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Protons are 5 percent smaller than previously thought, and fast radio bursts originate in old stars. For the first time, warm gas was detected from a low-mass X-ray binary, and V Hydrae was observed to have expelled six slowly expanding molecular rings as it died. A 328-million-year-old vampyropod was the first specimen discovered to have ten, rather than eight, arms. Giant crocodilians were ritualistically beheaded in China in the second millennium bc, and archaeologists theorized that people were drawn to Monte Albán not by good farmland or despotic coercion but by its relatively egalitarian society. Nine thousand years ago, the skeletons of Çatalhöyük were painted, buried, dug up, and reburied. The Chabu of the southwestern Ethiopian highlands have been declining in population for the past two millennia, as local societies transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture as practiced by the Majang, the Shekkacho, the Bench, and the Sheko. More giant stone funerary jars were discovered in Assam. The ground-level climatic boundary between fynbos and afrotemperate forests derives from differences in root thickness.

Lions sprayed in the nose with oxytocin will play with favored pumpkin toys while keeping only half their normal distance from other lions. The quiet wakefulness of draughtsboard sharks is distinct from their sleep, a state that had not been identified definitively among rays, sharks, and skates. Dyeing poison frog tadpoles are less likely to cannibalize smaller tadpoles if they are siblings. Belgian researchers warned that dog urine and feces were contributing large amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen to nature reserves. Fecal transplants may forestall Alzheimer’s disease in a mouse model. Geneticists produced Down syndrome in rats, and data from the New Tics Study confirmed that the timing of Tourette’s syndrome outbursts is fractal. Both humans and chimpanzees are better at detecting the gaze directions of humans than those of chimpanzees, presumably because of the brilliant whites of human eyes. The brains of people with dementia demonstrate suppressed responses to different beep tones when played a muted version of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. Insurance policies have the talisman effect of making adverse events seem less likely to occur.

Japanese workers who break for brisk walks perform worse afterward if the weather is hot. A survey of sixty European bird species found that half of all physical and behavioral changes since 1960 are the result of climate change. Eight English counties raised their heat-wave thresholds by one degree Celsius. Thawing Arctic permafrost will expose local populations to more radon, and the iodine of desert dust may decrease ozone pollution but increase greenhouse gas longevity. The global water cycle is amplifying faster than expected. Seventy percent of oceans may be deoxygenated by 2080. Ultrasound transducers can detect when abalones are ready to spawn. Tasmanian devils were determined to be the only known picky scavengers. Researchers concluded that it is more accurate to say “children do not eat what they dislike” than “children eat what they like,” and orthorexia was found to be highly correlated with low self-esteem among Turkish university faculty.

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May 2024

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