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The discovery of Homo floresiensis: Tales of the hobbit
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/514422a
Author: Ewen Callaway
In 2004, researchers announced the discovery of Homo floresiensis, a small relative of modern humans that lived as recently as 18,000 years ago. The ‘hobbit’ is now considered the most important hominin fossil in a generation. Here, the scientists behind the find tell its story.
Human evolution: Small remains still pose big problems
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514427a
Author: Chris Stringer
Ten years after the publication of a remarkable find, Chris Stringer explains why the discovery of Homo floresiensis is still so challenging.
Emergency planning: Be prepared
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514430a
Authors: Jennifer K. Pullium, Gordon S. Roble & Mark A. Raymond
Scenario-based training for disasters is better than just drawing up a paper plan, say Jennifer K. Pullium and colleagues.
Solar physics: Solar atmosphere is a hotbed of activity
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514406a
Explosions of plasma in the Sun's atmosphere can reach temperatures of nearly 100,000 °C, much hotter than scientists had expected.The finding is one of several about the region between the solar surface and the uppermost edge of the Sun's atmosphere, or corona, revealed by
Microbiology: Obesity link to jet-lagged microbes
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514406b
Disrupted sleep patterns alter the composition of gut bacteria, leading to metabolic problems.Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and his team found that the abundance of gut microbes in mice fluctuates daily in sync with host feeding times. But
Conservation: Horn trade could save rhinos
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514406c
Wild southern white rhinoceroses could go extinct in just nine years because of poaching, but could be saved if trade in their horns were to be carefully managed.Poachers killed almost 1,000 southern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum; pictured) for their horns
Stem cells: Cell transplants enhance vision
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514406d
Implanted retinal cells derived from stem cells seem to be improving vision in some people in two early-stage clinical trials.Steven Schwartz at the University of California, Los Angeles, Robert Lanza at Advanced Cell Technology in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and their team grew retinal pigmented epithelial
Photonics: Laser moves items long distances
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407a
A laser beam can move matter tens of centimetres and in two directions.Such tractor beams have been used to shift small objects very short distances. To scale this up, Wieslaw Krolikowski at the Australian National University in Canberra and his team fired a laser
Meteorology: Tornadoes growing more clustered
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407b
Tornadoes in the United States have been happening on fewer days since the 1970s, but more tornadoes have touched down (pictured) on those days.The overall number of US tornadoes has not changed in recent decades. However, in analysing the national tornado database,
Neuroscience: Molecule boosts brain rewiring
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407c
Blocking a brain-cell receptor boosts the brain's ability to form new neuronal connections as it adapts to changing stimuli.Carla Shatz at Stanford University in California and her colleagues disrupted the receptor, PirB, in the visual centre of mouse brains by either genetically deleting it
Palaeontology: Strange fossil is a vertebrate cousin
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407d
Bizarre 500-million-year-old sea creatures called vetulicolians are relatives of vertebrates.Palaeontologists have struggled to identify the relationship between living animals and these extinct organisms, because of their odd combination of features such as gill slits and a segmented abdomen. A team led by Diego García-Bellido
Cancer: Immunotherapy beats leukaemia
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407e
Engineering certain immune cells to kill cancerous cells in leukaemia has driven the disease into remission for up to two years in more than half of participants in an early-stage clinical trial.Stephan Grupp at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his co-workers tested
Pros and cons of the PhD glut
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514407f
Amid increased competition for faculty jobs in biomedicine, some have suggested cutting the number of PhD students. So when a senior scientist advised against this, the online world took notice. Eve Marder, a neuroscientist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, argued in the journal eLife
Seven days: 17–23 October 2014
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/514408a
The week in science: Snail discovery revives publishing spat; proposed nuclear-waste site passes key US safety evaluation; and biopharmaceutical firm AbbVie cools on US$54-billion takeover deal.
US suspends risky disease research
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/514411a
Author: Sara Reardon
Government to cease funding gain-of-function studies that make viruses more dangerous, pending a safety assessment.
Data bank struggles as protein imaging ups its game
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/514416a
Author: Ewen Callaway
Hybrid methods to solve structures of molecular machines create a storage headache.
In retrospect: On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences
Nature 514, 7523 (2014). doi:10.1038/514432a
Author: Richard Holmes
Richard Holmes finds Mary Somerville's breakthrough science best-seller thrillingly fresh, 180 years on.