Press Release Category: Science

These tiny beetles fly fast thanks to wing bristles and a weird, wide stroke

Featherwing beetles are some of the world’s smallest flying insects. Yet they can rocket along with the speed and agility of much larger insects. Now, scientists have figured out how the beetles do it.  A wide wing stroke combined with lightweight, bristled wings allow the beetles to efficiently propel themselves through the air, researchers report…

Part donkey, part wild ass, the kunga is the oldest known hybrid bred by humans

From mules to ligers, the list of human-made hybrid animals is long. And, it turns out, ancient. Meet the kunga, the earliest known hybrid animal bred by people. The ancient equine from Syro-Mesopotamia existed around 4,500 years ago and was a cross between a donkey and a hemippe, a type of Asiatic wild ass, researchers…

Homo sapiens bones in East Africa are at least 36,000 years older than once thought

Fossils from the oldest known Homo sapiens individual in East Africa are more ancient than previously thought. A partial H. sapiens skull and associated skeletal parts found in 1967 in the Kibish rock formation along Ethiopia’s Omo River date to at least around 233,000 years ago, pushing back the age of the fossils by 36,000…

Here’s what goldfish driving ‘cars’ tell us about navigation

It might seem like a fish needs a car like — well, like a fish needs a bicycle. But a new experiment suggests that fish actually make pretty good drivers. In the experiment, several goldfish learned to drive what is essentially the opposite of a submarine — a tank of water on wheels — to…

Some volcanic hot spots may have a surprisingly shallow heat source

Some of the world’s volcanic hot spots may be fueled by molten material that originates surprisingly close to Earth’s surface. While some of the hottest spots are fueled by plumes of buoyant material welling up from deep within Earth, as expected, molten flows driving activity at the coolest hot spots may result from relatively shallow…

Arctic hunter-gatherers were advanced ironworkers more than 2,000 years ago

Hunter-gatherers who lived more than 2,000 years ago near the top of the world appear to have run ironworking operations as advanced as those of farming societies far to the south. Excavations in what’s now northeastern Sweden uncovered ancient furnaces and fire pits that hunter-gatherers used for metalworking. A mobile lifestyle did not prevent hardy…

These are the most-read Science News stories of 2021

Science News drew over 21 million visitors to our website this year. Here’s a rundown of the most-read news stories and long reads of 2021. Top news stories 1. Space station detectors found the source of weird ‘blue jet’ lightning Instruments on the International Space Station detected the origins of an odd type of lightning…

Here are our favorite cool, funny and bizarre science stories of 2021

A range of cool discoveries, technological milestones and downright bizarre scientific feats — cows can be potty trained? — gave us a chance to gab about something other than the pandemic. Fusion of the future Hopes for making nuclear fusion the clean energy source of the future got a boost in August when a fusion…

50 years ago, scientists were genetically modifying mosquitoes

Sterility gene for mosquito control — Science News, December 18, 1971 Scientists are working hard to find a substitute for DDT in the control of malaria vector mosquitoes.… Two experiments with mosquitoes breeding in old tires in New Delhi point to an answer: a gene for sterility that would be passed to offspring. Update Today,…

A terrifying robot can thwart invasive mosquito fish

Invasive mosquito fish are often fearless.  Free from the predators of their native range, these mosquito fish run rampant, throwing naive ecosystems from Europe to Australia out of whack. To keep the problematic fish in check, scientists are trying to strike fear back into the hearts of these swimmers with a high-tech tool: robots. In…

Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier ice shelf could collapse within five years

The demise of a West Antarctic glacier poses the world’s biggest threat to raise sea levels before 2100 — and an ice shelf that’s holding it back from the sea could collapse within three to five years, scientists reported December 13 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in New Orleans. Thwaites Glacier is “one…

Ingenuity is still flying on Mars. Here’s what the helicopter is up to

The Ingenuity Mars helicopter was never supposed to last this long. NASA engineers built and tested the first self-powered aircraft to fly on another planet to answer a simple question: Could the helicopter fly at all? The goal was to take five flights in 30 Martian days or break the aircraft trying. But more than…