As most parents of small children know, lice are survival artists, skilled at avoiding detection and spreading to new hosts. And now it’s clear they’ve had plenty of practice. New fossils found in amber reveal the insects have been around for at least 100 million years, when they feasted on feathered dinosaurs.
Look closely at paintings of ancient Egyptians, and you might spot something strange: cones the size of a coffee cup sitting atop some of their heads. The objects have long baffled archaeologists, many of whom have wondered whether they were merely a symbol. Now, a new study finds these “head cones” were indeed real: Researchers have recovered two of the curious accoutrements in burials dating back 3300 years.
Many human grandmothers love to spoil their grandchildren with attention and treats, with generally good results: Studies have shown that having a living grandmother increases a child’s chance of survival. Now, new research shows the same may be true for killer whales. By providing young animals with some freshly caught salmon now and then—or perhaps with knowledge on where to find it—grannies increase their grand-offsprings’ chance of survival.
High in the Canadian Arctic on Baffin Island, beneath 10 meters of water and many more meters of mud, sits a refrigerated archive of Earth’s past life. The deep sediments in a small lake called CF8 hold ancient pollen and plant fossils. But it now appears that the mud harbors something else: ancient DNA from as far back as the Eemian, a period 125,000 years ago when the Arctic was warmer than today, left by vegetation that otherwise would have vanished without a trace.
Epilepsy—a disease defined by seizure-causing electrical storms in the brain—affects nearly one in 26 people; of those, about 30% have seizures so bad that they cannot be treated with conventional medications. That percentage hasn’t budged in decades despite many new drugs. Now, after years of frustration, epilepsy researchers are shifting from targeting the seizures to seeking their cause, one patient at a time.