Reviews & Analysis

Filter By:

  • Armoured dinosaurs are widely recognized for their tail weapons, which include paired spikes in stegosaurs and tail clubs in ankylosaurs. The discovery of Stegouros in Chile reveals a new kind of tail weapon, resembling an Aztec war club, and a lineage that split early from northern armoured dinosaurs.

    Research Briefing
  • Analysis of plankton fossils has revealed pulses of size diversity that are inextricably linked to the degree of circularity of Earth’s orbits. Could this orbital variability provide a beat that dictates the rhythm of evolution?

    • Rosalind E. M. Rickaby
    News & Views
  • Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage, but not all hominin species walked in the same way. New data from a famous palaeoanthropology site reveal that at least two differently bipedal hominins roamed eastern Africa.

    • Stephanie M. Melillo
    News & Views
  • A technical feat reveals subtle changes in water structure that can accelerate hydrogen production at an electrode interface. The catalytic process could be developed to help boost supply of this clean fuel.

    • Matthias M. Waegele
    News & Views
  • A mission to unexplored lunar territory has returned the youngest volcanic samples collected so far. The rocks highlight the need to make revisions to models of the thermal evolution of the Moon.

    • Richard W. Carlson
    News & Views
  • Nature’s pages feature a look at early postal services and consider changes in mathematical thought over time.

    News & Views
  • Experiments on electrons interacting with atomic nuclei have shown that the models used to measure neutrino oscillations — and thereby possibly to understand the formation of the Universe — are less accurate than we thought.

    • Noemi Rocco
    News & Views
  • A sophisticated theory for learning motor skills places emphasis on the need for inferring context — drawing conclusions about the structure of the environment — for efficiently storing and expressing motor memories.

    • Anne G. E. Collins
    • Samuel D. McDougle
    News & Views
  • Communication between neurons in the brain is generally associated with electrochemical signalling. Here we reveal that neurons can also communicate through the force generated by the enlargement of dendritic spines. This force is comparable to that of muscle contraction and might underlie learning and memory, suggesting that brain function is more mechanical than was previously thought.

    Research Briefing
  • A diamond shatters easily, despite it being the hardest natural material. Atomically disordered forms of diamond made from buckyballs might not only overcome this problem, but also allow other properties to be optimized.

    • Alfonso San-Miguel
    News & Views
  • Nature’s pages feature a look at the English chemist Joseph Priestley’s time in America, and an account of preparations to observe the 1871 solar eclipse.

    News & Views
  • The scarcity and high radioactivity of the heaviest actinide elements, such as californium, make their study a formidable challenge. A landmark report describes the first structural characterization of a californium—carbon bond.

    • Julie E. Niklas
    • Henry S. La Pierre
    News & Views
  • Artificial activation of neurons identified in a brain region called the cerebellum reduces food intake in mice. The findings could have implications for people with appetite disorders.

    • Richard Simerly
    • Ralph DiLeone
    News & Views
  • The molecular mechanisms involved in human gastrulation, a crucial stage in early embryonic development, have been largely elusive. Gene-expression data from a gastrulating human embryo shed light on this process.

    • Alexander Goedel
    • Fredrik Lanner
    News & Views
  • Solid iodine transforms directly into gas when heated — a property that has been used to create cheap, compact engines that could make large networks of small satellites commercially viable.

    • Igor Levchenko
    • Kateryna Bazaka
    News & Views
  • The initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in calls to mental-health helplines in 19 countries. Helpline-call data can be used to monitor distress at a population level in near-real time.

    • Cindy H. Liu
    • Alexander C. Tsai
    News & Views
  • Nature’s pages feature a look at scientific connections to Montpellier and discuss food in Paris during a siege.

    News & Views
  • A triangulation of linguistic, archaeological and genetic data suggests that the Transeurasian language family originated in a population of grain farmers in China around 9,000 years ago, and that agriculture underpinned its spread.

    • Peter Bellwood
    News & Views