Got a weird COVID-19 symptom? You’re not alone

As we head into our third pandemic winter, most people are all too familiar with the signs of COVID-19. The disease wears many different faces and can show up as chills, cough, difficulty breathing or other troublesome jumbles of symptoms. But sometimes, this illness can look positively peculiar. On rare occasions, SARS-CoV-2 rears its head ... Read more

Carlos Argüelles hunts for particles beyond the standard model

If you saw Carlos Argüelles-Delgado’s childhood bedroom — the whiteboard for working out problems, the math textbooks they asked for as birthday gifts — you’d likely not be surprised that this kid would grow up to push the boundaries of modern physics. For years, physicists have known that the most successful theory to describe what ... Read more

Robin Wordsworth re-creates the atmosphere of ancient Mars

Visitors to the village of Drumnadrochit, on the western shore of Scotland’s murky Loch Ness, come to see the nearby ruins of Urquhart Castle or to chance a glimpse of the elusive Loch Ness Monster. But growing up in Drumnadrochit, planetary scientist Robin Wordsworth says it was the unobscured view of the cosmos that seized ... Read more

At a long COVID clinic, here’s how doctors are trying to help one woman who is struggling

Belinda Hankins first grappled with COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. She had a fever, chills and trouble breathing, but the real clincher was her loss of smell. Hankins remembers opening a canister of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning, lowering her nose to take a whiff, and not smelling a thing. “That stuff usually clears the ... Read more

The pristine Winchcombe meteorite suggests that Earth’s water came from asteroids

Late in the evening of February 28, 2021, a coal-dark space rock about the size of a soccer ball fell through the sky over northern England. The rock blazed in a dazzling, eight-second-long streak of light, split into fragments and sped toward the Earth. The largest piece went splat in the driveway of Rob and ... Read more

Ancient bacteria could persist beneath Mars’ surface

Radiation-tolerant microbes might be able to live beneath Mars’ surface for hundreds of millions of years and may yet persist today, thanks in part — counterintuitively — to the Red Planet’s frigid, arid conditions. In addition to being cold and dry, the Martian surface is constantly bombarded by cosmic rays, charged particles and other radiation ... Read more

A major malaria outbreak in Ethiopia came from an invasive Asian mosquito

In early 2022, malaria cases in the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa surged, with more than 2,400 people sickened. The spike in infections was the work of an invasive mosquito species that’s spreading across Africa, scientists report. The finding, presented November 1 in Seattle at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine ... Read more

Clumps of human nerve cells thrived in rat brains

To coax human nerve cells in a laboratory to thrive, there are three magic words: location, location, location. Many experiments grow human nerve cells in lab dishes. But a new study enlists some real estate that’s a bit more unconventional: the brain of a rat. Implanted clusters of human neurons grow bigger and more complex ... Read more

Dinosaur ‘mummies’ may not be rare flukes after all

It might be easier for dinosaurs to “mummify” than scientists thought. Unhealed bite marks on fossilized dinosaur skin suggest that the animal’s carcass was scavenged before being covered in sediment, researchers report October 12 in PLOS ONE. The finding challenges the traditional view that burial very soon after death is required for dinosaur “mummies” to ... Read more

Drone photos reveal an early Mesopotamian city made of marsh islands

A ground-penetrating eye in the sky has helped to rehydrate an ancient southern Mesopotamian city, tagging it as what amounted to a Venice of the Fertile Crescent. Identifying the watery nature of this early metropolis has important implications for how urban life flourished nearly 5,000 years ago between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where modern-day ... Read more