Top stories: Exploding stars, dominating dogs, and the Ebola outbreak

(Left to right) Peter Kaut; National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; Yael and Amihayb/Creative Commons

Top stories: Exploding stars, dominating dogs, and the Ebola outbreak

Experimental drug stops Ebola-like infection

An experimental treatment against an Ebola-related virus can protect monkeys even when given up to 3 days after infection, the point at which they show the first signs of disease. The new results raise hopes that the treatment might be useful for human patients even if they don’t receive it until well after they’re infected.

See all of Science’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak, including what Ebola actually does, the ethics of using experimental treatments, and the debate over “repurposed” drugs.

Wolves cooperate but dogs submit, study suggests

A new study comparing dogs and wolves has a surprising conclusion: Wolves are the more tolerant and cooperative species. Dogs, in contrast, form strict dominance hierarchies and demand obedience from lower ranking pack members. As wolves became dogs, the study suggests, they weren't selected for a cooperative nature—they were bred to follow orders.

Poaching drives overall elephant decline in Africa

A spike in poaching has tipped the African elephant into decline, a new study finds. As many as 40,000 elephants were killed in 2011, a 3% loss to the total number of elephants on the continent.

China pulls plug on genetically modified rice and corn

China has decided not to renew biosafety certificates that allowed research groups to grow genetically modified (GM) rice and corn. The reasoning behind the move is not clear, and it has raised questions about the future of GM research in the country.

Animal speech shows similarities to human language

Animal sounds have long been considered fundamentally different from human language—indeed, so different that scientists haven’t been able to find any intermediate evolutionary steps between animal calls and language. Now, a new study reveals that the calls of animals contain more languagelike characteristics than previously believed—and that the gap between human language and animal calls is not so wide after all.

The star that exploded at the dawn of time

Astronomers have discovered an ancient star just a thousand light-years away from Earth that may be preserving cosmic shrapnel from the death of one of the very first stars born after the big bang. If confirmed, the finding means that some of the universe’s first stars were so massive they died in exceptionally violent explosions that altered the growth of early galaxies.

Posted in Scientific Community