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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: Snake Legs—Going, Going, Gone
7 February 2011 4:10 pm
Snakes evolved from four-limbed ancestors, and scientists have long wondered how they lost their legs. A new type of CT scan of a 95-million-year-old fossil suggests how genetics stunted the limbs’ growth. Using a newly developed x-ray technique called synchrotron-radiation computed laminography, researchers probed details of the vestigial hind limbs of the ancient marine snake Eupodophis descouensi. Each pixel in images of the rock-cloaked bones was barely more than 30 micrometers across. By virtually reconstructing an 0.8-centimeter-long limb, layer by thin layer, the researchers found that—unlike the snake’s vertebrae and most of its other bones—the leg bones didn’t have thick-walled shafts. That’s a clue, the researchers say in a paper scheduled to be published online today by the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, that the limbs were small because they grew either much more slowly or for a much shorter time than did the other bones.
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