Press Release Category: Science

Insect swarms might generate as much electric charge as storm clouds

You might feel a spark when you talk to your crush, but living things don’t require romance to make electricity. A study published October 24 in iScience suggests that the electricity naturally produced by swarming insects like honeybees and locusts is an unappreciated contributor to the overall electric charge of the atmosphere. “Particles in the

50 years ago, scientists dug into Pangaea’s past lives

Before Pangaea — What? — Science News, September 30, 1972 The continents as we know them resulted when the proto­continent Pangaea broke apart and its fragments made the long slow journey to their present positions. The process took about 200 m­illion years. But the Earth’s crust is an estimated 4.5 billion years old.… [Scientists are exploring]

A clever molecular trick extends the lives of these ant queens

For some ant queens, the secret to long life might be a self-produced insulin blocker. Ant queens are famously long-lived, even though they shouldn’t be. Generally, animals that put lots of energy into reproduction sacrifice some time off their life. But ant queens produce millions of eggs and live an extraordinarily long time compared with

How slow and steady lionfish win the race against fast prey

Lionfish certainly aren’t the fastest predators on the reef, but new research suggests that they can catch swift prey through pure tenacity, gliding slowly in pursuit until the perfect moment to strike. The finding may help explain part of the lionfish’s impact as an invasive species, and reveal a key hunting strategy that other relatively

Feathers may have helped dinosaurs survive the Triassic mass extinction

Widespread volcanic eruptions around 202 million years ago had a profound effect on Earth’s climate, triggering a mass extinction event that killed off three-fourths of the planet’s species, including many large reptiles. Yet dinosaurs, somehow, survived and went on to thrive. Dinosaurs are often thought of as heat-loving, well suited to the steamy greenhouse environment

This soft, electronic ‘nerve cooler’ could be a new way to relieve pain

A flexible electronic implant could one day make pain management a lot more chill. Created from materials that dissolve in the body, the device encircles nerves with an evaporative cooler. Implanted in rats, the cooler blocked pain signals from zipping up to the brain, bioengineer John Rogers and colleagues report in the July 1 Science.

Britons’ tools from 560,000 years ago have emerged from gravel pits

In the 1920s, laborers and amateur archaeologists at gravel quarry pits in southeastern England uncovered more than 300 ancient, sharp-edged oval tools. Researchers have long suspected that these hand axes were made 500,000 to 700,000 years ago. A new study confirms that suspicion in the first systematic excavation of the site, known as Fordwich. Dating

5 misunderstandings of pregnancy biology that cloud the abortion debate

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. By undoing the landmark 1973 decision that protected a person’s right to an abortion, the highest court in the country has shifted decisions about this medical care to individual state and local governments. Some states have already passed laws that curtail abortion access. Now

Russia’s invasion could cause long-term harm to Ukraine’s prized soil

By now, wheat planted late last year waves in fields across Ukraine. Spring crops of sunflowers and barley are turning swaths of dark earth into a fuzz of bright green. But with Russia’s war being waged in some of the most fertile regions of Ukraine, uncertainty looms over summer harvesting. Ukrainian farmers braved a war

Seven newfound dwarf galaxies sit on just one side of a larger galaxy

PASADENA, Calif. — The faint dwarf galaxies in a nearby galaxy group seem to have missed the memo. Instead of being dispersed evenly around the group’s most massive galaxy, which is what happens in our own galaxy group, these newly found dwarfs cluster in one region. And astronomers don’t know why. “This satellite distribution is…

Here’s why pumpkin toadlets are such clumsy jumpers

Some frogs just can’t stick the landing. After launching into a leap, pumpkin toadlets careen through the air as if flung from a toddler’s fist. They roll, cartwheel or backflip and then plummet to the ground, often belly flopping or crash-landing on their backs. “I’ve looked at a lot of frogs and these are the…

Scientists created ‘smoke rings’ of light

Smoke rings are being seen in a new light. Doughnut-shaped structures called vortex rings are sometimes seen swirling through fluids. Smokers can form them with their mouths, volcanoes can spit them out during eruptions and dolphins can blow them as bubble rings. Now, scientists can create the rings with light. A standard vortex is an…