Hagfish Slime Cells Tailored to Deter Predation
Hagfish Slime Cells Tailored to Deter Predation
Chloe Tenn | Sep 28, 2021
The Scientist spoke with Chapman University’s Yu Zeng about his lab’s finding that the slime-producing cells of the slippery marine fish vary with the creature’s size, which may be an adaptation to thwart different predators.
Ancient Human Footprints in New Mexico Dated to Ice Age
Ancient Human Footprints in New Mexico Dated to Ice Age
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Sep 23, 2021
Researchers excavated human footprints out of a small bluff next to a dried-up playa lake and radiocarbon-dated embedded seeds to around 23,000 years ago. Their results suggest that people entered the Americas thousands of years earlier than the accepted estimate.
<em>Alu </em>Leap May Explain Why Apes Don&rsquo;t Have Tails
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
Researchers Uncover New Families of Gene-Editing Enzymes
Researchers Uncover New Families of Gene-Editing Enzymes
Annie Melchor | Sep 15, 2021
The results reveal evolutionary relatives of the Cas9 enzyme now used extensively in biotechnology.
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates&rsquo; Diets
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates’ Diets
Abby Olena | Sep 6, 2021
A study suggests that mutations in the gene that encodes the T1R1/T1R3 taste receptor allowed primates that relied on insects for protein to transition to eating leaves and fruit.
Talking Duck Stuns Animal Behavior Researcher
Talking Duck Stuns Animal Behavior Researcher
Christie Wilcox | Sep 5, 2021
Leiden University’s Carel ten Cate tracked down 34-year-old duck recordings—and the man who made them—to verify that musk ducks are capable of vocal learning, an ability that hadn’t been thought to exist in waterfowl.
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Abby Olena | Sep 2, 2021
Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.
Classroom Science Leads to Revision of Megalodon&rsquo;s Size
Classroom Science Leads to Revision of Megalodon’s Size
Connor Lynch | Sep 1, 2021
A handful of high schoolers prompt scientists to develop a new approach for calculating the size of the ancient behemoth.
Fish Species&rsquo; Y Chromosomes Diverged Even Without Recombination
Fish Species’ Y Chromosomes Diverged Even Without Recombination
Catherine Offord | Sep 1, 2021
Researchers discover surprisingly high levels of genetic diversity among the colorful male morphs of a freshwater fish.
7,200-Year-Old Skeleton Offers Clues to Early Human Migration
7,200-Year-Old Skeleton Offers Clues to Early Human Migration
Catherine Offord | Aug 29, 2021
Analysis of DNA from remains found in an Indonesian cave provides new insight into human movements among the islands between East Asia and Australia.
Maurice Taieb, Geologist Who Discovered &ldquo;Lucy&rdquo; Site, Dies at 86
Maurice Taieb, Geologist Who Discovered “Lucy” Site, Dies at 86
Lisa Winter | Aug 27, 2021
Taieb recognized the potential importance of the Hadar Formation, where remains of the hominin Australopithecus afarensis were found only a few years later.
Baby Talk: Bat Pups Babble Like Human Infants
Baby Talk: Bat Pups Babble Like Human Infants
Annie Melchor | Aug 20, 2021
By studying the vocal behavior of 20 baby bats from birth to weaning, researchers have identified striking similarities between how young humans and bats develop communication skills.
Snakes on a Plain
Snakes on a Plain
Annie Melchor | Aug 19, 2021
Researchers discover that rattlesnakes change their rattling frequency when a perceived threat approaches—tricking humans into thinking the snake is closer than it really is.
Indigenous Filipino Group Has Highest Known Denisovan Ancestry
Indigenous Filipino Group Has Highest Known Denisovan Ancestry
Annie Melchor | Aug 13, 2021
Researchers found the relatively high proportion of DNA from a hominin cousin—nearly 5 percent—when they scanned more than 1,000 genomes from 118 distinct ethnic groups.
Discovered: Fossilized Spores Suggestive of Early Land Plants
Discovered: Fossilized Spores Suggestive of Early Land Plants
Ruth Williams | Aug 12, 2021
Spores found in 480 million-year-old rock bring the fossil record in line with molecular estimates of when plants first adapted to life on land.
The Extinct Species Within
The Extinct Species Within
Christie Wilcox | Aug 6, 2021
The genomes of living animals are littered with DNA from long-gone relatives, providing a lens on evolution, past extinctions, and perhaps even solutions to agricultural problems.
65,000-Year-Old Cave Markings Made by Neanderthals: Study
65,000-Year-Old Cave Markings Made by Neanderthals: Study
Lisa Winter | Aug 3, 2021
An analysis concludes that pigments were transported into the cave, and the marks were made with intention, though their ultimate meaning remains unknown.
Longer Days Led to Oxygen Buildup on Early Earth: Study
Longer Days Led to Oxygen Buildup on Early Earth: Study
Amanda Heidt | Aug 3, 2021
Researchers propose that some of the planet’s earliest photosynthesizers benefited from a slowing of the Earth’s rotation that allowed them to produce a surplus of oxygen and paved the way for more complex life.  
Gene Offers Clue to How Human Labor Starts
Gene Offers Clue to How Human Labor Starts
Christie Wilcox | Aug 1, 2021
Genes associated with preterm birth and protecting the fetus from the mother’s immune system appear to be regulated by HAND2.
Genes Shared With Viruses Protect Caterpillars from Parasitic Wasps
Genes Shared With Viruses Protect Caterpillars from Parasitic Wasps
Annie Melchor | Jul 30, 2021
A newly identified gene family named “parasitoid killing factor” is found in both insect-infecting viruses and their hosts, although researchers can’t yet tell where they originated.