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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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ScienceShot: Why the Coyote Got Small
27 February 2012 3:00 pm
Coyotes used to be a much more fearsome bunch, with thicker skulls, broader snouts, wider teeth, and 1.5 times the heft. When they did become more diminutive, the change happened relatively rapidly, according to a new study. An analysis of fossils from several sites in California and Idaho reveals that from 26,000 years ago until the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago, coyotes retained consistently burly characteristics. But coyotes living less than 1000 years after the end of the ice age, when many large creatures such as camels, horses, and mammoths disappeared from North America, were indistinguishable from those roaming North America now (above, artist's concept of a modern-day coyote investigating the skull of an ice-age ancestor), according to a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The sudden absence of large prey—as well as the extinction of the dire wolf, one of the coyotes' main competitors for food—most likely triggered the relatively rapid shrinkage, the researchers speculate.
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