What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet?

The distinction between a planet and a dwarf planet is a topic that has garnered significant attention and debate within the field of astronomy, particularly in recent years with the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006. To understand the difference between these two classifications, it’s essential … Read more

DNA analysis shows violent replacement of scandinavian hunter-gatherers by farmers

Following the arrival of the first farmers in Scandinavia 5,900 years ago, the hunter-gatherer population was wiped out within a few generations, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden, among others. The results, which are contrary to prevailing opinion, are based on DNA analysis of skeletons and teeth found in what is … Read more

Scientists combine 3D printing and soaking process to mimic bone microstructure

Scientists have combined laser 3D printing technology and an alternate soaking process to construct complex 3D structures that mimic bone microstructure. This is the first demonstration of this fabrication method, and it will lead to the development of 3D cell culture systems that can support bone grafts or create artificial bone marrow. Their research is … Read more

DNA and archaeology reveal 10,000-year connection between humans and fallow deer

Modern populations of fallow deer possess hidden cultural histories dating back to the Roman Empire, which should be factored into decisions around their management and conservation. New research, bringing together DNA analysis with archaeological insights, has revealed how fallow deer have been repeatedly moved to new territories by humans, often as a symbol of colonial … Read more

New study identifies oldest bead in Americas at 12,940 years old

University of Wyoming archaeology Professor Todd Surovell and his team of collaborators have discovered a tube-shaped bead made of bone that is about 12,940 years old. The bead, found at the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, is the oldest known bead in the Americas. Surovell’s research is published in Scientific Reports; the paper … Read more

Roman archaeologists unearth first concrete evidence of black henbane use

A team of archaeologists led by Dr. Maaike Groot from Freie Universität Berlin has provided the first firm evidence that the Romans deliberately collected and used the poisonous seeds of the black henbane plant. The team analyzed seeds found in a hollowed bone discovered at the Roman-period settlement of Houten-Castellum in the Netherlands and compared … Read more

100-million-year-old frog fossil found with eggs

A groundbreaking discovery has emerged from an international collaboration of Earth scientists, evolutionary biologists, and paleontologists: the unearthing of an ancient frog carrying a belly full of eggs, marking the oldest find of its kind. Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team’s paper sheds light on the frog’s characteristics, its origin, its … Read more

World’s richest lower ordovician fossil site reveals ancient climate refuge in France

Paleontology enthusiasts have unearthed one of the world’s richest and most diverse fossil sites from the Lower Ordovician period (around 470 million years ago). Located in Montagne Noire, in the Hérault department of France, this deposit of over 400 fossils is distinguished by an exceptionally well-preserved fauna. In addition to shelly components, it contains extremely … Read more

Reintroduced apex predators may not fully reverse ecosystem changes, study finds

A Colorado State University experiment spanning more than two decades has found that removal of apex predators from an ecosystem can create lasting changes that are not reversed after they return—at least, not for a very long time. The study, published in Ecological Monographs, challenges the commonly held belief that the reintroduction of wolves to … Read more

Scientists seek planets with “CO runaway” for life’s origins

The search for habitable exoplanets involves looking for planets with similar conditions to the Earth, such as liquid water, a suitable temperature range and atmospheric conditions. One crucial factor is the planet’s position in the habitable zone, the region around a star where liquid water could potentially exist on the planet’s surface. NASA’s Kepler telescope, … Read more

Chronic circadian disruption linked to liver cancer in humanized mice

When asked about what could cause cancer, people most likely think of chemicals like tobacco or radiation such as UV light in sunshine, but chronic jet lag probably does not come to mind. Human epidemiological studies have linked chronic jet lag, also known as chronic circadian dysfunction, to increased liver cancer risk. However, direct evidence … Read more

Stone tool technology suggests nuanced cultural evolution in early humans

A study led by researchers at the Nagoya University Museum in Japan may change how we understand the cultural evolution of Homo sapiens at the time of their dispersal across Eurasia about 50,000 to 40,000 years ago. These findings challenge traditional beliefs about the timing and nature of cultural transitions during this critical period in … Read more

Scientists develop “spark plug” for direct-drive fusion

Scientists from the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) led experiments to demonstrate an effective “spark plug” for direct-drive methods of inertial confinement fusion (ICF). In two studies published in Nature Physics, the authors discuss their results and outline how they can be applied at bigger scales with the hopes of eventually producing … Read more

New pterosaur discovered on Isle of Skye

A new species of pterosaur from specimens found on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, has been announced by scientists from the Natural History Museum, University of Bristol, University of Leicester, and University of Liverpool. The new pterosaur is part of the Darwinoptera clade of pterosaurs. Its discovery shows that the clade was considerably more diverse … Read more

Bipedal gait leaves telltale mark on skull, study confirms

The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull—a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Texas at Austin. Compared with other primates, the large hole at the base of the human skull … Read more

350-million-year-old fossil offers new Insights into plant evolution with its bizarre crown shape

In the fossil record, trees typically are preserved with only their trunks. They don’t usually include any leaves to show what their canopies and overall forms may have looked like. But now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology describe fossilized trees from New Brunswick, Canada with a surprising and unique three-dimensional crown shape. “The … Read more

Taming Jekyll-and-Hyde material for miniaturized electronics

By better taming the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of an alternative to the semiconductor—one that transitions from electricity-resisting insulator to current-conducting metal—Nebraska’s Xia Hong and colleagues may have unlocked a new path to smaller, more efficient digital devices. The team reports its findings in the journal Nature Communications. The semiconductor’s ability to conduct electricity in the Goldilocks … Read more

Early horned dinosaur discovered in North America

Scientists have named the first definite horned dinosaur species from the Early Cretaceous in North America, according to a study published December 10, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Andrew Farke from Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology and colleagues. The limited fossil record for neoceratopsian—or horned dinosaurs—from the Early Cretaceous in North … Read more

New horned dinosaur unearthed with “crown-like” frill

About 10 years ago, Peter Hews stumbled across some bones sticking out of a cliff along the Oldman River in southeastern Alberta, Canada. Now, scientists describe in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 4 that those bones belonged to a nearly intact skull of a very unusual horned dinosaur—a close relative of the … Read more

Complete skeleton of juvenile Chasmosaurus unveils new insights into dinosaur growth and evolution

The discovery of a juvenile Chasmosaurus—one of the rarest dinosaur discoveries—made headlines around the world in late 2013: Professor Philip Currie from the University of Alberta and his colleagues have now published the results of their scientific findings in an alpha-level taxonomic description in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. “For the first time ever, we … Read more