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Stories by Katherine Harmon


Full genome sequence shows body lice have lousy sense of smell

The body louse, a plague to humans and our ancestors for millions of years, subsists exclusively on our unwitting hospitality. Scientists have now parsed the modern human body louse's ( Pediculus humanus humanus ) genome, revealing a deep evolutionary dependence on humans and "remarkable completeness," despite being the shortest yet decoded in the insect group, the researchers wrote in a study published online June 21 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ...

June 21, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Were some gigantic Jurassic sea creatures warm-blooded?

In ancient Mesozoic seas, the biggest predators might not have been entirely cold-blooded killers. Rather, a new study suggests some of these rapacious reptiles might have been able to regulate their own body temperature, thereby expanding their hunting ranges. 

Some modern aquatic reptiles, including leatherback turtles, as well as some sharks and tuna are able to keep their body temperatures relatively stable compared to the fluctuating water temperatures around them...

June 10, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Babies born early--even by a week--are more likely to have special education needs

Premature infants have a known higher risk for poor neurological development, often leading to developmental and educational issues. However, these babies, born before 37 weeks, make up a small number of any generation, and new research shows that the 40 percent of babies born any more than a week before a full 40-week term are also at higher risk for having special education needs during childhood...

June 9, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
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