310-million-year-old fossil blobs might not be jellyfish after all

What do you get when you flip a fossilized “jellyfish” upside down? The answer, it turns out, might be an anemone. Fossil blobs once thought to be ancient jellyfish were actually a type of burrowing sea anemone, scientists propose March 8 in Papers in Palaeontology. From a certain angle, the fossils’ features include what appears ... Read more

Bizarre metals may help unlock mysteries of how Earth’s magnetic field forms

Weird materials called Weyl metals might reveal the secrets of how Earth gets its magnetic field. The substances could generate a dynamo effect, the process by which a swirling, electrically conductive material creates a magnetic field, a team of scientists reports in the Oct. 26 Physical Review Letters. Dynamos are common in the universe, producing ... Read more

50 years ago, researchers discovered a leak in Earth’s oceans

Oceans may be shrinking — Science News, March 10, 1973 The oceans of the world may be gradually shrinking, leaking slowly away into the Earth’s mantle…. Although the oceans are constantly being slowly augmented by water carried up from Earth’s interior by volcanic activity … some process such as sea-floor spreading seems to be letting ... Read more

This huge plant eater thrived in the age of dinosaurs — but wasn’t one of them

A new species of hulking ancient herbivore would have overshadowed its relatives. Fossils found in Poland belong to a new species that roamed during the Late Triassic, a period some 237 million to 201 million years ago, researchers report November 22 in Science. But unlike most of the enormous animals who lived during that time ... Read more

Here’s what was surprising about Kilauea’s 3-month-long eruption

WASHINGTON — After a stunningly explosive summer, Kilauea, the world’s longest continuously erupting volcano, finally seems to have taken a break. But the scientists studying it haven’t. Reams of new data collected during an unprecedented opportunity to monitor an ongoing, accessible eruption are changing what’s known about how some volcanoes behave. “It was hugely significant,” ... Read more

DNA tests of Lassa virus mid-outbreak helped Nigeria target its response

When an outbreak of a viral hemorrhagic fever hit Nigeria in 2018, scientists were ready: They were already in the country testing new disease-tracking technology, and within weeks managed to steer health workers toward the most appropriate response. Lassa fever, which is transmitted from rodents to humans, pops up every year in West Africa. But ... Read more

Women have a new weapon against postpartum depression, but it’s costly

Approval of the first and only treatment in the United States specifically targeting postpartum depression offers hope for millions of women each year who suffer from the debilitating mental health disorder after giving birth. The new drug brexanolone — marketed under the name Zulresso and approved on March 19 by the U.S. Food and Drug ... Read more

The delight of discovering an asteroid that spits

These are wondrous times for space exploration. Just when you think exploring the cosmos couldn’t possibly get more fun, another discovery delivers a new “oh wow” moment. Consider the asteroid Bennu. It’s an unprepossessing space rock that drew scientists’ curiosity because it is among the most pristine objects in our solar system, and it might ... Read more