Inbred Mammoths, Ringed Asteroids, and Shrinking Salamanders

(Left to right): Michael Redmer/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis; Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Canada; Lucie Maquet

Top Stories: Inbred Mammoths, Ringed Asteroids, and Shrinking Salamanders

Saturn-Like Rings Spotted Around Asteroid

Researchers have discovered Saturn-like rings around an icy asteroid far from our sun called Chariklo. This is the first time we've found rings around anything in our solar system other than a giant planet. At present, it’s not clear how Chariklo’s ring system formed, but the discovery may help us better us understand how rings behave and evolve. 

Did Inbreeding Doom the Mammoth?

When we think about the mammoth, we don’t imagine genetically deformed creatures stumbling through a doomed landscape, going to desperate lengths to stay alive in a rapidly changing world. But maybe we should: An unusual feature on some mammoth fossils dredged from the North Sea suggests that inbreeding may have hastened the mammoth’s extinction 10,000 years ago.

Intensive Day Care May Improve Long-Term Health of Poor Children

Early childhood intervention may improve the long-term health of poor children. That's the conclusion of a study, launched in 1972, tracking the effect of an intensive day care program on low-income kids. The results suggest that it is possible to prevent conditions such as obesity and heart disease in the poor.

Scientists Fix Errors in Controversial Paper About Saturated Fats

On 17 March, a paper made headlines around the world for questioning whether unsaturated fats are really healthier than saturated fats, debunking a cornerstone of many dietary guidelines. But a new version of the publication had to be posted shortly after it first appeared to correct several errors. Now, a number of scientists are criticizing the paper and even calling on the authors to retract it.

Warming World Shrinks Salamanders

Salamanders are displaying one of the fastest responses to climate change on record. As temperatures in their habitats have risen over just the past 50 years, salamanders have gotten smaller. The discovery is the first confirmation that climate change can alter body size—and helps us understand another way it will affect the world as we know it.

Spacecraft Returns Seven Particles From Birth of the Solar System

After a massive, years-long search, researchers have recovered seven interstellar dust particles from the birth of our solar system. The whole sample weighs just a few trillionths of a gram, but it’s the first time scientists have laid their hands on primordial material unaltered by the violent birth of the solar system.

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