New evidence shows planting around school playgrounds protects children from air pollution

Western red cedar leaves. Credit: Professor Barbara Maher Scientists have published new evidence showing that selective planting of vegetation between roads and playgrounds can substantially cut toxic traffic-derived air pollution reaching school children. The new findings, published this week in the journal Scientific Reportsdemonstrate that roadside vegetation can be designed, installed and maintained to achieve … Read more

New evidence that water separates into two different liquids at low temperatures

Credit: CC0 Public Domain A new kind of “phase transition” in water was first proposed 30 years ago in a study by researchers from Boston University. Because the transition has been predicted to occur at supercooled conditions, however, confirming its existence has been a challenge. That’s because at these low temperatures, water really does not … Read more

Fossil provides earliest evidence of fruit-eating by any animal

The Cretaceous bird Jeholornis pooping out seeds from fruit, helping fruit-bearing plants take over the world. Credit: Zhixin Han and Yifan Wang. Hundreds of animals eat fruit, from toucans to fruit bats to maned wolves to humans. But most fruit-bearing plants evolved relatively recently in Earth’s history, showing up for the first time in the … Read more

Stereotypes can be self-reinforcing, stubborn even without any supporting evidence

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain A new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows why letting stereotypes inform our judgments of unfamiliar people can be such a hard habit to break. Stereotypes are self-perpetuating in our minds, growing stronger with use just like information we actively try to cement in our memory. “Think back … Read more

New Mexico mammoths among best evidence for early humans in North America

The remains of two mammoths discovered in New Mexico show that humans lived in North America much earlier than thought. Credit: NPS. About 37,000 years ago, a mother mammoth and her calf met their end at the hands of human beings. Bones from the butchering site record how humans shaped pieces of their long bones … Read more

Evolving to outpace climate change, tiny marine animal provides new evidence of long-theorized genetic mechanism

Several species of copepods and one ostracod are shown here. Credit: NOAA Some copepods, diminutive crustaceans with an outsized place in the aquatic food web, can evolve fast enough to survive in the face of rapid climate change, according to new research that addresses a longstanding question in the field of genetics. Barely more than … Read more

First long-term evidence of microplastic pollution from deep water layers of the open ocean

The samples on microplastic pollution were collected by a sediment trap attached in 2000 meters water depth to the Azores Observatory “Kiel 276” anchored in the middle of the Northeast Atlantic. Credit: J. Waniek For the first time, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) analyzed a long-term sample series on … Read more

NASA experiment suggests need to dig deep for evidence of life on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took this selfie at a location nicknamed “Mary Anning” after a 19th century English paleontologist. Curiosity snagged three samples of drilled rock at this site on its way out of the Glen Torridon region, which scientists believe was a site where ancient conditions would have been favorable to supporting life, if … Read more

Astronomers find evidence for most powerful pulsar in distant galaxy

Top Left: A giant blue star, much more massive than our Sun, has consumed, through nuclear fusion at its center, all its hydrogen, helium, and heavier elements up to iron. It now has a small iron core (red dot) at its center. Unlike the earlier stages of fusion, the fusion of iron atoms absorbs, rather … Read more

Mastodon tusk chemical analysis reveals first evidence of one extinct animal’s annual migration

University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher with the mounted skeleton of the Buesching mastodon, based on casts of individual bones produced in fiberglass, on public display at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor. Credit: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography. Around 13,200 years ago, a roving male mastodon died in a bloody … Read more