Category archives: Science & Technology

Inca Child Sacrifice Victims Were Drugged

  Three Inca mummies found near the lofty summit of Volcán Llullaillaco in Argentina were so well preserved that they put a human face on the ancient ritual of capacocha—which ended with their sacrifice. Now the bodies of 13-year-old Llullaillaco Maiden and her younger companions Llullaillaco Boy and Lightning Girl have revealed that mind-altering substances played a part in their deaths and during the year-long series of ceremonial processes that […]

Plants Blamed for Human Deaths in Heat Waves

While much of the world has baked in a heat wave this month, new research points to a surprising culprit when it comes to killing us—plants. A study published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics found that during heat waves, plants tend to absorb less pollution from the air. That puts more people at risk of developing respiratory complications, which can lead to death. (Related: “How […]

The Kindness of Squirrels

What adoption in the wild tells us about the presence—and the limits—of altruism in the animal kingdom. After climbing a tree in the middle of the Yukon forest, I looked into a squirrel’s nest and found a pup that clearly did not belong there. It was older and larger than the others in the litter. My research team and I collected DNA from the whole litter and later, back at […]

Terrifying video shows moment a pair of divers were almost eaten by two hungry humpback whales

•The once in a lifetime encounter happened in the water at Souza Rock, two miles from Morro Bay in California, USA •Ball of fish surrounded Shawn Stamback and Francis Antigua and began leaping out the water •The hungry predators swam towards them looking for dinner and the men got caught up as the whales emerged A terrifying video has been released of the moment a pair of divers were almost […]

Don't hurt my pride! Stunning photos of dramatic moment two lionesses fought to protect their cubs

Brutal fight took place in Madikwe Reserve, South Africa Photographer captured moment two lionesses tore into each other Mothers are known to be extremely protective over their babies – but rarely does it lead to a show of aggression quite like this. These two lionesses came to blows after their prides crossed paths in the African bush. Concerned about the safety of their cubs, both lionesses began fighting, sinking their […]

New Exhibit Explores Idaho’s Buzzsaw Jaws

When I think of Idaho, ratfish are not what immediately come to mind. Spuds and the ghastly belt of agricultural reek that keeps me holding my breath whenever I speed past Idaho Falls on the interstate, sure, but not strange cartilaginous fish. A new exhibit at the the Idaho Museum of Natural History is aiming to change that. Over 270 million years ago, the area that eventually would be called […]

Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite pieces go under microscope

Scientists have released microscopic images of fragments of the meteorite that hit central Russia in February. A team from the Ural Federal University was able to analyse some of the dozens of samples as soon as they were found. But the technique they used allowed them to assess the rock’s chemical make-up at the microscopic level even as they snapped pictures of the fragments. This will provide extra information on […]

Clue to why cat virus turns deadly

Scientists believe they are closer to understanding why a common virus infecting cats can turn deadly. The virus, a distant relative of Mers and Sars coronaviruses, usually causes mild illness but in some cats the infection can be fatal. The new findings show that severe disease is associated with mutations in one of the viral proteins. Details of the work have been published in the journal Emerging infectious Diseases. The […]

The Moon's Mystery: Scientists Debate How it Formed

It has taken centuries for scientists to settle on a creation story for our moon, the most popular of which is depicted on the July cover of National Geographic magazine. But as I learned at a recent lunch with Erik Asphaug, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University, the debate is still far from finished. Before the giant impact model gained traction nearly four decades ago, three other models were […]

Military rations: How to cook up better battle food

One US centre creates recipes for meals that can withstand the rigours of war. But a simple lunchtime favourite is still the ultimate challenge. It’s a popular urban myth that Twinkies, the famous American cream-filled sponge cake, have a shelf-life of decades and can even survive a nuclear war. In fact, they stay fresh for only about a month, and their ability to withstand any environment more testing than a […]