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Life on Earth Came from a Hot Volcanic Pool, Not the Sea, New Evidence Suggests
Chemistry

Life on Earth Came from a Hot Volcanic Pool, Not the Sea, New Evidence Suggests

Deep oceans were thought to hold life’s origins. New evidence points instead to an active volcanic landscape

By Martin J. Van Kranendonk, David W. Deamer and Tara Djokic
Fossil Pigments Reveal the True Colors of Dinosaurs
Evolution

Fossil Pigments Reveal the True Colors of Dinosaurs

Long thought impossible, preservation of fossil pigments is allowing scientists to reconstruct extinct organisms with unprecedented accuracy—a feat that is yielding surprising insights into the lives they led

By Jakob Vinther
Ancient Stone Tools Force Rethinking of Human Origins
Evolution

Ancient Stone Tools Force Rethinking of Human Origins

Ancient stone tools from Kenya shatter the classic story of when and how humans became innovators

By Kate Wong
Naturalist Trevor Goward Helps to Overturn a 150-Year-Old Truth of Science
Biology

Naturalist Trevor Goward Helps to Overturn a 150-Year-Old Truth of Science

How a naturalist’s observations in the wilds of British Columbia inspired a scientist to discover hidden symbioses—overturning 150 years of accepted scientific wisdom

By Erica Gies
Tiny Creatures, Part Plant and Part Animal, May Control the Fate of the Planet
Biology

Tiny Creatures, Part Plant and Part Animal, May Control the Fate of the Planet

Mixotrophs, tiny sea creatures that hunt like animals but grow like plants, can change everything from fish populations to rates of global warming

By Aditee Mitra
Our Solar System Was Born through High-Energy Crashes, Not Stately Growth
Space

Our Solar System Was Born through High-Energy Crashes, Not Stately Growth

Our neighborhood of planets was not created slowly, as scientists once thought, but in a speedy blur of high-energy crashes, destruction and rebuilding

By Linda T. Elkins-Tanton
Is Dark Matter Made of Black Holes?
Space

Is Dark Matter Made of Black Holes?

A hidden population of black holes born less than one second after the big bang could solve the mystery of dark matter

By Juan García-Bellido and Sébastien Clesse
The Exercise Paradox
Evolution

The Exercise Paradox

Studies of how the human engine burns calories help to explain why physical activity does little to control weight—and how our species acquired some of its most distinctive traits

By Herman Pontzer
From Liberia, Ebola Survivors Report They Are Still Afflicted with Disabling Symptoms
Public Health

From Liberia, Ebola Survivors Report They Are Still Afflicted with Disabling Symptoms

Brain deficits and more torment many virus survivors in Liberia. The top suspects are hidden viral remnants and immune system overreactions

By Seema Yasmin
Brain Cells Communicate with Mechanical Pulses, Not Electric Signals
Neuroscience

Brain Cells Communicate with Mechanical Pulses, Not Electric Signals

Physicists who have revived experiments from 50 years ago say nerve cells communicate with mechanical pulses, not electric ones

By Douglas Fox
How One Memory Attaches to Another
Neuroscience

How One Memory Attaches to Another

A technical revolution provides insight into how the brain links memories, a process critical for understanding and organizing the world around us

By Alcino J. Silva
Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning
Cognition

Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning

Much of Noam Chomsky’s revolution in linguistics—including its account of the way we learn languages—is being overturned

By Paul Ibbotson and Michael Tomasello
Dark Energy: No Answers but More Questions
Space

Dark Energy: No Answers but More Questions

Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating? After two decades of study, the answer is as mysterious as ever, but the questions have become clearer

By Adam G. Riess and Mario Livio
The First Tinkering with Human Heredity May Happen in the Infertility Clinic
Biotech

The First Tinkering with Human Heredity May Happen in the Infertility Clinic

Scientists are on the threshold of crossing a sharp ethical line: permanently altering the human genetic code

By Stephen S. Hall
Quantum Computers Compete for "Supremacy"
Computing

Quantum Computers Compete for "Supremacy"

Two technologies may be on the verge of surpassing even the most powerful digital computers in a year or so, but key challenges remain unsolved

By Neil Savage

Departments

  • From the Editor

    Science, Upended

  • The Science of Health

    New Nerve Drugs May Finally Prevent Migraine Headaches

  • Graphic Science

    Some of the Best Science Can Slumber for Years

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July 2018