SciNews, Thursday, June 16, 2016

South African honeybees reproduce without males; babies appeal to all our senses; human emissions vary according to type of film; 4 new elements; light-dependent compass in birds’ eyes; new theory on universe’s first life – just a few of the themes in today’s eclectic collection of SciNews.  Share these stories with your students and get them excited about science.

SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.

7308778_s from 123rfBiology

How honeybees do without males. Science Daily

An isolated population of honeybees, the Cape bees, living in South Africa has evolved a strategy to reproduce without males. A research team has sequenced the entire genomes of a sample of Cape bees and compared them with other populations of honeybees to find out the genetic mechanisms behind their asexual reproduction.  Read more…

Babies don’t just look cute, scientists find. Science Daily

Babies appeal to all our senses and even smell cute, triggering key parental behaviours.

What is it about the sight of an infant that makes almost everyone crack a smile? Big eyes, chubby cheeks, and a button nose? An infectious laugh, soft skin, and a captivating smell? While we have long known that babies look cute, researchers have found that cuteness is designed to appeal to all our senses to trigger vital caregiving behaviours.  Read more…


13698187_s from 123rf

Audience Chemicals Change Movie Theater Air. Scientific American

A study of more than 100 screenings of 16 different films in a cinema in Mainz, Germany, showed that these human emissions vary predictably during a film; chemists could identify specific scenes through the quantities of certain airborne compounds.  Read more…

4 New Elements Get Names. Scientific American

The proposed names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 are nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson respectively, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac) has announced.  Read more…


18685938_s from 123rf

New insight into the light-dependent magnetic compass of birds. Science Daily

Birds have a light-dependent compass in their eyes. This compass gives them information about the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers have now elucidated how this compass works at the molecular level.  Read more…

Earth and Space Science12693495_s from 123rf

Universe’s first life might have been born on carbon planets

Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of stars.  Read more…

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