Top Stories: Empathetic Elephants, Healing Hearing, and Earth-Like Exoplanets
Scientists have always thought elephants were empathetic, but now they have more evidence. They've proven that Asian elephants get distressed when they see others in trouble, and they reach out to console them—just like humans do when we see someone suffering.
When you hear a friend’s voice, you immediately picture her, even if you can’t see her. From her tone, you can tell if she’s happy or sad. You can do all of this because your human brain has a “voice area.” Now, scientists have discovered that dog brains, too, have dedicated voice areas. Does your dog always seem to know what you're feeling? Now you know why!
Slated for launch in 2024, a new European Space Agency mission called PLATO will hunt for alien worlds deemed habitable. PLATO will search for exoplanets using what is known as the transit method, a technique already employed with great success by NASA's Kepler spacecraft.
We use cells deep inside our ears called hair cells to detect sound. Once they're destroyed, they're gone forever—that's one of the reasons we lose hearing as we get older. But now, scientists think they may actually be able to regrow hair cells, potentially opening up a way to treat deafness in humans.
Remember those amazing papers released in January reporting that acid baths might be an amazingly simple key to generating stem cells? There may be a problem with them. Anonymous bloggers and some experts have spotted possible image manipulation in the papers. The lead researcher’s institution is investigating.