Scientists who study human evolution have long puzzled over why African Pygmies are so short. It is one of the most visible examples of human diversity, with Pygmy males standing 4-foot-11 on average, while some of their neighboring ethnic groups are tall. Many biologists have assumed there must be some evolutionary advantage to their short stature -- perhaps that they better maneuvered through the forest or they survived on less food.
As a kid, I dreamed of having a telephone that was plugged into my family's TV and would let me ring up whoever I was watching. With this special phone, I could reach my favorite TV stars, introduce myself and talk to them about their shows.
Blurring the lines between life and inanimate matter, biologists said they have created six alternatives to DNA and coaxed them to undergo evolution.
Robert Ward has been hunting and collecting meteorites for more than 20 years so he knew he'd found something special in the Sierra foothills along the path of a flaming fireball that shook parts of Northern California and Nevada with a sonic boom over the weekend.
Using space-faring robots to mine precious metals from asteroids almost sounds easy when former astronaut Tom Jones describes it — practically like clearing a snow-covered driveway.
Google is hoping to build the world's largest digital filing cabinet in the latest attempt to deepen people's dependence on its services.
Durable strains provide clues about why some are resistant to antibiotics.
Every hundred years or so, the Earth, Venus and the sun queue up in a relatively straight line -- in an event called the transit of Venus -- so that observers on Earth can watch our less-than-habitable sister planet drift across the face of the sun. It takes place in pairs set eight years apart (the last one took place on June 8, 2004; the next will come June 6 this year), but they roll around only once a century or so. In his new book, Nick Lomb, curator of astronomy at Australia's Sydney Observatory, gives the rundown on the event. With the invention of the telescope in the 1600s, the transit of Venus became a hot ticket for astrophiles, who often went to great lengths to check it out. How great? Well, Captain James Cook, for one, sailed across the globe to Tahiti to view it in 1769. By providing a third point of reference, the transit of Venus made it possible for astronomers to measure the distance from Earth to the sun, which unlocked a lot of other data, including the mass of the sun and the other planets. Lacking modern solar filters, observers had to watch the transit by positioning a telescope to project the sun's image onto a piece of paper in a darkened room. There's better equipment available these days. But if you miss Venus's appearance in June, you'll have to wait a while -- until 2117 -- to catch the transit again.
Polar bears, long thought to have branched off relatively recently from brown bears, developing their white coats, webbed paws and other adaptations over the past 150,000 years, are not descended from brown bears, scientists report.
In a few days -- barring cloud cover -- the night skies will present one of the more arresting displays of meteors streaking through space. Known as the Lyrids, the shower of light has appeared in mid-April for about 2,600 years. When the meteors peak before dawn April 22, as many as 100 of them an hour will arc across the sky. Anticipation for the showers was heightened last week after a shooting star lighted up the sky with an impressive bright green light. "I've seen pretty bright meteors ... but nothing like this one," said astronomer Dan Joyce, 64. Of the increased interest in the Lyrids after the impressive meteor shower, Joyce said: "That would be a big plus. Not enough people look at the sky."