(left to right): SCOTT J. FERRELL/CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY/GETTY IMAGES; THOMAS TERBERGER/UNIVERSITY OF GÖTTINGEN/LOWER SAXONY STATE OFFICE FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE; VERONIKA DVOŘÁKOVÁ/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Top stories: Top U.S. scientist speaks out, an epic Bronze Age battle, and the risks of raw dog food

Now retired, top U.S. environmental scientist feels free to speak her mind

Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum recently retired from her post as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, North Carolina, where she navigated numerous controversies about pollution and human health. She recently discussed her career, and what’s next, with ScienceInsider.

3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle

Bronze Age Europe was a violent place. But only recently have scientists uncovered the scope of the violence, at a 3000-year-old site in northern Germany where thousands of well-armed young men fought with sophisticated weapons in what appears to be an epic battle. Now, a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight.

Want to put your dog on a raw meat diet? It could be dangerous for both of you

Few things will get a dog’s or cat’s sniffer going more quickly than the scent of raw meat. Grounded in the belief that feeding dogs and cats raw meat is more natural than giving them processed foods, pet owners appear to be increasingly seeking out raw meat–based diets. Yet, a new study suggests that could be a risky proposition, as the majority of commercially produced raw foods a research team examined contained high levels of harmful bacteria—including strains that could transmit diseases to pets and their owners alike.

New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics

Thanks to better detection methods, scientists are uncovering previously undiscovered minuscule proteins by the thousands—and they are just now beginning to delve into the functions of these minimolecules. Early findings suggest microproteins bolster the immune system, control destruction of faulty RNA molecules, protect bacteria from heat and cold, dictate when plants flower, and provide the toxic punch for many types of venom.

Why skimping on sleep makes your brain crave sweets

It’s a truism of the diet industry that getting too little sleep can make fatty, sweet foods more tempting. Now, researchers think they know why: Sleep loss influences the same smell-processing neural pathway that smoking marijuana does.