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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Saber-Tooth Tigers Add Powerful Arms to Their Arsenal
2 July 2010 5:00 pm
Don't get too distracted by those teeth. It turns out the saber-tooth tiger's (Smilodon fatalis) real strength is in its arms. Researchers x-rayed fossils of saber-tooth limbs (left, inset) and compared them with the bones of 29 other cat species, including the extinct American lion and a present-day tiger (middle and right, inset). As they report online today in PLoS ONE, saber-tooth forelimbs have an outer layer of dense bone that is, given their leg length, about 15% thicker than expected. The researchers suggest that the saber-tooth developed this strong shell by pinning down struggling prey with its arms. And that helped it get its next meal without risking damage to those long pearly whites.