Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.
A shrine built over a cave that is revered as the tomb of Jesus is in danger of "catastrophic" collapse, according to a report by National Geographic.
Repair and restoration work at the Edicule has been going on for the past year, during which the limestone bed that Jesus' body was supposedly buried on was revealed. Today (March 22), National Geographic reported that the Edicule is in danger of "catastrophic" collapse if further repairs are not undertaken soon. [Read more about the dangers at the shrine.]
It's a group thing
Female cockroaches don't need a mate to lay eggs, but they do like company. New research finds that virgin female cockroaches housed together are quicker to produce offspring than virgin females living alone.
To test the effect of social milieu, the researchers put female cockroaches in different situations. In the control group, a male and a female were housed together and were allowed to mate. In other cases, females were kept with one, two, three or four other females. Other female roaches were kept with castrated males. The researchers also tested the effects of adding pheromones, chemicals that insects use for communication, to all-female cockroach groups. [Read more about the strange habit.]
Hundreds of World War I-era liquor bottles have been uncovered at a buried British barracks in Israel.
The excavators unearthed the foundations of an agricultural building from the Ottoman Empire — which ruled Israel from 1517 until the end of World War I — that had apparently been repurposed as housing for British soldiers during the war. [Read more about the British bottles.]
Cancer is caused by mistakes in DNA, and a new study finds that in most cancer cases, these mistakes are completely random; they're not due to heredity or environmental factors, but rather the result of random errors.
Scientists had thought these mutations resulted mainly from two things: Either the mutation was inherited, or it was caused by outside factors that can damage DNA, such as cigarette smoke or ultraviolet radiation, the researchers wrote. But a third cause — random mistakes — actually accounts for two-thirds of these mutations, said the new study, published today (March 23) in the journal Science. [Read more about the dangerous mistakes.]
A face for the man
The face of a British man who died about 700 years ago has been brought to life using reconstructive technology.
The medieval man was buried along with hundreds of others in a graveyard underneath what is now the Old Divinity School building of St. John's College at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. [Read more about the reconstruction.]
The sprawling Refinería del Pacífico is an enormous industrial complex stamped out of the tropical forest in Ecuador. So, when herpetologists discovered a new species of snake outside the petrochemical plant's gates, their minds went immediately to the underworld.
Advertisement NEWS TECH HEALTH PLANET EARTH SPACE STRANGE NEWS ANIMALS HISTORY HUMAN NATURE NEWS TECH HEALTH PLANET EARTH SPACE STRANGE NEWS ANIMALS HISTORY HUMAN NATURE Live ScienceAnimals Rare 'Snakes from Hell' Lurk Near Petrochemical Plant in Ecuador By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | March 22, 2017 10:56am ET 154 29 8 2 18 MORE Partner Series Rare 'Snakes from Hell' Lurk Near Petrochemical Plant in Ecuador Two adult male Cerberus groundsnakes (Atractus Cerberus), newly discovered near the gates of the Refinería del Pacífico, a massive petrochemical complex that reminded the snake's discoverers of hell. Credit: Arteaga, et al./ZooKeys The sprawling Refinería del Pacífico is an enormous industrial complex stamped out of the tropical forest in Ecuador. So, when herpetologists discovered a new species of snake outside the petrochemical plant's gates, their minds went immediately to the underworld. And thus, Atractus cerberus was born. The brown-and-yellow ground snake — named after Cerberus, the mythological three-headed hound who guards Hades, the god of the underworld in ancient Greek mythology — is one of three new serpents discovered in Ecuador. All three newfound species are members of the genus Atractus, a secretive bunch that tends to evade scientific scrutiny, said Alejandro Arteaga, the scientific director of the conservation organization Tropical Herping who co-discovered and helped describe the new snakes. [Read more about the unique serpent.]
A 10-month-old girl who was born with a rare "parasitic twin" attached to her body has undergone a successful surgery to separate her from this underdeveloped twin.
Parasitic twins are very rare, occurring at the rate of about 1 in 1 million live births, according to the 2010 review. [Read more about the procedure.]
Stephen Hawking and Trump
Stephen Hawking does not feel welcome in Donald Trump's America. The renowned physicist made this unhappy claim in a recent interview, and he expressed particular concern about how the Trump administration is treating the issue of climate change.
Hawking, who once called Trump a "demagogue," said the new U.S. president was elected by "people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization." [Read more about the his fears.]
New family ties
The dinosaur family tree, used by paleontologists and dinosaur buffs for the past 130 years, has just been transformed.
The new study completely reorganizes this setup. According to new analyses, theropods and ornithischians are more closely related than scientists previously thought, and both fit into a previously unknown group called Ornithoscelida, the researchers said. [Read more about the family tree.]
Greek archaeologists have found the ancient military harbor of the island of Salamis — the very physical space from which the largest and most decisive naval battle ever fought in antiquity was launched.
The survey identified remains of port structures, fortifications and other buildings dating from the Classical period (from the fifth to fourth centuries B.C.) and Hellenistic period, on all three sides — north, west and south — of the bay. (The beginning of the Hellenistic period is usually marked by the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.) [Read more about the ancient base.]