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Top stories: How pig fat built Stonehenge, inherited trauma, and an international Ebola emergency

Ancient people may have used pig fat to build Stonehenge

The 30-ton megaliths that make up Stonehenge in the United Kingdom might have been moved using more than just elbow grease. Pig fat residue on nearby pottery could support the idea that builders greased sledges with lard or tallow to transport the stones, a new analysis suggests.

Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how

To explore the mysteries of epigenetics—the heritable changes to a person’s genome that result from interactions with their environment—researchers are looking to mice, which are shorter lived and easier to study. The offspring of traumatized mice behave differently from other mice, changes that persist in their children and grandchildren. The jury is still out on humans, but the new studies suggest traumas like losing a parent, fighting in a war, or starving during a famine could affect the genes of generations to come.

World Health Organization declares Ebola outbreak an international emergency

The World Health Organization this week declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which surfaced in August 2018, an international emergency. The declaration, made after the disease spread last week to the African border metropolis of Goma, is raising hope among public health officials that the international community may soon play a bigger role in the fight against the disease.

The genes that make squid eyes also make your legs

Looking a squid in the eye is eerily like looking in a mirror. Squids, octopuses, and other cephalopods are on a very different part of the tree of life from vertebrates. But both have evolved sophisticated peepers that rely on a lens to focus light and provide excellent vision. Now, biologists have discovered the genes that guide the initial formation of legs in vertebrates also guide the formation of the squid’s lens.

Arctic science at risk as University of Alaska braces for draconian budget cuts

University of Alaska (UA) administrators are scrambling to decide how to impose deep mandatory spending cuts that could hobble research programs at one of the world’s premier Arctic science institutions. The $136 million cuts to the UA system mean the university may have to lay off tenured faculty and slash entire departments.