Theories and Discovery

A group of biologists suggests that disease ultimately determines much of who we are and how we behave.

The Culture of Being Rude

A new biological theory states that cultural behavior is not just a regional quirk, but a defense against the spread of disease

The ocean's boundless energy (von Jouanne near Oregon's Otter Rock Beach) could furnish up to 6.5 percent of U.S. electricity.

Catching a Wave, Powering an Electrical Grid?

Electrical engineer Annette von Jouanne is pioneering an ingenious way to generate clean, renewable electricity from the sea

Frederick Cook and Robert Peary both claimed they discovered the North Pole.

Who Discovered the North Pole?

A century ago, explorer Robert Peary earned fame for discovering the North Pole, but did Frederick Cook get there first?

A juvenile tapetail in the process of becoming an adult grows a huge liver.

A Fish Tale

A curator discovers that whalefishes, bignose fishes and tapetails are all really the same kind of fish at different life stages

Black jaguars, like the cub on the left, have a mutation that causes them to produce more of the pigment melanin than spotted jaguars do.

Evolution in Black and White

The alternative color forms of some animals are providing new insights into how animals adapt and evolve

"Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," Darwin (c.1880) said of a future in which his hard-won findings would be tested.

What Darwin Didn't Know

Today's scientists marvel that the 19th-century naturalist's grand vision of evolution is still the key to life

Carved sarsens-enormous blocks of hard sandstone-were used to build the towering trilithons that dominate the landscape of Salisbury Plain in southern England.  But archaeologists Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright believe the smaller so-called bluestones hold the key to unraveling Stonehenge's mystery.

New Light on Stonehenge

The first dig in 44 years inside the stone circle changed our view of why—and even when—the monument was built

Bright idea: Wolfgang Ketterle (in his M.I.T lab) hopes to discover new forms of matter by studying ultracold atoms.

The Coldest Place in the Universe

Physicists in Massachusetts come to grips with the lowest possible temperature: absolute zero


Abandoned Ship: The Mary Celeste

What really happened aboard the <i>Mary Celeste</i>? More than a century after her crew went missing, a scenario is emerging


Down to Earth

Anthropologist Amber VanDerwarker is unraveling the mysteries of the ancient Olmec by figuring out what they ate

“It’s not unfair to say that we have been completely misled” by studying mostly museum-quality specimens, says O’Dea (gathering fossils in Bocas del Toro along Panama’s Caribbean coast).

Shell Fame

Paleobiologist Aaron O'Dea has made his name by sweating the small stuff

It is possible to see the world in a grain of sand—big chunks of the world, anyway, including the Himalayas and other mountain ranges (Elizabeth Catlos at Oklahoma State University with a piece of granite whose grains may reveal the history of Turkey’s Menderes Massif.)

Rock of Ages

Where did the world's highest mountains come from? Geologist Elizabeth Catlos takes a new view

A tiny blob of stretchy brown matter, soft tissue from inside the leg bone, suggests the specimen had not completely decomposed.

Dinosaur Shocker

Probing a 68-million-year-old T. rex, Mary Schweitzer stumbled upon astonishing signs of life that may radically change our view of the ancient beasts

35 Who Made a Difference: James Watson

After DNA, what could he possibly do for an encore?

Oil platforms (above, the Spree tied to a Gulf of Mexico rig) serve as artificial reefs, attracting organisms with intriguing properties.

Medicine from the Sea

From slime to sponges, scientists are plumbing the ocean's depths for new medications to treat cancer, pain and other ailments

Gimzewski uses an atomic force microscope (above, atop a bone cell) to "listen" to living cells.

Signal Discovery?

A Los Angeles scientist says living cells may make distinct sounds, which might someday help doctors "hear" diseases

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