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Chimp Culture

Many animals know everything they need to know by instinct. They don’t need to learn from those around them to grow up, feed themselves, or even communicate with other members of their species. Humans are unique in how many varied and distinct cultures we have. Cultures teach us everything from how to talk, to howContinue reading “Chimp Culture”

Listening to Animals

Have you ever wished you could understand what animals are saying? How would you figure out animal language? In a new study, biologists from South Korea and Poland explained the steps they took to try to interpret exactly what birds called the oriental tit (species name Parus minor) are saying when they call out inContinue reading “Listening to Animals”

What Will Schools Be Like When They Reopen?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put out recommendations for how to protect students and school staff from COVID-19 and slow its spread. Even though school is canceled for many students through the rest of the school year, it’s important for school officials to plan for how schools will be differentContinue reading “What Will Schools Be Like When They Reopen?”

Pampered Pets and Well-Fed Pests

Animals that are adapted to life with humans thrive. Many dogs and cats who live with well-off owners get more attention and medical care than poor people. Even animals that humans consider pests prosper. The house mouse, whose species name is Mus musculus, is more widespread around the world than any other type of rodent.Continue reading “Pampered Pets and Well-Fed Pests”

How Exactly Do We Stop Climate Change? Plus a Summer Forecast for COVID-19

Some people on social media obsessively replace all their plastic belongings with stuff made from stainless steel, ceramic, or glass. Other environmentalists rail against fossil fuel companies and say regular people don’t need to change their behavior to stop climate change; we just need to put rich oil company heads in prison. But what doContinue reading “How Exactly Do We Stop Climate Change? Plus a Summer Forecast for COVID-19”

Tantalizing Steps Toward a COVID-19 Vaccine. And How Does an mRNA Vaccine Work?

On Monday a company reported promising first signs for a vaccine against COVID-19. What made this news exciting was that, so far, the candidate vaccine looks safe, and taking two shots of it seems to give people as strong an immune response as found in people who have recovered from COVID-19. While this is encouragingContinue reading “Tantalizing Steps Toward a COVID-19 Vaccine. And How Does an mRNA Vaccine Work?”

Researchers Discover How to Preserve The Scream

Some misguided souls like to think of art and science as opposites, but the two impulses are intertwined. Scientists need deep creativity to stand at the frontier of knowledge and pull something solid out of the void. And artists creating things out of the material world are just as subject to the laws of scienceContinue reading “Researchers Discover How to Preserve The Scream”

A Strong Immune Reaction Gives Hope for a Future COVID-19 Vaccine

Scientists around the world are racing to make a vaccine to protect against COVID-19. Scientists are also trying to figure out if people who get COVID-19 are safe from getting it again. Both of these things depend on how our immune systems respond to the new virus. Studying 20 people who had recovered from COVID-19,Continue reading “A Strong Immune Reaction Gives Hope for a Future COVID-19 Vaccine”

Cats Can Get COVID-19 and Pass it to Other Cats

In April, zoo keepers at the Bronx Zoo noticed that some of their lions and tigers were coughing. They tested the animals for COVID-19 and found that eight had caught the virus that was causing the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. It seems that the lions and tigers caught the virus from a zooContinue reading “Cats Can Get COVID-19 and Pass it to Other Cats”

How Food Labeling Leads to Food Waste

For the first time in their lives, many people in well-off countries are being careful not to waste food. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder to find and buy all the food many of us normally take for granted. But food waste is a problem even when food seems plentiful, partly because not everyoneContinue reading “How Food Labeling Leads to Food Waste”

T. rex’s Long Legs Were for Marathon Walking

With its massive, chomping jaw and fierce expression, Tyrannosaurus rex may be the most fearsome dinosaur of all. Scientists generally assumed that with their long legs, T. rexes could run at top speed to catch prey. But some researchers now think that the dinosaur’s long legs were more for endurance and efficiency than for running.Continue reading “T. rex’s Long Legs Were for Marathon Walking”

Coronavirus Symptoms in Children May Not Start With a Cough

In about 4 months, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has killed more than 285,000 people around the world. But, to everyone’s relief, extremely few of those people have been children. When COVID-19 first struck in China, it wasn’t even clear that children could catch the virus. By March, researchers figured out that children were justContinue reading “Coronavirus Symptoms in Children May Not Start With a Cough”