An insight about dogs and a particularly well-timed find about the Pilgrims were among the discoveries making headlines this week:
- Study Finds Dogs Remember Their Owners' Actions: As researcher Claudia Fugazza puts it, "most dog owners at least suspected" their furry friends remember the times they've shared together. Now a new study offers some scientific evidence to back that feeling up. More than a third of dogs tested were able to replicate a human's action (like touching an umbrella) an hour later. Episodic memory? Well, maybe "episodic-like."
- We May Finally Know Where the First Pilgrims Lived: It's long been known that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, but it was never clear exactly where they built their settlement. Now, however, UMass archaeologists have found evidence in downtown Plymouth of a "built environment" predating 1700. It's not just about the ceramics and musket balls they found—the remains of a cow named Constance is key.
- California's Dead Tree Count Hits Troubling Milestone: In drought-stricken California, 36 million trees have died since May. What's more, they're among 62 million trees that have died in the state since 2016 and 102 million trees that have died over the past six years. "It's not beyond the pale to suggest that this is a pretty unprecedented event in at least recent history," says a US Geological Survey ecologist. And now, there's even disagreement on what to do with the dead wood.
- Biggest Dinosaurs Have Something in Common: Paleontologists have spotted what they say is a surprisingly strong correlation between dinosaurs' size and their skulls: Nearly all of the biggest dinos had skull ornaments such as horns and knobs, unlike their smaller counterparts—and it seems these adornments weren't just about intimidation and defense.
- Dementia Stats Defy Predictions: Good news for older Americans: A new study suggests that their odds of getting dementia are shrinking despite predictions to the contrary. While standardized tests showed 11.6% of Americans 65 and older had dementia in 2000, only 8.8% did in 2012. A different stat about education levels might help explain what's behind the drop.
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