholesterol Climbs after Crows Chomp Cheeseburgers

September 3rd, 2019


Wild animals that live near humans have higher cholesterol than their rural counterparts—and our food could be to blame. Christopher Intagliata …

How Hurricanes Influence Spider Aggressiveness

August 30th, 2019


As Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida, consider that feeding style means that aggressive tangle-web spider colonies produce more offspring after …

Graphene Garment Blocks Blood-Sucking Skeeters

August 28th, 2019


A small patch of graphene on human skin seemed to block the mosquitoes’ ability to sense certain molecules that trigger a bite. Christopher …

Martian Winds Could Spread Microbe Hitchhikers

August 26th, 2019


Microbes fly tens of miles over Chile’s dry, UV-blasted Atacama Desert—and scientists say the same could happen on Mars. Christopher Intagliata …

Including Indigenous Voices in Genomics

August 22nd, 2019


A program at the University of Illinois trains indigenous scientists in genomics—in hopes that future work will be aimed at benefiting those communities. Christine Herman reports. 

West Point Uniforms Signify Explosive Chemistry

August 20th, 2019


U.S. Military Academy cadets wear the colors black, gray and gold for reasons found in gunpowder’s chemistry.

Secrets of the Universe Trapped in Antarctic Snow

August 14th, 2019


Scientists found an interstellar iron isotope in Antarctic snow samples—which hints that our region of the universe may be the remnant of an ancient exploding star. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Certain Personality Types Are Likely to Make a "Foodie Call"

August 13th, 2019


Some people go on dates just to score a free meal—a phenomenon known as a “foodie call.” But it takes a certain personality type. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Artificial Intelligence Sniffs Out Unsafe Foods

August 12th, 2019


Researchers trained machine-learning algorithms to read Amazon reviews for hints that a food product would be recalled by the FDA. Christopher …

A Computer Tells Real Smiles from Phonies

August 9th, 2019


Slight changes around the eyes are indeed a giveaway as to whether a smile is sincere or faked.

Stare Down Gulls to Avoid Lunch Loss

August 8th, 2019


Researchers slowed the approach of greedy gulls by an average of 21 seconds by staring at the birds versus looking elsewhere. Christopher Intagliata …

Real Laughs Motivate More Guffaws

August 8th, 2019


Honest, involuntary laughter cued people to laugh more at some really bad jokes than they did when hearing forced laughter.

Extinction Wipes Out Evolution's Hard Work

August 6th, 2019


By killing off many of New Zealand’s endemic birds, humans destroyed 50 million years’ worth of evolutionary history. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

London Is Crawling with Drug-Resistant Microbes

August 3rd, 2019


Nearly half of bacteria gathered in public settings around the city were resistant to two or more commonly used antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Male Black Widows Poach Rivals' Approaches

August 2nd, 2019


Mating is risky business for black widow males—so they hitchhike on the silk threads left by competitors to more quickly find a mate. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Babies Want Fair Leaders

July 31st, 2019


Babies as young as a year and a half want leaders to fix situations in which they see someone else being treated unfairly.

Parrots Are Making the U.S. Home

July 31st, 2019


Released or escaped parrots are now living in most states and are breeding in at least 21. For some, it’s a second chance at survival.

Science News Briefs from All Over

July 30th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Guatemala to Australia, including one about the first recorded tornado in Nepal.

Tourist Photographs Help African Wildlife Census

July 25th, 2019


Photographs snapped by safari tourists are a surprisingly accurate way to assess populations of African carnivores. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

For Ants, the Sky's the Compass

July 24th, 2019


Computer modeling revealed that insects with a celestial compass can likely determine direction down to just a couple degrees of error. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Why Two Moonships Were Better Than One

July 20th, 2019


Engineer John Houbolt pushed for a smaller ship to land on the lunar surface while the command module stayed in orbit around the moon.

One Small Scoop, One Giant Impact for Mankind

July 20th, 2019


Just before Neil Armstrong climbed back into the lunar module, he scooped up a few last-minute soil samples--which upturned our understanding of …

Investigating the Zombie Ant's "Death Grip"

July 19th, 2019


Researchers dissected the jaws of ants infected with the  Ophiocordyceps  fungus to determine how the fungus hijacks the ants' behavior. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Attractive Young Females May Have Justice Edge

July 16th, 2019


Youths rated as attractive were less likely to have negative encounters with the criminal justice system—but only if they were women. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Tobacco Plants Made to Produce Useful Compounds

July 15th, 2019


A proof-of-concept study got transgenic tobacco plants to make a useful enzyme in their chloroplasts, not nuclei, minimizing chances for transfer to …

Rhinos and Their Gamekeepers Benefit from AI

July 12th, 2019


Starting in 2017, an artificial intelligence monitoring system at the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa has been helping to protect rhinos and their caretakers.  

Backpack Harvests Energy as You Walk

July 11th, 2019


The pack produces a steady trickle of electricity from the swinging motion of your stuff. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Why Baseballs Are Flying in 2019

July 9th, 2019


An analysis of the 2019 edition of the Major League baseball points to reasons why it's leaving ballparks at a record rate.

Some Hot Dog Histology

July 4th, 2019


A lab analysis found that even an all-beef frankfurter had very little skeletal muscle, or "meat." So what’s in there? Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Mind and Body Benefit from Two Hours in Nature Each Week

July 2nd, 2019


People who spent at least two hours outside—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and …

Scientist Encourages Other Women Scientists to Make Themselves Heard

June 30th, 2019


Geneticist Natalie Telis noticed few women asking questions at scientific conferences. So she publicized the problem and set about to make a change. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Male Bats Up Mating Odds with Mouth Morsels

June 27th, 2019


Males that allow females to take food right out of their mouths are more likely to sire offspring with their dining companions.

Scientists Fool Flies with "Virtual Tastes"

June 27th, 2019


By switching fruit flies' sensory neurons on and off with light, scientists were able to create the sensation of sweet or bitter tastes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Wheat Plants "Sneeze" and Spread Disease

June 26th, 2019


Wheat plants' leaves repel water, which creates the perfect conditions for dew droplets to catapult off the leaves—taking pathogenic spores for the …

Elite Runners' Microbes Make Mice Mightier

June 25th, 2019


Mice that were fed bacteria isolated from elite athletes logged more treadmill time than other mice that got bacteria found in yogurt.

Science News Briefs from around the World

June 24th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Canada to Kenya, including one about how humans thousands of years ago in what is …

Antiperspirant Boosts Armpit and Toe-Web Microbial Diversity

June 22nd, 2019


Rather than wiping microbes out, antiperspirants and foot powders increased the diversity of microbial flora in armpits and between toes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Monkey Cousins Use Similar Calls

June 18th, 2019


Two monkey species who last shared a common ancestor 3 million years ago have "eerily similar" alarm calls.

How Millipedes Avoid Interspecies Sexual Slips

June 16th, 2019


Millipedes, often blind, have come up with clever physical signals to ward off sexual advances from members of wrong species.

You Contain Multitudes of Microplastics

June 13th, 2019


People appear to consume between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles annually, and that's probably a gross underestimate.

A Biodegradable Label Doesn't Make It So

June 13th, 2019


At the third Scientific American “Science on the Hill” event, “Solving the Plastic Waste Problem”, one of the issues discussed by experts on Capitol …

High School Cheaters Nabbed by Neural Network

June 6th, 2019


Researchers trained a neural network to scrutinize high school essays and sniff out ghostwritten papers. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Preserved Poop Is an Archaeological Treasure

June 5th, 2019


Anthropologists found parasite eggs in ancient poop samples, providing a glimpse of human health as hunter-gatherers transitioned to settlements. …

Remembering Murray Gell-Mann

June 4th, 2019


Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Laureate in Physics who identified the quark, died May 24th.

Bonobo Mothers Supervise Their Sons' Monkey Business

May 30th, 2019


Some wild female bonobos introduce their sons to desirable females—then make sure their relations won’t be interrupted by competing males. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Music May Orchestrate Better Brain Connectivity in Preterm Infants

May 29th, 2019


Preterm babies who listened to music in the neonatal intensive care unit had brain activity that more closely resembled that of full-term babies. …

Icy Room Temperatures May Chill Productivity

May 24th, 2019


A new study suggests women's performance on math and verbal tasks increases as room temperature rises, up to about the mid 70s F. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bird Beak Shapes Depend on More Than Diet

May 22nd, 2019


A study found that only a small percentage of bird beak shape variation is dependent on diet, with other factors like display and nest construction probably playing parts too.

Ancient Gum Gives Archaeologists Something to Chew On

May 21st, 2019


Chewing gums discovered in western Sweden contain the oldest human DNA found in Scandinavia. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Nobelist: Harness Evolution as a Problem-Solving Algorithm

May 17th, 2019


Frances Arnold, the Caltech scientist who shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, says evolution can show us how to solve problems of …

Unread Books at Home Still Spark Literacy Habits

May 16th, 2019


Growing up in a home filled with books enhances enhances intellectual capacity in later life, even if you don't read them all.

Kid Climate Educators Open Adult Eyes

May 15th, 2019


A study finds that kids, especially daughters, are effective at teaching their parents about climate issues.

Penguin Poop Helps Biodiversity Bloom in Antarctica

May 15th, 2019


Ammonia from penguin poop gets carried on Antarctic winds, fertilizing mosses and lichens as far as a mile away. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Ancient Whiz Opens Archaeology Window

May 13th, 2019


The residue of ancient urine can reveal the presence of early stationary herder-farmer communities.

U.S. Coral Reefs Do $1.8 Billion of Work Per Year

May 9th, 2019


By dampening the energy of waves, coral reefs protect coastal cities from flooding damage and other economic losses. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Could Air-Conditioners Help Cool the Planet?

May 6th, 2019


Researchers want to outfit air conditioners with carbon-capture technology. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Chemists Investigate Casanova's Clap

May 3rd, 2019


In his memoirs, the womanizing writer Giacomo Casanova described suffering several bouts of gonorrhea—but researchers found no trace of the microbe on his handwritten journals. Karen Hopkin reports.

Software Sniffs Out Rat Squeaks

May 2nd, 2019


Algorithms learned to sift ultrasonic rat squeaks from other noise, which could help researchers who study rodents’ emotional states. Lucy Huang …

New Model Aims to Solve Mystery of the Moon's Formation

May 1st, 2019


Scientists propose that the moon could have formed when a Mars-sized object slammed into an Earth covered in magma seas. Christopher Intagliata …

Cats Recognize Their Names—but May Not Respond

April 30th, 2019


Felines move their ears, heads and tails more when they hear their names compared to when they hear similar words. Jim Daley reports.

Science News Briefs from All Over

April 27th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Liberia to Hawaii, including one on the discovery in Northern Ireland of soil …

Hurricane Maria Rain Amount Chances Are Boosted by Climate Change

April 26th, 2019


The likelihood of an event like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and of its massive precipitation, is fivefold higher in the climate of today than it …

Harder-Working Snakes Pack Stronger Venom

April 26th, 2019


Snake venom toxicity depends on snake size, energy requirements and environmental dimensionality more than on prey size.

River Dolphins Have a Wide Vocal Repertoire

April 25th, 2019


Freshwater dolphins are evolutionary relics, and their calls give clues to the origins of cetacean communication in general. Christopher Intagliata …

Honeybees Can Put Two and Two Together

April 24th, 2019


The tiny brain of a honeybee is apparently able to calculate small numbers' addition and subtraction. Annie Sneed reports.

4/20 Traffic Accidents Claim Curbed

April 20th, 2019


A deeper data dive calls into question a 2018 study that found a spike in fatal traffic accidents apparently related to marijuana consumption on this date.  

Hyena Society Stability Has Last Laugh

April 20th, 2019


Female hyenas keep their clans in line by virtue of their complex social networks. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Gluten-Free Restaurant Foods Are Often Mislabeled

April 19th, 2019


One in three gluten-free dishes tested at restaurants contained gluten—especially GF pizzas and pastas. Christopher Intagliata reports.

What Chickens Can Teach Hearing Researchers

April 18th, 2019


At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, …

Nobelist Says System of Science Offers Life Lessons

April 16th, 2019


At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, economist …

Squeezed Potassium Atoms Straddle Liquid and Solid

April 13th, 2019


At extreme pressures, potassium atoms can be both liquid and solid at the same time, a phase of matter known as "chain melt." Christopher Intagliata …

Urban Coyote Evolution Favors the Bold

April 12th, 2019


Coyotes become fearless around people in just a few generations—which isn’t good for their longterm co-existence with humans in cities. Jason G. …

Computers Turn an Ear on New York City

April 11th, 2019


NYU’s “Sounds of New York City” project listens to the city—and then, with the help of citizen scientists, teaches machines to decode the soundscape. Jim Daley reports. 

Whitening Strips Alter Proteins in Teeth

April 9th, 2019


Hydrogen peroxide in whitening treatments penetrates enamel and dentin, and alters tooth proteins. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Infrared Light Offers a Cooler Way to Defrost

April 8th, 2019


Light tuned to a specific frequency warms ice more than water—which could come in handy for defrosting delicate biological samples. Adam Levy reports.

Spider Monkeys Optimize Jungle Acoustics

April 5th, 2019


The monkeys lower the pitch of their "whinnies" when they're far from the rest of their group, which might help the calls travel further through …

Tennessee Whiskey Relies on Missing Ingredients

April 3rd, 2019


Food chemists precisely measured how charcoal filtration contributes to Tennessee whiskey's smoother flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports.

There's a Word for Today

April 1st, 2019


English lacks some words that other languages pack with meaning.

Bumblebee Queens Prefer Layovers to Nonstop Flights

March 29th, 2019


Scientists tracked bumblebee queens with radar when they emerged from hibernation and found the bees take only brief flights en route to a new nest. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Scenic City Sights Linked to Higher Happiness

March 27th, 2019


Tracking the location and mood of 15,000 people, researchers found that scenic beauty was linked to happiness—including near urban sights like bridges and buildings. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Tech's Brain Effect: It's Complicated

March 26th, 2019


We don't yet know what the immersion in technology does to our brains, but one neuroscientist says the answer is likely to be that there's good, …

Daylight Brings Toxic Beetles Together for Safety

March 23rd, 2019


During daylight hours, hundreds of bombardier beetles of multiple species will congregate together to more effectively ward off any predators not …

Solar Jets Cause Standing Waves in Earth's Magnetic Field

March 19th, 2019


When jets of charged particles from the sun hit our magnetosphere, some of the ensuing ripples travel toward the northern and southern poles and get …

Sing Solo for Higher Fidelity

March 19th, 2019


By tracking duetting choir singers, researchers found that when an individual singer's pitch drifts off tune their partner’s tend to too. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Edible Insect Breeding Led to Larger but Not Necessarily Better Larvae

March 15th, 2019


Researchers aiming to lower the cost of mealworms were able to double the worms' size, but the larger larvae had fewer eggs and weaker offspring. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Busting Earth-Bound Asteroids a Bigger Job Than We Thought

March 12th, 2019


A new model suggests smashing killer space rocks with insufficient force could let gravity pull the pieces back together. Christopher Intagliata …

Weekday–Weekend Sleep Imbalance Bad for Blood Sugar Regulation

March 11th, 2019


Weekday sleep deprivation with weekend make-up sleeping seems to be worse for blood sugar control than even chronic sleep deprivation alone.

Warm-Blooded Animals Lost Ability to Heal the Heart

March 8th, 2019


Thyroid hormone, which helps warm-blooded animals regulate body temperature, also appears to put a halt on heart regeneration. Christopher Intagliata …

Animal Migrations Track with Wikipedia Searches

March 6th, 2019


By analyzing nearly 2.5 billion Wikipedia page views, researchers found species searches reflect seasonal animal migrations and plant blooming. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Baseball Commish Talks Big Data

March 5th, 2019


At a sports technology conference, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed issues including an automated strike zone and advanced analytics.

Background Music Might Stifle Creativity

March 4th, 2019


Volunteers who listened to music solved fewer word puzzles than others who worked in silence. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

March 4th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Greenland to Palau, including one on the discovery of a trove of mummified cats …

Budding Yeast Produce Cannabis Compounds

March 1st, 2019


Biologists have taken the genes that produce cannabinoids in weed and plugged them into yeast, making rare and novel compounds more accessible. …

Who Has "the Right Stuff" for Mars?

February 26th, 2019


Humans traveling to Mars will be required to operate with a degree of autonomy human astronauts have never had, due to communication delays. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Grandma's Influence Is Good for Grandkids

February 25th, 2019


Grandmothers can enhance the survival of grandchildren. That is, unless grandma’s too old or lives too far away. Karen Hopkin reports.

Should Robots Have a License to Kill?

February 23rd, 2019


Artificial intelligence experts, ethicists and diplomats debate autonomous weapons. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Warming Climate Implies More Flies—and Disease

February 21st, 2019


The incidence of foodborne illness could jump in a warming world, due to an increase in housefly activity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Light-Skin Variant Arose in Asia Independent of Europe

February 19th, 2019


A new genetic study of Latin Americans provides evidence that gene variants for lighter skin color came about in Asia as well as in Europe. …

Teach Science Process over Findings

February 19th, 2019


Seismologist and policy advisor Lucy Jones says science education needs to teach how science works more than just what it finds out.

Human Diet Drugs Kill Mosquitoes' Appetite, Too

February 16th, 2019


When researchers fed mosquitoes a drug used to treat people for obesity, the insects were less interested in hunting for their next human meal ticket. Karen Hopkin reports.

Grazing Deer Alter Forest Acoustics

February 15th, 2019


Deer populations have exploded in North American woodlands, changing forest ecology—and how sounds, like birdsong, travel through the trees. …

Elephant Weight Cycles with New Teeth

February 15th, 2019


Elephants have six sets of teeth over their lives, sometimes two sets at once. At those times, they can extract more nutrition from food and put on weight.

Finally Over for Mars Rover

February 13th, 2019


The rover Opportunity has called it quits after working for more than 14 years on Mars.

Our Brains Really Remember Some Pop Music

February 12th, 2019


Although millennials' memory of recent pop tunes drops quickly, their ability to identify top hits from the 1960s through 1990s remains moderately high. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Biologists Track Tweets to Monitor Birds

February 9th, 2019


Conservation biologists can track the whereabouts of endangered species by the sounds they make, avoiding cumbersome trackers and tags. Christopher …

Desalination Could Cause Ecological Sea Change

February 7th, 2019


An environmental assessment of the nation's largest desalination plant finds mixed results. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Different Humpback Whale Groups Meet to Jam

February 7th, 2019


Humpback populations from the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet up south of Africa and trade song stylings.

Targeting Certain Brain Cells Can Switch Off Pain

February 4th, 2019


By turning off certain brain cells, researchers were able to make mice sense painful stimuli—but not the associated discomfort. Karen Hopkin reports.

Neandertal Spears Were Surprisingly Deadly

January 31st, 2019


Javelin throwers chucking replicas of Neandertal spears were able to hit targets farther away, and with greater force than previously thought to be possible. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"Rectenna" Converts Wi-Fi to Electricity

January 30th, 2019


Researchers built a small, flexible device that harvests wi-fi, bluetooth and cellular signals, and turns them into DC electricity. Christopher …

Science News Briefs from the World Over

January 29th, 2019


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Papua New Guinea to Kazakhstan, including one on the slow slide of Mount Etna in …

Cod Could Cope with Constrained Climate Change

January 28th, 2019


Cod egg survival stays high with limited warming, but plummets when the temperature rises a few degrees Celsius in their current spawning grounds.

Intimate Hermit Crab Keeps Shell On

January 26th, 2019


A species of hermit crab appears to have evolved a large penis to enable intercourse without leaving, and thus possibly losing, its adopted shell.

Ecologists Eavesdrop with Bioacoustics

January 24th, 2019


By coupling audio recordings with satellite data and camera traps, ecologists can keep their eyes—and ears—on protected tropical forests. Christopher …

Saturn's Blingy Rings Are a Recent Upgrade

January 24th, 2019


Though Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago, its rings were added relatively recently—only 100 million to 10 million years ago. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Do-Gooders Should Survey Communities First

January 23rd, 2019


Detroit residents declined an offer of free street trees—but were more willing to accept them if they had a say in the type of tree. Jason G. Goldman …

Viewing This Weekend's Lunar Eclipse

January 19th, 2019


A total lunar eclipse will grace the skies this Sunday, January 20—and it may or may not be red. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"<i>Mona Lisa</i> Effect" Not True for <i>Mona Lisa</i>

January 18th, 2019


The Mona Lisa effect is the illusion that the subject of a painting follows you with her gaze, despite where you stand. But da Vinci's famous …

Ants Stick to Cliques to Dodge Disease

January 16th, 2019


Ants infected with fungal pathogens steer clear of other cliques within the colony—avoiding wider infection, and allowing for a sort of immunity. …

Mistimed Migration Means Bird Death Battles

January 13th, 2019


Climate change is shifting population numbers and nest building by resident and migratory birds in Europe—sometimes leading to deadly conflict. …

Monogamy May Be Written in Our Genes

January 12th, 2019


In animal studies, a set of 24 genes involved in neural development, learning and memory, and cognition, seem to be associated with monogamy. Karen …

Seeing Superman Increases Altruism

January 10th, 2019


Subject who saw a Superman poster were more likely to offer help than were people who saw another image.

Inhaled RNA Might Help Heal Cystic Fibrosis

January 9th, 2019


Scientists are working to correct a genetic defect in cystic fibrosis patients by having them inhale RNA. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Invisible Killers Hitchhike on Native Plant Seedlings

January 5th, 2019


More than a quarter of the seedlings sampled at native plant nurseries were infected with pathogens—which could hamper restoration work. Christopher …

Facebook Users Value the Service More Than Investors Do

January 3rd, 2019


Users of the social network said they'd require payment of more than $1,000 to quit the platform for one year. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News from around the Planet

December 31st, 2018


A few brief reports about international science and technology from Germany to Rwanda, including one on the discovery of the world's oldest known …

Turn Xmas Tree into Food and Medicine

December 30th, 2018


Pine needles can easily be broken down into sugars as well as the building blocks of paint, adhesives and medicines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Simple Sugars Wipe Out Beneficial Gut Bugs

December 27th, 2018


Fructose and sucrose can make it all the way to the colon, where they spell a sugary death sentence for beneficial bacteria. Karen Hopkin reports.

Smarter Pricing Could Ease Parking Frustration

December 27th, 2018


A new algorithm raises parking rates in busy neighborhoods and lowers them elsewhere, guaranteeing free parking spots regardless of location. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"Hunger Hormone" Ghrelin Aids Overindulgence

December 25th, 2018


Ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, also makes food, and food smells, irresistibly appealing. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Colorful Peacocks Impress Females with Good Vibes

December 24th, 2018


Peafowls' head crests are specifically tuned to the vibrations produced by feather-rattling male peacocks, thus acting as a sort of antenna. Jason G. …

Measuring the Strength of a Person's Gaze

December 24th, 2018


A new study suggests that, unconsciously, we actually do believe that looking exerts a slight force on the things being looked at. Karen Hopkin reports.

"Relaxation Music" Works&mdash;but So Does Chopin

December 22nd, 2018


So-called "relaxation music" is only about as effective as a soothing Chopin piece at lulling listeners into a relaxed state. Christopher Intagliata …

Bone Building Needs Bit of Breakdown First

December 21st, 2018


The hormone irisin encourages bone remodeling, in part by first triggering another substance that encourages some bone breakdown.

Frog Picks Maternity Ward Like Goldilocks

December 20th, 2018


The Bahia's broad-snout casque-headed tree frog needs a pool to raise its young that's just right.

You Gotta Scratch That Itch

December 19th, 2018


A particular set of brain neurons may be behind registering itch and inducing us to scratch.

Join <i>Blue Planet II</i> Live-Tweet

December 14th, 2018


Starting December 16, ocean scientists will live-tweet the BBC documentary series Blue Planet II, available via Netflix.

Big-Boned Chickens May Be Humans' Geologic Legacy

December 13th, 2018


Millions of years from now, the geologic record of the "Anthropocene" will be littered with plastics, yes, but also chicken bones. Christopher …

Ancient Marine Reptiles Had Familiar Gear

December 12th, 2018


Ichthyosaurs had traits in common with turtles and modern marine mammals, like blubber and countershading camouflage. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Little Aphids Ride Big Ones to Safety

December 12th, 2018


When trouble lurks, juvenile aphids drop off of the plants they're eating and hitch a ride on bigger aphid escapees.

Utah's Deserts Are Bee Hotspots 

December 9th, 2018


The Trump administration is shrinking Utah's desert monuments, stripping some federal protections for wild pollinators. Christopher Intagliata …

Who's a Smart Dog?!

December 7th, 2018


An estimate of dog intelligence requires looking at non-dogs as well to understand what's special to canines and what is just typical of the taxonomic groups they're in.

Data Reveals Most Influential Movies

December 6th, 2018


By analyzing the network connections between 47,000 films on IMDb, researchers found the most influential films ever made. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Blue Whales Have Changed Their Tune

December 1st, 2018


In the last few decades blue whale calls have been getting lower in pitch—and a rebound in their numbers may be the reason. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Smart Meters Speed Showers

November 27th, 2018


Smart meters on showerheads encouraged hotel guests to conserve—even though they personally saved no money. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Mars Mission Makes Clean Landing

November 26th, 2018


The sounds of the Mars InSight Mission control room during the tense minutes leading to the landing on the surface.

Do Wine over Those Brussels Sprouts

November 22nd, 2018


Taking a swig of red wine before eating Brussels sprouts appears to moderate Brussels sprouts' polarizing flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports

Rains Bring a Microbial Massacre to Chilean Desert

November 20th, 2018


Freak heavy rainstorms in 2015 and 2017 wiped out many dry-adapted microbes in the Atacama Desert, useful info in the search for life off Earth. …

Consensual Hugs Seem to Reduce Stress

November 18th, 2018


People who had a conflict in a given day but also got hugged were not as affected by the negative interaction as were their unhugged counterparts.  

World's Largest Organism Faces Bleak Future

November 17th, 2018


The single organism that is the Utah aspen grove known as Pando is on the decline due to herbivores wiping out its youngest tree outgrowths

U.S. Immigrants Leave Country&mdash;and Microbes&mdash;Behind

November 15th, 2018


Immigrants to the U.S. lose their native mix of gut microbes almost immediately after arriving in the U.S.—which researchers can't quite explain. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Science News Briefs from All over

November 14th, 2018


A few very brief reports about international science and technology from Alaska to Indonesia, including one on offshore dairy farming from the …

Babies and Chimps Share a Laugh

November 11th, 2018


Adult humans laugh primarily on the exhale, but human babies laugh on the inhale and the exhale—as do chimps. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Singing Fish Reveal Underwater Battles in the Amazon

November 9th, 2018


Researchers recorded piranha "honks" and catfish "screeches" in the Peruvian Amazon, which might illuminate fish activity in murky jungle waters. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Social Construct of Race Imposes Biology

November 8th, 2018


Anthropologist Jennifer Raff argues that race is culturally created, but has biological consequences.

Pandas Swoon to Particular Croons

November 7th, 2018


Listening to the sounds panda pairs make when they're introduced could lead to better breeding success. Christopher Intagliata reports.

First Benefit of Knowing Your Genome

November 2nd, 2018


The "low hanging fruit" of genome-related health care will be knowing which drugs are likely to treat you best, says science journalist Carl Zimmer.

For Halloween, Consider the Chocolate Midge

October 31st, 2018


A tiny fly, related to biting no-see-ums, pollinates cacao trees and enables our chocolate cravings. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Dolphins Dumb Down Calls to Compete with Ship Noise

October 30th, 2018


Bottlenose dolphins simplify and raise the pitch of their whistles to be heard above underwater shipping noise. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Asocial Octopuses Become Cuddly on MDMA

October 22nd, 2018


Octopuses react to MDMA much like humans do. And not surprisingly, given their anatomy, the animals are excellent huggers. Annie Sneed reports.

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

October 21st, 2018


A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe, including one from Mongolia on horse dentistry.

Wild Songbirds Can Pick Up New Tunes

October 19th, 2018


Researchers taught two dozen wild sparrows new songs, by playing them the recordings of sparrows that live thousands of miles away. Jason G. Goldman …

Health Care Let Neandertals "Punch above Their Weight"

October 18th, 2018


By caring for their sick and injured, Neandertals were able to expand into more dangerous environments and pursue more deadly prey. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Nice People Have Emptier Wallets

October 16th, 2018


A study correlating personality traits with financial data found that agreeable people had lower savings, higher debt and higher bankruptcy rates. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Solar Eclipse Was a Buzzkill for Bees

October 13th, 2018


Bees suddenly fell silent when the sun disappeared during last year's solar eclipse—perhaps because they were tricked into night mode. Christopher …

Confident Tone Overcomes Accent Distrust

October 12th, 2018


English as-a-first-language Canadian study subjects were less trusting of statements in English spoken with a foreign accent, unless the speaker sounded confident about their assertion.

Mom's Genes Make Some Giraffes Hard to Spot

October 10th, 2018


Baby giraffes inherit aspects of their mothers' patterning—which could give them a survival advantage if good camouflage runs in the family. …

Economics Nobel Highlights Climate Action Necessity

October 9th, 2018


William Nordhaus shared the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis,” …

Highway Crossings Protect Migrating Pronghorns&mdash;and Motorists

October 6th, 2018


Twice a year, thousands of pronghorn antelope and mule deer migrate through Wyoming, and newly built highway crossings are sparing the lives of …

Beer Fermentation Hops Along

October 5th, 2018


The bittering agents called hops have enzymes that chew up starch and unleash more fermentable sugar—which can boost alcohol and CO2 in the finished …

Nobel in Chemistry for New and Useful Chemical Entities via Evolutionary Principles

October 3rd, 2018


Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter share the 2018 chemistry Nobel for developing evolutionary-based techniques that lead to the …

Nobel in Physics for Controlling Laser Light

October 2nd, 2018


Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland share the 2018 physics Nobel for their work with lasers that have led to numerous practical applications, such as eye surgery.

Nobel for Helping the Immune System Fight Cancer

October 1st, 2018


James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo share the Nobel Prize for their work on harnessing the cancer patient's own immune system to destroy tumors.

Blasey Ford Spells Out Trauma Memory Formation

October 1st, 2018


Christine Blasey Ford's professional expertise came into play during her testimony regarding the Supreme Court nomination.

Scanning Ancient Civilizations from the Skies

September 27th, 2018


An aerial laser scan of more than 800 square miles of Guatemalan jungle revealed Maya buildings, canals, roads and bridges. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Antifreeze Surface Fights Ice with Ice

September 26th, 2018


Patterning a surface with tiny stripes of ice prevents frost formation on the rest of the surface—a technique that could keep planes or roads …

Scale Can Measure Medicine&mdash;and Play a Scale, Too

September 25th, 2018


Researchers have designed a musical instrument that can detect counterfeit drugs by the pitch of its notes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Diverse Tree Portfolio Weathers Droughts Better

September 22nd, 2018


Forests with numerous tree species, and therefore a mix of water-management strategies, appear more tolerant of drought. Christopher Intagliata …

Pirates Needed Science, Too

September 19th, 2018


On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, here's an eye-patch-witness account of how science helps in all peg-leg walks of life, even piracy

Sea Otters' Powerful Paw Prey Perception

September 19th, 2018


The marine mammals have extraordinarily sensitive touch—which helps them nab prey in the absence of other sensory cues. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from Around the World

September 17th, 2018


A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.

Genetic Tweak Gave Early Humans a Leg Up

September 13th, 2018


A mutation in a key gene may have endowed humans with superior endurance—allowing them to compete better with other animals on the savanna. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Earlier Springs May Mean Mistimed Bird Migrations

September 12th, 2018


Springtime's arriving earlier across North America. But the degree of change isn't the same everywhere, which could spell trouble for migratory …

Survey the Wildlife of the "Great Indoors"

September 11th, 2018


Biologists are enlisting citizen scientists to poke around under the sink and behind the curtains, for wildlife living in the "great indoors." Karen …

When Neutron Stars Collide

September 7th, 2018


Astrophysicists have gotten a better glimpse at what happens to crashing neutron stars by listening in on the electromagnetic echoes of the …

Bonnethead Sharks Are Underwater Lawn Mowers

September 6th, 2018


The hammerhead relatives consume copious amounts of sea grass, and have the digestive machinery to process it—making them true omnivores. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Hurricane Is a Natural Selection Experiment

September 6th, 2018


When Hurricane Irma blew through the Turks and Caicos, lizards with shorter hindlimbs lucked out. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Pasta Problem Cracked!

September 5th, 2018


An intrepid undergrad led the way to understanding the physics of snapping strands of spaghetti.

Science News You Might Have Missed

August 31st, 2018


A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.

Pineapple Waste Won't Be Wasted

August 27th, 2018


Costa Rican scientists are extracting valuable materials from the peel and stubble of pineapples.

Sometimes Mosquitoes Are Just Thirsty

August 24th, 2018


Mosquitoes want your blood for its proteins...or simply to hydrate on a hot, dry day.    

Robot Bartender Will Take Your Order

August 23rd, 2018


Digital assistants have to respond quickly, but correctly—so researchers are studying how real humans navigate that trade-off, to design better machines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

As Spring Arrives Earlier, Arctic Geese Speed Up Their Migration

August 22nd, 2018


The birds are arriving in the Arctic up to 13 days earlier than they used to. But at a cost: hunger. Annie Sneed reports. 

Freeloading Ants Help the Workflow

August 21st, 2018


Fire ants tunnels got excavated efficiently by only a small percentage of the group doing most of the work, thus avoiding pileups in tight spaces.

Ancient Americans Bred Symbolically Important Scarlet Macaws

August 20th, 2018


Genetic information from the bones of macaws found in abandoned pueblos suggests they were bred and distributed as a commodity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Rising CO2 Means Monarch Butterfly Bellyaches

August 17th, 2018


Milkweed grown with more carbon dioxide in the air supplies fewer toxins to monarch butterflies that need the toxins to fight off gut parasites.

For Some Crows, Migration Is Optional

August 16th, 2018


Crows are what's known as "partial migrants"—as cold weather approaches, some crows fly south whereas others stay put. And that behavior appears to …

Plants Dominate the Planet's Biomass

August 15th, 2018


About 80 percent of Earth's biomass is plant life, with humans about equal to krill way down the heft chart.    

Solar Eclipse of 2017 Boosted Science Interest

August 14th, 2018


The Michigan Scientific Literacy Survey of 2017 found that last year's total solar eclipse got Americans more interested in celestial science.   

Crickets Carve Tools to Amplify Their Chirps

August 14th, 2018


The insects fashion and use "baffles"—sound controllers—made of leaves to produce sound more efficiently. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Computerized Chemical Toxicity Prediction Beats Animal Testing

August 11th, 2018


Researchers programmed a computer to compare structures and toxic effects of different chemicals, making it possible to then predict the toxicity of new chemicals based on their structural similarity to known ones.  

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