Using digital reconstruction techniques, Egyptologist John C. Darnell and an international team have been able to reexamine a group of damaged rock carvings that depict a critical moment in ancient Egyptian history. The inscriptions at Nag el-Hamdulab, north of Aswan, date from 3100 BCE and show an Egyptian ruler, possibly the pharaoh Narmer, wearing the “White Crown,” the traditional sign of dynastic power.


Large dinosaurs like T. rex dominated the prehistoric world, but when the aftereffects of an asteroid’s impact killed them off 65 million years ago, the humble turtle survived just fine. In the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, geology graduate student Tyler Lyson and his colleagues report finding the fossils of river turtles, in Montana and North Dakota, from before and long after the dinosaurs disappeared. The researchers suggest that the turtle’s ancient ability to go underwater to wait out hard times helped it succeed.


Smoking is murder on the lungs but, perversely, often good for the waistline; nicotine can curb appetite. School of Medicine neurobiologist Marina Picciotto and her team have uncovered an appetite-suppression pathway in the brain’s hypothalamus that could explain why so many smokers gain weight when they quit. This circuitry—so far documented only in mice—is different from the nicotine-addiction pathway and may help indeveloping more-effective weight loss medications. The work appeared in Science.


Astronomers recently learned that nearby galaxies have two speeds: awake and actively forming stars; or asleep,having (apparently) shut down star-manufacturing. Now, in the Astrophysical Journal, astronomy graduate student Kate Whitaker and her colleagues have extended that on-off characterization across the heavens. The researchers examined nearly 40,000 galaxies and found that the pattern held.


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