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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Social Life Starts in the Womb
12 October 2010 1:00 pm
It may win the prize for the strangest place to get a back massage. The womb provides the first opportunity for touchy-feely social bonding, according to new research published in PLoS ONE. Scientists tracked the motion of five pairs of twin fetuses using ultrasonography, an imaging technique that visualizes internal body structures. By the 14 th week of gestation, the fetuses began reaching toward their partners, and just 4 weeks later, they spent more time touching their neighbors than themselves or the walls of the uterus. In all, almost 30% of their movements were directed toward their prenatal companions. These movements, such as stroking the head or back, last longer and are more accurate than self-directed movements, such as touching their own eyes or mouths. The findings suggest that twin fetuses are aware of their counterparts in the womb and prefer to interact with them. Or as the authors put it, they're "wired to be social."
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