Climate may have sent drift of the North Pole toward Greenland

Earth’s geographic poles aren’t fixed. Instead, they wander in seasonal and near-annual cycles. The weather and ocean currents drive most of this slow drift. But a sudden zag in the direction of that drift started in the 1990s. That sharp change in direction appears due in large part to the…

The secret to T. rex‘s incredible biting force is at last revealed

The fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex had a tremendous bone-crushing bite. What made this possible was a stiff lower jaw. And that stiffness came from a boomerang-shaped bit of bone. A new study finds that this small bone braced what would have been an otherwise flexible lower jaw. Unlike mammals, reptiles and…

Stars made of antimatter could lurk in our galaxy

All known stars are made of ordinary matter. But astronomers haven’t completely ruled out that some could be made of antimatter. Antimatter is the oppositely charged alter-ego of normal matter. For instance, electrons have antimatter twins called positrons. Where electrons have negative electric charge, positrons have positive charge. Physicists think…

Only 3 percent of Earth’s land is unchanged by people

The African Serengeti looks much like it did hundreds of years ago. Huge herds of wildebeests, over one million strong, still roam the savanna. Lions, hyenas and other top predators stalk the herds. This keeps their prey from eating too much vegetation. Diverse trees and grasses support scores of other…

The pebbled path to planets

Every big planet begins with a pebble. Okay, not just one. It starts with lots of pebbles — a flat sea of them stretching perhaps hundreds of times wider than the distance from Earth to the sun. Their sizes vary greatly. Some may be mere dust particles. Others may be…

How scientists can get a better view of our extinct relatives

Depictions of extinct human ancestors and cousins often are more art than science. Take Australopithecus africanus. This member of the human family tree, or hominid, lived millions of years ago. Scientists made two sculptures showing what this hominid might have looked like. The busts were based on the skull of…

Let’s learn about touch

Four of your senses are located just on your head. Taste is in your mouth. Smell is in your nose. Sight in your eyes and hearing in your ears. But touch? Touch is all over your body. Your fingertips and face can sense touch, and so can the bottoms of…

The Perseverance rover split CO2 on Mars to make breathable air

The Perseverance rover has created a breath of fresh air on Mars. An experimental device on the NASA rover split carbon dioxide molecules into their component parts. This created enough breathable oxygen to sustain a person for about 10 minutes. It was also enough oxygen to make tiny amounts of…

Scientists Say: Pollen

Pollen (noun, “PAH-len”) This is a mass of small grains released by seed plants. Each individual piece of pollen is called a pollen grain. Each grain contains a reproductive cell that corresponds to a sperm cell in an animal. A pollen grain can fertilize the egg cell of other plant…

Will this smartphone app become your exercise coach?

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed gyms and put school sports on hold, many teens looked for other ways to stay active. Some took up at-home yoga or running. For high-school sophomore Michelle Hua, that wasn’t enough. This 16-year-old student at Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., invented an app…

No animal died to make this steak

It looks like a steak. It cooks like a steak. And according to the scientists who made and ate it, the thick and juicy slab smells and tastes like a steak. A ribeye, specifically. But appearances can be deceiving. Unlike any steak found on a menu or store shelf today,…

New robots can clean virus-laden surfaces so people won’t have to

A robot prances on four slender legs. It almost appears to be dancing. Then it stops in front of a chair in an empty auditorium. Suddenly, a mist spews from a nozzle atop its head. The sci-fi-like machine now twists itself to the left, then to the right, then up…

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