Bipolar Disorder Increases Parkinson’s Risk Sevenfold

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(Credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock) Bipolar patients are seven times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study. Though the news may be disheartening to those suffering from the already-trying condition, the link might also lead to clues about the causes behind the two conditions. Parkinson’s is a complex disease associated with a gradual decline in dopamine levels produced by neurons, or brain cells. It eventually leads to impaired movements and ot ...read more

The Scientist’s Drug Dealer: How Researchers Get Illicit Drugs

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(Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock) Public interest in the science of powerful psychoactive drugs is at an-all-time, er, high. Evidence for the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, MDMA, psilocybin and more is growing, based on a resurgence of scientific interest in studying these compounds. But many of these drugs are strictly banned by the federal government, and those caught with them on the street can face steep fine and felony prison time. So where are researchers getting the drugs fo ...read more

Rare Meteorite Fall in Costa Rica Could Shed Light on Earth’s Water

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One of the meteorites that fell at Aguas Zarcas struck a doghouse's roof. (Photo courtesy of Michael Farmer) A rare meteorite fall in Costa Rica has astronomers racing to get their hands on samples. Meteorites are an astronomer’s dream. In a field that by definition studies objects and phenomena above and beyond Earth’s atmosphere, many researchers never get a chance to touch or see up close the things they study. But then, sometimes, these items simply rain down from the sky, ...read more

Billion-Year-Old Fossil Fungi, Oldest Known, Revises Broader Evolution Timeline

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The fungus among us is a key player in the ecosystem — and was part of the world hundreds of millions of years before we were. Hold on, make that potentially a billion years before we came along. Fungi microfossils from the Canadian Arctic are 900 million-1 billion years old, pushing back the fossil record for these organisms by at least 450 million years. This discovery is about more than the very distant evolutionary kin of mushrooms, however. The microfossils include the ...read more

Baby Tiger Sharks Are Eating Sparrows And Woodpeckers

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A tiger shark — woodpeckers beware. (Credit: Shane Gross/Shutterstock) Often called “the garbage cans of the sea,” tiger sharks are voracious eaters. The sharks will eat just about anything — fish, other sharks, seabirds, sea turtles, whale carcasses. The list goes on.  That hodgepodge of prey now also includes a few creatures that don't usually even go in the ocean. Young tiger sharks also feast on sparrows, woodpeckers and other land-based birds, says a group ...read more

Our Moon May Have Been Hit By a Dwarf Planet Long Ago

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The moon's far side, as photographed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University) The familiar lunar vista humans see when they look up at night reveals a face with dark "seas" and bright craters. The mysterious far side, which wasn’t revealed until humans started sending probes and then people in the 1960s, is far more heavily cratered, with few of the dark plains of the near side. But what caused the two sides to be so different? That&rsqu ...read more

Pushy Bonobo Moms Help Their Sons Get Lucky

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(Credit: Gudkov Andrey/Shutterstock) Seeing anyone special? Thinking about having kids? When am I going to have some grandchildren? Many moms nag their adult children about the prospect of grandchildren. But bonobo moms take their maternal harassment to another level: They actively participate in helping their sons find mates. Even more surprisingly, the pushy tactic gets results. The sons of overbearing mothers are more likely to father offspring, says a group of researchers. "Th ...read more

Scientists Gear Up to Look For Fossils on Mars

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Upcoming missions like NASA’s Mars 2020 might already have the technology to find tiny micro-fossils on the Red Planet. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) When most people imagine hunting for fossils, they probably think of finding dinosaur bones laid down in layers of rock. But the vast majority of life – and therefore fossils – across Earth’s history has been microorganisms. These tiny lifeforms, either plants, animals or fungi, can be smaller than the width of a human hair. ...read more

Artificial Intelligence meets Citizen Science

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The potential for AI to propel citizen science efforts forward is incredible; from rapidly analyzing your data or identifying insects, to helping you find and join the best project for your research goals. Here are some ongoing citizen science projects and research efforts that involve AI and citizen science to maximize the efforts of participants and scientists. Cheers, The SciStarter Team Intelligent recommendation for citizen science Thanks to a new grant from NESTA, ...read more

Weird, Mysterious and Threatened: Can Scientists Save the Platypus?

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A platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) pauses for a moment after being released by scientists into the Little Yarra River, its home stream in Victoria, Australia. (Credit: Douglas Gimesy) With the bill of a duck, the body of an otter, and the tail of a beaver, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a long history of confounding the humans who’ve encountered it. Early European settlers took to calling the strange, semi-aquatic mammals they found living in eastern Australian streams ...read more

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