This Week in Science: Einstein Rings, Seasons on the Sun, the Return (?) of Brontosaurus


Seven days, lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of some of the week’s most notable and quotable items.

Illustration by Sarah Peavey

The Brontosaurus might be back! Though it was previously demoted to a cadet branch of Apatosaurus, a new analysis of skeletons suggests that Brontosaurus excelsus might be unique enough anatomically to come out and head up its own genus again.

And in other dinosaur news, a new study finds evidence of cannibalism and combat in Daspletosaurus, a somewhat diminutive and less famous cousin of Tyrannosaurus.

Humans may not be the only species counting calories. New study suggests the fruit fly’s brain can learn to tell the difference between normal-calorie and high-calorie food–and recall the healthier option at a later time.

There is enough ice on Mars to cover the whole planet in a layer one meter thick.

In a snapshot of a far-off galaxy, researchers spotted an “Einstein ring,” a fiery circle predicted by Albert Einstein resulting from one object bending the light coming from another object through the phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

Scientists found complex organic molecules, including hydrogen cyanide and methyl cyanide, in the young star system MWC 480.

The sun may have “seasons” of variable activity over two-year periods, in addition to the 11-year solar cycle. This finding could help us better understand geomagnetic storms that can send communications systems and energy grids into turmoil here on Earth.

Team of astrophysicists finds a group of red giants whose “chemical clock” does not work.

A new study shows that the oil dispersant used to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is potentially damaging to epithelial cells, such as the kind found in the lungs of people and the gills of marine life.

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