Many scientists believe the Earth was initially dry and that water, carbon and nitrogen -- the building blocks for life -- likely came as a result of collisions with objects that began their lives in the cold outer reaches of our solar system. Today, scientists report discovery of the existence of…

Nearby Star Contains Life's Building Blocks
Physicists have cleared a further hurdle on the path to creating quantum computers: in a recent study, they present a method with which they can very quickly and precisely sort large numbers of atoms.

Quantum Computers: Sorting Machine for Atoms
A group of biologists, paleobiologists, lawyers, policymakers and writers is urging conservationists not only to save species, but also to preserve a diverse array of ecosystem structures and functions in the face of rising populations and changing climate. This could include allowing some species…

The Future of Conservation
As the climate changes and fisheries transform the oceans, the world's African penguins are in trouble. Young penguins aren't able to take all the changes into account and are finding themselves 'trapped' in parts of the sea that can no longer support them even as better options are available.

Penguins Falling Into 'Ecological Trap'
The bacterial world is rife with unusual talents, among them a knack for producing electricity. In the wild, 'electrogenic' bacteria generate current as part of their metabolism, and now researchers have found a way to confer that ability upon non-electrogenic bacteria. This technique could have…

Iron-Fed Bacteria Form Electrical Generators
As bees slip onto the endangered species lists, researchers in Japan are pollinating lilies with insect-sized drones. The undersides of these artificial pollinators are coated with horse hairs and an ionic gel just sticky enough to pick up pollen from one flower and deposit it onto another. The…

Insect-Sized Drones As Artificial Pollinators
Researchers have identified a genetic signature found exclusively in the nerve cells that supply, or innervate, the muscles of an organism's outermost extremities: the hands and feet. The findings suggest that the evolution of the extremities may be related to the emergence of fine motor control,…

The Evolutionary Origins of Fine Motor Skills
Fish embryo study indicates that the last common ancestor of vertebrates was a complex animal complete with gills -- overturning prior scientific understanding and complementing recent fossil finds. The work places gill evolution concurrent with shift to self-propulsion in our earliest ancestors.

Gill Evolution, Movement in Earliest Ancestors
For the first time, scientists have witnessed a massive object with the makeup of a comet being ripped apart and scattered in the atmosphere of a white dwarf, the burned-out remains of a compact star.

Comet Ripped Apart by White Dwarf
Despite having few taste genes, honey bees are fine-tuned to know what minerals the colony may lack and proactively seek out nutrients in conjunction with the season when their floral diet varies.

How Bees Get Nutrients Despite Few Taste Genes
Experiments show how electrons in Mott insulators with strong spin-orbit coupling arrange themselves to make the materials magnetic at low temperatures. The work helps bring us closer to a more complete quantum theory of magnetism.

Novel Quantum State in Strange Insulators
Researchers from Canada, the US and Italy uncover evidence that people in the Upper Paleolithic Period used stone spatulas to decorate the bodies of the dead with ochre.

Broken Pebbles: Clues to Paleolithic Funerals
Electromagnetic pulses lasting one millionth of a millionth of a second may hold the key to advances in medical imaging, communications and drug development. But the pulses, called terahertz waves, have long required elaborate and expensive equipment to use. Now, researchers have drastically shrunk…

Terahertz Chips: Seeing Through Matter
Scientists have controlled wave-generated currents to make previously unimaginable liquid materials for new technological innovations, including techniques to manipulate micro-organisms.

High-Tech Liquid Materials Manipulate Tiny Life
Scientists are providing fresh insights into the 'Great Oxidation Event' (GOE), in which oxygen first appeared in the Earth's atmosphere more than 2.3 billion years ago.

Breathing New Life Into 'Great Oxidation Event'
With the ocean absorbing more carbon dioxide over the past decade, less of the greenhouse gas is reaching the Earth's atmosphere. That's decidedly good news, but it comes with a catch: Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean promote acidification, which breaks down the calcium carbonate shells…

Slow-Down of Ocean's Overturning Circulation
Radioactive glass found blanketing the ground after the first nuclear test bomb explosion is being used by scientists to test theories about the Moon's formation some 4.5 billion years ago.

Nuclear Explosion Tests Theory of Moon Formation
An investigation into the evolution of human walking by looking at how chimpanzees walk on two legs is the subject of a new research paper.

Chimp Feet: Understanding Human Foot Evolution
All known black holes fall into two categories: small, stellar-mass black holes weighing a few suns, and supermassive black holes weighing millions or billions of suns. Astronomers expect that intermediate-mass black holes weighing 100 -- 10,000 suns also exist, but so far no conclusive proof of…

Hidden Middleweight Black Hole Discovered
Scientists may be able to prevent and reverse some of the brain injury caused by the toxic form of a protein called tau.

Untangling Damage That Leads to Dementia