The fiery demise of ancient huts in southern Africa 1,000 years ago left clues to understanding a bizarre weak spot in the Earth’s magnetic field — and the role it plays in the magnetic poles’ periodic reversals.
Patches of ground where huts were burned down in southern Africa contain a key mineral that recorded the magnetic field at the time of each ritual burning. Those mineral records teach researchers more about a weird, weak patch of Earth’s magnetic field called the South Atlantic Anomaly and point the way toward a possible mechanism for sudden reversals of the field.
Our ancestors were not a picky bunch. Overwhelming genetic evidence shows that Homo sapiens had sex with Neanderthals, Denisovans and other archaic relatives. Now researchers are using large genomics studies to unravel the decidedly mixed contributions that these ancient romps made to human biology — from the ability of H. sapiens to cope with environments outside Africa, to the tendency of modern humans to get asthma, skin diseases and maybe even depression.
A community of lizards from the Caribbean, preserved for 20 million years in amber, have been found to be identical to their modern cousins, say researchers.
This suggests the different niches inhabited by the lizards have – incredibly – changed little over the past 20 million-year, report the team, in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tyrannosaurus rex and other large meat-loving dinosaurs had deeply serrated teeth that let them tear through the flesh and bone of victims.
Only one animal living today has this same tooth structure, according to new research, published in the journal Scientific Reports. The Komodo dragon, which is the world’s largest lizard, holds that distinction.
Alt: Structural secret of T. rex’s bone-crushing teeth
Once thought to be terrifying, scaly lizards, it now seems dinosaurs were actually more like birds. But not everyone’s ready to accept their new image, writes Mary Colwell.
Besides just throwing back your handsome reflection, in the near future your mirror might tell you a lot about what lies beneath the surface.
That’s the goal of researchers who are developing a high-tech mirror that can deliver a health assessment just by analyzing your facial features.
If someone has a damaged kidney, a donor can give them a spare organ so both people can live. Now, what if you could do something similar for a friend with a failing brain?
In recent lab experiments, Miguel Nicolelis and his colleagues melded together the brains of multiple monkeys and rats to function as “brainets”—shared networks able to cooperatively manipulate a virtual arm and make calculations and decisions
Over 1,000 high-profile artificial intelligence experts and leading researchers have signed an open letter warning of a “military artificial intelligence arms race” and calling for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”.
The Philae comet lander has fallen silent, according to scientists working on the European Rosetta mission.
The fridge-sized spacecraft, which landed on Comet 67P in November, last made contact on 9 July.
China has started assembling the world’s largest radio telescope, which will have a dish the size of 30 football pitches when completed, state media reported as Beijing steps up its ambitions in outer space.
The five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) nestles in a bowl-shaped valley between hills in the southwestern province of Guizhou, images posted online show.
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity went out of its way to investigate a rock the likes of which it has never seen before on the Red Planet.
Measurements by Curiosity’s rock-zapping ChemCam laser and another instrument revealed that the target, a chunk of bedrock dubbed Elk, contains high levels of silica and hydrogen, NASA officials said.
Pluto would appear to have glaciers of nitrogen ice, the latest pictures from the New Horizons probe suggest.
Scientists believe they see evidence of surface material having flowed around mountains and even ponding in craters.
The scientific search for extraterrestrial civilisations has languished for more than a decade, as the hunt for habitable planets and simpler forms of life has thrived. Nasa’s stunningly successful Kepler mission has discovered a thousand new worlds orbiting other stars. Astrobiology is a burgeoning field. But the search for intelligent life, begun in 1960 by astronomer Frank Drake, somehow fell off the funding radar.
While most humans are right-handed, our proteins are made up of lefty molecules. In the same way your left and right hands mirror one another, molecules can assemble in two reflected structures. Life prefers the left-handed version, which is puzzling since both mirrored types form equally in the laboratory. But a new study suggests that this may be because the star-forming cloud that created the first-ever biological molecule, before our sun was even born, made it left-handed.
In a new blow for the “supersymmetry” theory of the universe’s basic anatomy, scientists have detected new evidence of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.
New data from ultra high-speed proton collisions at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) showed the bottom quark, also known as the ‘beauty quark’ behaves as predicted by the Standard Model.
Scientists and engineers at Arizona State University, in Tempe, have created the first lasers that can shine light over the full spectrum of visible colors. The device’s inventors suggest the laser could find use in video displays, solid-state lighting, and a laser-based version of Wi-Fi.
Over the past year, there’s been a whole lot of excitement about the electromagnetic propulsion drive, or EM Drive – a scientifically impossible engine that’s defied pretty much everyone’s expectations by continuing to stand up to experimental scrutiny.
Alt: ‘Impossible’ rocket drive works and could get to Moon in four hours
Alt: No, German Scientists Have Not Confirmed the “Impossible” EMDrive