Old Books’ DNA May Reveal When, Where They Were Made

Jan 13th, 2009 | By | Category: News, Science

The animal-skin pages used in early medieval manuscripts contain genetic material capable of solving long-standing mysteries about the works, according to new research. Before paper was widely used, European books were written on parchment made from the treated skins of calves, young sheep, and goats. “What I was looking for was a way to date […]

Ants Smell Cheaters and Assault Them, Study Finds

Jan 9th, 2009 | By | Category: News, Science

If a worker ant dares to reproduce in the presence of the queen, her sisters will smell her attempt and attack, according to a new study. Typically, only queens produce offspring in an ant colony, and males die after mating. The sons and the daughter queens fly away, with hopes of reproducing elsewhere, while the […]

Whistling Orangutan May Hint at Language Evolution

Dec 22nd, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

Bonnie’s whistling isn’t so surprising to her caregivers. The 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) orangutan at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has been whistling for about two decades. Now a new study suggests that the sounds she makes could hold clues about the origins of human language. “The assumption is that someone was whistling and she probably […]

Dogs Feel Envy, Study Finds

Dec 8th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

The first scientific study to find envy in non-primates affirms what many already know: dogs can get jealous. “Everybody who has a dog at home probably [suspects] that dogs can be very jealous of other dogs and also of people,” said lead author Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, Austria. In experiments with 43 […]

Mammoth Genes Decoded — Clones on the way?

Nov 19th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

Using hairs from woolly mammoths, scientists have sequenced an extensive genome of these elephant cousins, a new report says. The development brings researchers a step closer to “resurrecting” the extinct species via cloning, though so many technical obstacles stand in the way that some experts doubt it could ever happen. (See “Mammoths to Return? DNA […]

Iceman May Have No Living Relatives

Oct 30th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

The oldest intact human mummy, the Iceman, comes from a genetic line that has either died off or become extremely rare, according to a new DNA study. The 5,200-year-old Ötzi was discovered frozen in a glacier along the border between Austria and Italy in 1991. Since then, scientists have investigated everything from the cause of […]

Electricity Found on Saturn Moon — Could It Spark Life?

Oct 28th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

Recently identified electrical activity on Saturn‘s largest moon bolsters arguments that Titan is the kind of place that could harbor life. At a brisk -350 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 Celsius), Titan is currently much too cold to host anything close to life as we know it, scientists say. But a new study reports faint signs of […]

Smells Influence Dreams, Study Says

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

What you smell may influence emotions in your dreams, according to a new study. When researchers gave dreaming subjects whiffs of rose scent, the subjects reported rosier dreams. The scent of rotten eggs, on the other hand, provoked unpleasant dreams, the study found. The different scents were not incorporated literally into a person’s dreams, said […]

Shuttle Crew’s Repairs Aim to Leave “Best Hubble Ever”

Sep 10th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

The fifth and final trip by shuttle astronauts to the Hubble Space Telescope will leave the historic satellite more capable than it has ever been, senior NASA officials said this week. A shuttle mission scheduled for mid-October is set to deliver new components and undertake extensive in-space repairs—a first—on broken instruments attached to the orbiting […]

Siberian Woolly Mammoths Had North American Blood

Sep 4th, 2008 | By | Category: News, Science

Siberia’s last woolly mammoths descended from North American—not exclusively Eurasian—stock, according to new research. Scientists studying DNA from the remains of 160 of the animals found the ancient beasts migrated back and forth between Eurasia and Alaska several times over hundreds of thousands of years. Cousins of present-day elephants (learn more), woolly mammoths are believed […]