Making spears

Making spears

Spears helped our ancestors eat and defend themselves. Spearmaking required ingenuity, experiments and communication. Symmetrical stone tools with damage at the tip indicate that spears were being used in South Africa half a million years ago, according to a new study. More »

When dead men speak…

When dead men speak…

How do bones, isotopes, historic records, DNA and grave goods tell us about the dead? We check out the example of King Richard III, found in a parking lot! More »

Galactic rays

Galactic rays

Scientists have tracked a light beam that’s half-a-million light years long to a monster black hole and found that the hole and its disk of orbiting junk are spinning in parallel. Their new, supersize radio telescope promises more details on black holes at the center of most galaxies, including ours. More »

Patent wars!

Patent wars!

How do patents work? What is “new, non-obvious and useful”? What will happen after the biggest change in patent law in 60 years? More »

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

How do homing pigeons find their way on their amazing migrations? Scientists thought iron-bearing nerve cells in the beak can detect Earth’s magnetic field. But those iron granules are in immune cells. How do they do it? More »

First forest: New details emerge

First forest: New details emerge

Returning to the site of a classic “first forest” site, New York scientists have found extra complexity: three fossilized trees-like species aged almost 400 million years. One find, a vine-like monster, may be a direct descendant of all seed-bearing trees! More »

The importance of being Einstein

Black and white photo: closeup of Einstein's face with blackboard in background

Experiment finds Earth “dragging” spacetime, as Einstein predicted. Einstein knew his physics. Bending light, gravity lenses, shifting spacetime, spinning neutron stars: he called them all. More »

Peopling the Americas — New evidence

stone tool points

A report that people were in Texas 15,500 years ago settles a long dispute: The Americans who made Clovis-style spear-points were not the first Americans — despite heavy archeological skepticism. Pre-Clovis rules! But who were the pre-Clovis people, and why are scientists so dismissive of contrary evidence? More »

Animal love! (?)

Animal love! (?)

Researchers finally accept that animals can have emotions. But is love one of those emotions, and how would we be sure? What does neurochemistry and behavioral studies tell us about emotions. Does your dog really love you? Your cat? Do they love each other? More »

Happy tax day: Meet bureaucracy’s roots!

Happy tax day: Meet bureaucracy's roots!
Which came first: The empire or the administration? Conventional wisdom says the demands of empire led to the rise of bureaucracy. But a new study of six early states suggests that the specialization of power and function we call bureaucracy arises at the same time as the territorial expansion that leads to empire. More »

History of fishing

History of fishing

A new study finds a surprising number of fish, birds and mammals in the oceans 100 and 1,000 years ago. Can this information help regulators slow the decline of important marine animals? More »

Cloning Fraud: How’d it Happen?

Korean scientist pulled off the biggest scientific fraud in memory. How did he do it? How is science supposed to prevent fraud? Why did it matter, and who loses out? More »